Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Update Part 6: 2007 Church Survey Statistics – Did they rig the numbers?

Monday, April 28th 2008 marks the end of the ICOC 2007 Church Survey.

The year 2002 was the ICOC family of churches best year statistically. It had 135,046 members. This number forms the plateau of the Proclamation Years (1994-2000) since the sharp drop took its terrible toll during the Count-out Years (2001-2003) and present Dividing Years (2004-2008). Perhaps this survey contains a mix bag of bittersweet elements that is hard to swallow. Now for the first time since 2002 the numbers shows an upward curve! icoccommentary is pessimistic optimistic – here’s why…

Who is growing stronger and stronger?
icoccommentary welcomes the idea collecting data from ICOC family of churches. Furthermore, icoccommentary endorses the vision of a new era where churches feel safe sharing vital information without fear of competition and comparison. Nevertheless, the aim of stats is to compare from previous records.

However, it is bothersome that the church survey of 2007 among International Churches of Christ is not a true reflection of the entire ICOC family of churches. Surely this survey only reflect a segment of the International Churches of Christ, namely ICOC churches affiliated to the anti-McKean faction known as the ICOC Co-operation Churches. Why was the pro-McKean faction better known as the Sold-Out Discipling Movement not part of this survey? Who is benefiting from these statistics – the International Churches of Christ as a whole or a certain faction within it?

Not of our numbers
Secondly, icoccommentary is rather surprised by the announcement of an estimated 1.7% increase in 2007. Here, icoccommentary forecast a possible 2.6% decline from 2006 membership stats, and a 36.1% decline from peak membership (135,046) in 2002. A proposal that was nearly dead on!

This prediction was based on the lists of churches given by Mission Memo starting from the end of January 2008 up and until March 2008. Churches highlighted in red were expected to contribute to the list. Even so, it became clear from the 2007 church lists that the enlisted ICOC churches were not going to improve on the 2006 statistics.

What is more perplexing is the numbers of the most recent updated April 2008 list obtained from Mission Memo. It does not reflect a total membership of 90,130! icoccommentary would like to know where did this number come from?

Furthermore, there are other conflicting interests stated in the 2007 Church Survey Report: Part 1 posted on Mission Memo’s blog that does not correspond with the article found in the Survey-section entitled, Church Survey Status: Participating Churches.

Part 1 mentions they have heard from 545 of the 562 churches where as in the Survey-section they have enlisted 563 churches which have participated in the 2007 survey already. Here, icoccommentary counted all the churches including those marked with [*], [-] and red [?] In total it amounts to 537 churches listed! icoccommentary would like to know where are the remainder of 562/563 churches on this list?

It is correctly stated that 17 churches – those in question [?] did not participate in the 2007 church survey. Seven of those churches combine 2006 membership amounts to 1,368 – there is no recollection of data for the other ten.

United we stand, divided we fall
After careful examination from the April lists provided by Mission Memo it is evident that the total membership among International Churches of Christ notably the anti-McKean faction estimated for 2007 have dropped by 1.5% from the previous year. The number is 87,280; not 90,130. This fact pulls them further down into the abyss with a 35.4% decline from peak membership (135,046) in 2002.

Finally, it becomes evident that the era of Episode 1 can never wash with a new era whether we’re taking up stats or proposing Not a new beginning, but an exciting Episode 2! Here, Mission Memo and Disciples Today Church Directory must take an honest look and start afresh with the number game. Roger Lamb must be more careful not to generalize and monopolize the old ICOC. If the ICOC were united; 90,130 would be probable, but they’re not.

The divisions within the old ICOC have even messed up the statistics. Kip McKean can no longer share in the ministries of over 560 churches in 147 countries. Each side is forced to take its own stock. This is another significant element of the Dividing Years.

Historically, the year 2002 is the benchmark. Today in total the ICOC, whether consisting the pro-McKean faction or anti-McKean faction numerically are back in 1996!

Herewith the breakdown of regions with respected churches and membership. Commentary is added concerning participation.

63 Churches listed for Africa:
Membership for 2007: 10,788
All participated on the list

46 Churches listed for Eurasia:
Membership for 2007: 6,817
All participated on the list

52 Churches listed for Europe:
Membership for 2007: 2,351
[?] 4 churches
[*] 6 churches
[-] 5 churches

7 Churches listed for the Middle East:
Membership for 2007: 209
All participated on the list

131 Churches listed for Asia/Pacific:
Membership for 2007: 17,339
[?] 1 church
[-] 1 church

18 Churches listed for the Caribbean:
Membership for 2007: 2,238
All participated on the list

62 Churches listed for Latin America:
Membership for 2007: 11,227
[?] 4 churches

158 Churches listed for Canada/United States:
Membership for 2007: 36,311
[?] 8 churches

537 Churches listed on Mission Memo
Total membership for 2007 Church Survey: 87,280

A) Total membership for 2002 Church Survey: 135,046
B) Total membership for 2006 Church Survey: 88,597
C) Total membership for 2007 Church Survey: 87,280

Difference between (B) and (C): 1,317
% Down: 1.5%

Difference between (A) and (C): 47,766
% Down: 35.4%

E&OE

Friday, April 04, 2008

Update Part 5: 2007 Church Survey Statistics – Africa, Caribbean and Middle East stats completed

icoccommentary forecast a possible 2.6% decline from 2006 membership stats, and a 36.1% decline from peak membership (135,046) in 2002.

Church participation from Africa:
Membership for 2007: 10,788
icoccommentary forecast score: -40

Church participation from the Caribbean:
Membership for 2007: 2,238
icoccommentary forecast score: -116

Church participation from the Middle East:
Membership for 2007: 209
icoccommentary forecast score: +24


Combined Total Membership for 2007: 13,235
Combined Total icoccommentary forecast score: -132

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