Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Congregational Growth by Country: 2013

Below is a list of the countries where the Church reported a net increase of four or more units for the year 2013.  The annual percentage increase for the number of wards and branches is also provided:

  1. United States +124 (0.9% increase)
  2. Brazil +31 (1.6% increase)
  3. Nigeria +28 (8.0% increase)
  4. Ghana +20 (13.5% increase)
  5. Cote d'Ivoire +19 (35.8% increase)
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo +14 (12.1% increase)
  7. Philippines +14 (1.2% increase)
  8. Cape Verde +8 (34.8% increase)
  9. Canada +7 (1.5% increase)
  10. Australia +6 (2.1% increase)
  11. Benin +5 (83.3% increase)
  12. New Zealand +4 (1.9% increase)
  13. Portugal +4 (5.9% increase)
The net increase in the number of wards and branches in these 13 countries totals 284; a larger number than the net increase in the number of wards and branches for the entire Church for the year 2013 (239). Nine  countries experienced a net decrease of four or more units during 2013 including:
  1. Argentina -23 (2.8% decrease)
  2. Venezuela -12 (4.3% decrease)
  3. Peru -10 (1.3% decrease)
  4. Chile -8 (1.3% decrease)
  5. Uruguay -7 (4.4% decrease)
  6. Colombia -7 (2.6% decrease)
  7. Paraguay -6 (4.1% decrease)
  8. Mexico -5 (0.3% decrease)
  9. Papua New Guinea -4 (5.2% decrease)
Decreasing numbers of congregations in Argentina are particularly concerning as the Church has experienced a net decrease in congregations for several years notwithstanding church membership increasing by tens of thousands during this period. So far in 2014, many wards and branches have continued to have been closed in Argentina. It is important to note that unlike other countries in Latin America during the early 2000s, the Church in Argentina did not undergo a period of congregation consolidations during this period.


Mike Johnson said...

The Mpintsin 2nd Ward, Takoradi Ghana Stake, was created on 6 April. There are now 11 wards and 2 branches in the stake:

Chapel Hill Ward
East Tanokrom Ward
Kojokrom Ward
Kweikuma Ward
Mpintsin 1st Ward
Mpintsin 2nd Ward
Nketsiakrom Ward
Sekondi Ward
Sofokrom Ward
Takoradi Ward
West Tanokrom Ward
Eshiem Branch
Shama Branch

BYULAW said...

I've often wondered why baptismal numbers are pushed so much in countries where there are high levels of congregational decline (e.g. Argentina) which would indicate poor support systems for retention. Is this something that is determined at an area presidency level or on an individual mission basis? All that would be required would be more stringent requirements for a person to be baptized (e.g. attend church 10 times instead of 2 before they can be baptized, or that the missionaries can't pick them up and walk them to church, can only baptize children without the parents if they come for 6 months or something). This would mean that for someone to get baptized they would have had to demonstrate dedication and personal initiative. I don't think this has to be the standard in places where there is a strong support system for retention but in countries where retention is weak it seems unlikely that individuals who aren't dedicated and don't show personal initiative will develop those skills on their own without support. Is there a reason why standards like this aren't implemented in certain countries?

Downtownchrisbrown said...

I wonder if that stake in Ghana will split. If it did, both might be able to take on Mission Branches as well

MainTour said...

A big Missionary Article just printed on Huffington Post. A huge behind the scenes look at the Church's Online Missionary Office.

They have 6 times the lesson count (skype, etc) as regular missionaries. Plus they have a huge presense in countries/territory that is otherwise off-limits. No wonder the Brethren sending Ipads out to all of the other missionaries.


Brooks M. Wilson said...

@Main Tour,
I have anxiously been waiting for our local missionaries to be given more access to media. I wonder how and where it is used and where the baptisms occur relative to the location of the missionaries. I also wonder how quickly the innovation is spreading. I hope technology will dramatically increase baptisms but perhaps the Church has found that missionaries currently assigned to use these resources are sufficient to meet the demand.

Mike Johnson said...

I have known missionaries that find over the internet. They generally transfer who them find to local missionaries as soon as they can.

James Anderson said...

What I'm seeing in Provo is that they routinely get up to four lessons going via Skype at a time. Often they will teach online a couple lessons but try to get them transferred over to local missionaries where they live to finish teaching and baptism.

Another side effect of the iPads is that they come with the Gospel Library, so I've been on a couple lessons where the children were probably no older than 2nd grade level, and we used one of the stories from the Scripture Readers in the Gospel Library app.

That's also the way they do scripture reading with investigators, seldom do I see a copy in-hand but the nonmember or less-active will have a physical copy.

They have also become the new 'flipcharts' due to the large number of images within the Gospel Library app, did that during a first lesson yesterday, particularly when teaching about prophets.

James Anderson said...

And a little on the digital area book. This is quite powerful.

They have a calendaring tool that will easily allow them to set up appointments on the fly. They can see a map of their proselyting area on a Google Map that downloads so they can see it even when not connected, and the map has icons for members and nonmembers. The pair in the spanish ward here are doing loads of less-active contacting and so the map comes in handy.

Brooks M. Wilson said...

The growth rate in several European countries, Austria, Belgium and Finland is accelerating. I know that many countries in central Europe implemented new missionary programs that worked in conjunction with CES programs. Does anyone know about these programs and if they are being piloted elsewhere?

James Anderson said...

There are the 'TSA Centers' and the 'self-reliance centers' in other parts of the world that utilize welfare and CES resources, mostly to help YSA's in finding work, S&I matters, and in a few places Perpetual Education Fund matters as well, that last one depends on the area involved.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Mexico decrease seems to largey be a result of eliminating the Church-owned school in Mexico city to relocate the MTC there.

Ed Clinch said...

Possible decrease in Argentina maybe economic; Chileans may be returning to their side of the Andes, others leaving for lack of jobs.

Ed Clinch said...

For those who might not be aware: I am not sure of the official stats, but many Chilenos went to Argentina for work or other reasons in the 1970s and 1980s. Anecdotally, I have talked to many returned missionaries from Argentina who said many or most of their baptisms in Argentina were ex-patriot Chileans, especially in the further southern climes (Patagonia). The trend of Chileans going east across the Andes changed by the 1990s when the Chilean economy grew stronger. I know that Argentina has had some serious economic crises, like the craziness in 2001-2002 and minor ones since.Chile has also been affected by world economic growing pains, but the units in both countries may be affected by such trends.
I know of a couple units in my old mission (now Concepcion and Concepcion South) that were closed down many years ago because of lack of support and apostasy. There are small towns where the membership can be "fickle", for lack of a better word, and the 575 thousand plus members on the books can be hard to account for.
But there still is steady generational growth, as I have shared before. But a lot fall away as well.