More congregations? One of the strategies they used to inflate the numbers in my city.

by Tempest in a Teacup 27 Replies latest jw friends

  • Dreamerdude

    Richard, the two trends can both happen at the same time. I have seen a KH where the second school was converted to a small auditorium with 15cm stage, for small foreign language congregations. At the same time a larger combined English congregation meets in the main hall. I have only seen two of these, but it does indeed happen.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    If a language group is associated with a congregation, they are not counted as two different congregations they are counted as one. The only time they start to be counted as two is when they form their own congregation, that means that all meetings are held on their own, with their own body of elders and their own service committee. Up until that point the host congregation is still responsible for the language group and they are still counted as part of that congregation.

  • OrphanCrow

    Richard, the piling up of congregations into one Kingdom Hall isn't necessarily connected to language groups (you know that, don't you?).

    Selling off KH's and showing an increase in congregations is entirely plausible.

    For example, in Barrie, Ontario, there are 3 Kingdom Halls and 9 congregations.

  • Dreamerdude

    The two examples I mentioned are full-fledge foreign language congregations, who get their own circuit visits. They are only about 20-30 publishers each, involving a lot of busy work by very few brothers. They also have high proportions of pioneers. Again, I don't know how common this is. But I have seen two.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    Dreamerdude, can you give the examples of the two foreign languages and the general area in which they are?

  • slimboyfat

    The number of congregations has never been a statistic that JWs have especially trumpeted. Far behind the publisher number, baptisms, pioneers and so on. Which is another reason why it's a good one to watch for a true reflection of their position.

    I guess they could split congregations into smaller and smaller congregations in order to claim an increase in number of congregations. But why would they bother? All that administrative hassle for a number that they don't particularly focus upon anyway? And since there is already a chronic shortage of elders, they would have real trouble making new smaller congregations viable. Any CO who went around creating new congregations only for them to be later disbanded because they are unsustainable would not be very popular with the branch. And his work would be reversed out of necessity.

    The best argument in favour of the number of congregations as a measure of decline is the facts, not theory. In countries such as Japan, South Korea, Netherlands and Denmark, where there has been a decline in JWs, that decline has shown up greatest in the decline in number of congregations. So all the arguments about inflating congregation numbers does not match the reality in declining countries. The statistics show that where JWs are in decline, that decline expresses itself most clearly in the reduction in the number of congregations.

    Which is why the decline this year in number of congregations in countries like the United States and Germany is so promising in terms of the prospects for overall JW decline.

  • stan livedeath
    stan livedeath

    Which is why the decline this year in number of congregations in countries like the United States and Germany is so promising in terms of the prospects for overall JW decline.

    here--in the isle of wight--in the UK--over the last few years..the following has occurred.

    Cowes congregation had withered--so was disbanded and merged with the Newport congregation. the hall was sold off.

    Newport had 2 congregations sharing a hall ( a former holy roller church )

    Ryde hall is now up for sale ( half a £ million )--because of diminishing membership. the congregation will share the Newport hall.

    Sandown and Shanklin share a hall.

    Freshwater has its own hall.

    so there will be just 3 halls left here.

  • slimboyfat

    Thanks, interesting example. So that's six congregations on the Isle of Wight down to five so far?

    Islands are interesting places to watch decline play out in microcosm.

    I note, for example, that the number of congregations in Iceland decreased from 7 to 6 over the past year, while publisher numbers remain static. Decline shows itself most clearly as congregations closing down.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    Dreamerdude. Also by the way, the visit of a circuit overseer to a group does not define if they are a congregation or not. If the group has a host congregation, they are only considered a group and would only be counted once with their host congregation. The CO guidelines gives the procedure of when a group should receive the visit of a circuit overseer separate from their host congregation.

  • nonjwspouse

    I am cross posting this because it is on this very subject.

    Something interesting I just found out which may have something to do with the claim of "new congregations" My MIL was told recently their congregation, (which was moved out of their KH several years ago to share another hall, after the money grab and selling off their hall) that their congregation by name was no more. Interesting that she put it that way. The "congregation" was gone. They were being reassigned and evidently given a "new congregation" status ( I assume with a name I don't know)

    She said the (from what I originally heard was three, and now has turned to 5 or 6) congregations were being "split up". I don't know what that means exactly or how many came from that, but they are considered " new congregations".

    My point is that it sounds like they were "reclassified" as a new congregation, and then assigned to attend another hall ( farther away from home as well). Could this be part of a congregation growth number spin?

    It remains to be seen if she will actually follow directions and go to this different, older hall that already has an established congregation, especially if there are any night meetings. ( It is in a very high crime, downtown area) Her freshly baptized 50+ year old single son taking her would be the only way I think she would even attempt it.

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