Annual service report - yet another analysis - big trouble for the WTS

by FFGhost 25 Replies latest jw friends

  • FFGhost

    There's already been a couple of threads on the 2021 report with insightful comments, but I'm vain enough to want to start my own topic with some additional thoughts....

    As others on the other thread noted, it's useful to compare the 2021 numbers not only to 2020 but also 2019 (the last non-pandemic report).

    There are some really troubling (if you're a WT headquarters guy) news in the latest report.

    1) Baptisms plummet

    2019 - 303,866

    2020 - 241,994

    2021 - 171,393

    Baptisms dropped 20% in 2020, and 30% more in 2021. The total drop from 2019 to 2021 is an amazing 44%.

    One could argue that without in-person assemblies and conventions you'd expect baptisms to drop. BUT....if someone really wants to get baptized, JWs will find a way. JW social media is blanketed with video after video of JWs getting baptized in swimming pools, lakes, rivers, even laundry tubs & 55-gallon drums.

    The count of JWs is based on "publishers", not "baptized people", and you can be an "unbaptized publisher", BUT....

    The number of "unbaptized publishers" in any congregation is typically very small, usually less than 10% of the total. And probably 90% of the "unbaptized publishers" in a congregation are kids of baptized JWs not yet old enough to get dunked.

    The decreasing count of new baptisms points toward major declines in future publisher counts, especially as the COVID death toll adds to the usual JW attrition.

    2) Field service hours plummet

    2019 - 2,088,560,437

    2020 - 1,669,901,531

    2021 - 1.423.039,931

    Field service hours dropped 20% in 2020 compared to 2019, and another 15% in 2021 vs. 2020. The 2 year drop is 32%.

    Without actual door to door or public witnessing, you'd expect the number to decrease, BUT....

    On the other hand, it has literally never been easier to "get your time in". Just sit at home in your bathrobe making phone calls or writing letters. If you have Zoom, join in with your friends in their bathrobes, writing letters. With all the "easy time" that is possible now, how is there a 32% drop?

    If a JW were really "zealous", he'd be writing, phoning, informal witnessing, etc. at every opportunity. Theoretically , we're in the "last days of the last days" - hardly time to reduce your activity by one-third.

    3) Average Bible Studies plummet

    2019 - 9,618,182

    2020 - 7,705,765

    2021 - 5,908,167

    That's a 26% drop in 2020 vs, 2019, and an additional 23% drop in 2021 vs. 2020. The 2-year total drop is 39%.

    This is arguably the most devastating number of all. Without Bible studies, no one progresses from "Bible student" to "unbaptized publisher" to "Baptized JW". The "pipeline" is drying up.

    It's even more horrific when you consider that virtually all JW parents with kids under the age of 12 are counting the "family study" on their reports. In no way, shape, or form does a pandemic affect the ability of JW parents to study with their own kids in their own home - so that number is unchanged. So, the drop in [Bible studies other than with your own kids] is even more dramatic - undoubtedly more than a 50% drop in 2 years.

    The WT organization is reeling. The overall numbers are still pretty OK for now, but that's mainly momentum. The numbers will drop precipitously in years to come. They have been utterly blindsided by the pandemic (so much for Jehovah "telling his prophets in advance") and have no clue how to right the severely listing ship.

  • nowwhat?

    Thank you this is a concise anyisis I wanted to see

  • BluesBrother

    I am not so sure that “it has never been easier to count time” . For some maybe but I know devout believing Witnesses who cannot bring themselves to write a letter . Whenever I did it in my dub days I found it incredibly boring and the notion that I was just counting time killed any motivation. Those Witnesses, older ones , admit they have slipped into inactivity. It remains to be seen if they can be reactivated in the future.

  • mickbobcat

    The cult will twist this to say the preaching work is wrapping up. LOL I heard it all before.

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    Well done! I happen to know someone who serves in a central African country, and he tells me that most of the people don't have internet for zoom. They have a way to listen to the audio, and that is about it. I'm sure those countries are really taking a hit on service hours, Bible studies, etc.

  • FFGhost


    Point taken but

    Whenever I did it in my dub days I found it incredibly boring

    As if trudging from one empty house to another to another to another, in sweltering heat & humidity or bone-numbing cold, was something more than "incredibly boring"

  • DesirousOfChange

    Thanks for the great summary!

    The drop in baptism numbers does not surprise me. JW's have been dunking their kids at an earlier age year after year. I am aware of an 8 year old being baptized in a neighboring Cong. I can just hear the CO espousing how it will protect her in the future when she is faced with decisions (dating, association, alcohol, drugs, cigs), but IMO it's impossible to defend that an 8 year old is mature enough to make the most important decision of their life. Doubtful this kid is even allowed to determine their own bedtime.

  • surprised2bhere

    Quite often kids will say they don't want to go to ministry/meetings and the parents will say they are too young to make that decision. Often an age is set for when they can decide for themselves. This has tended to be sixteen . That should give us a clue they are also too young to be baptized. My unbelieving dad said 18 for baptism and first call ministry. Our brains aren't developed till about 25. Sure!y 'Jehovah' would know that!

  • slimboyfat

    Thanks for the analysis on the latest numbers. I agree that’s a huge drop in baptisms. I think the biggest problem for Watchtower is that kids who have put off getting baptised the past couple of years, waiting until Covid19 is over, might end up having second thoughts and not brother getting baptised at all. So they would end up being a permanent loss for years to come. Trying to get the baptism numbers up again will be no doubt be a factor incentivising Watchtower to get back to assemblies and conventions.

    I haven’t seen any outside baptisms of JWs. I have seen one Christadelphian get baptised in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland - via Zoom.

    It might be worth looking at the baptism figures for Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists over the period 2019 to 2021 to see how they compare.

    As for the fall in “Bible Studies”, I think many publishers got into the practice of counting long term route calls as “door-step studies” if they managed to read a paragraph or two from a book or brochure. With no door to door ministry that came to a complete halt.

    I think the pandemic will have a serious impact on JW growth for years to come. As I’ve argued elsewhere, they will probably suffer less than most other churches that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

  • JW GoneBad
    JW GoneBad
    "...Big Trouble For The WTS"

    Sooo Happeee!

    🎶 It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 🎶

    Great work FFGhost!

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