Thursday, December 22, 2016

Important Milestone Reached in Nigeria - 500 Wards and Branches

The Church in Nigeria reached the milestone of 500 congregations (wards and branches) last Sunday. This is an important achievement as increases in the number of congregations strongly correlates with the expansion of the Church into previously unreached areas, greater saturation of the Church in currently reached locations, increases in active members, and local leadership development. Congregational growth rates have also accelerated in recent years. For example, the Church in Nigeria has reported a record increase of at least 46 congregations for 2016 - a 10.1% increase from the number of congregations at year-end 2015 and the largest number of congregations ever organized in a single year in Nigeria. To contrast, the Church in Nigeria reported an annual increase of less than 10% for most years since the year 2000. The Church in Nigeria reached 100 congregations in the early 1990s, 200 congregations in 2001, 300 congregations in 2010, and 400 congregations in 2014. The number of stakes has also doubled within the past four years from 21 to 42 due to stake divisions and the advancement of many districts into stakes.

Nigeria is the first country on the Afro-Eurasian landmass to have reached the milestone of 500 congregations. Currently there are only seven other countries with 500 or more congregations: the United States (14,227), Brazil (2,054), Mexico (2,015), Philippines (1,211), Argentina (769), Peru (751), and Chile (602). This finding suggests that the Church in Nigeria has become, or is soon to become, one of the most significant countries in the world regarding the size and growth of the Church. Given historical growth trends, the Church in Nigeria may report the fifth most congregations of any nation by the year 2025. Multiple new missions appear likely to be organized in Nigeria within the foreseeable future, such as in Abuja, Ibadan, and Uyo. One or two new temples may also be announced in cities such as Benin City and Lagos. The Church may establish a missionary training center in Nigeria as all other nations with more congregations than Nigeria have a missionary training center in their capital cities. Due to significant opportunities to expand missionary outreach in this nation of 186 million people with less than 150,000 Latter-day Saints, the Church may organize a separate administrative area to service Nigeria in the coming years.

41 comments:

Dave said...

There have been 16 stakes organized in Nigeria in the last 2 years, and growth is accelerating.

Exciting stuff!

Mike Johnson said...

Great news about Nigeria reaching the 500 congregation level. I think it will continue growing fast for a while.

If I am not mistaken, the Africa West Area is headquartered in Nigeria.

While I think it would be great for another area to be created for reasons I will mention below, the Church has been consolidating areas recently and not creating new ones. Brazil and Mexico each went from 2 to 1 areas. Chile was consolidated into the South America South Area headquartered in Buenos Areas. North America went from 11 to 10 areas. Apparently, the more authority is transferred to area seventies from area presidencies (such as reviewing missions, making decisions in area coordinating councils--instead of taking the issues to the area presidency for decision), the need for area presidencies decreases.

All that said, it would be great because it would give 3 more area presidency positions, which today they are pretty much all filled by general authority seventies. Although non-Africans may continue to be called into some of these positions, it would open up more for Africans. I could envision a split with an area presidency set up in Ghana, each of the two areas having responsibility for some of countries currently in the Africa West Area. Another option would be to have both the Africa West and Africa South East reorganized into 3 areas, with say Nigeria to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in one area.

James said...

Interesting thoughts and observations about Nigeria, and I do like the idea of a possible additional area of the Church established in Africa. However, while I like the idea of it, the Church, it seems, has been working lately to consolidate areas as much as possible. While I wouldn't rule out the notion of more areas being established, and while I could see the merits of it, it wouldn't surprise me if it did not happen that way. I have also noticed that more responsibility has been transferred to those who serve at the local level, and this has been true not only of area seventies, but also of stake, ward, mission, district, and branch leaders. The Church seems to be working towards having these leaders take more responsibility for the growth and progress of the Church in the areas they serve, and it has been both amazing and miraculous to see how that transfer of responsbility has been working. I will always look forward to futher developments in Church growth and policy, and, as much as possible, am committed to keeping the world informed about such things by focusing on them in my future blog posts. What an amazing day this has been!

John Pack Lambert said...

Mexico has 119 million people and the Phillipines 100 million people yet they both have their own areas, so I can easily see Nigeria having one with 186 million people. Chile only has 18 million people, so it was the outlyier.

The big problem is that even counting Senegal the countries in the Africa West Area where the Church has any presence outside of Nigeria only have a combined total of 92 million people. True, there are huge swaths of northern Nigeria, where tens of millions of people live, where the Church has no presence at all. There is not even a branch among the 3.3 million inhabitants of the Kano metro area.

I think Nigeria having its own MTC would probably be a better short term mark of progress than getting its own area. I also think the Africa South-east area is probably more dividable than the Africa West Area, at least until the Church moves into Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Fasso and Mali with actual branches, the last of which may hopefully happen soon. Mali's 15 million people does not recalibrate the balance much.

Still If one takes all of Africa south of the line from Angola through Zambia to Mozambique, plus Madagascar one comes up with only 174 million inhabitants. However Ethiopia has 100 million inhabitants, The DR Congo and the countries under the Congo Brazzaville Mission plus Rwanda have 130 million inhabitants, and there are 133 inhabitants in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania combined. I could see an area covering the DR Congo maybe or maybe not also including Tanzania in the east of Africa. I guess in theory the Uganda Kampala Mission, the 3 DR Congo Missions and the Congo Brazaville Mission could form one area, and the Kenya Nairobi Mission could be aligned with the missions further south. Still I think a division along the Angola to Mozambique axis is most likely.

James said...

As always, John Pack Lambert, your thoughts have been very thorough, well thought out, and most informative. I appreciate what you have said. At the risk of turning this comment thread too political, I have done a dual-purpose blog post just barely. In the post, I focus on the personal development of being able to lock in the job opportunity and also the chance to renew so many old acquaintances and friendships from my previous opportunity. But more importantly, I also focus on my response to the outcry of some Church members in reaction to the Tabernacle Choir's acceptance of the invitation of US President-Elect Donald Trump to perform at his inauguration. I don't understand why some people in the Church are so opposed to the Choir repeating a time-honored tradition, especially in light of the honor the invitation affords to the Choir in particular and the Church in general. This is especially true because Trump has been very vocal about his "Mormon problem." To me, this is a giant step in the right direction for the most controversial future president in the history of the United States. It is my personal opinion that the Choir's response is very noble, and I cannot understand how anyone could object to something that has been widely repeated by the Choir, regardless of the political affiliation of the president for which they have performed. I invite any comments on this issue, whether they come in response to my actual post or whether they are posted here. However, because this blog is mainly focused on LDS Church Growth, I can understand any reluctance on anyone's part to comment on this issue, and, for that reason, I would encourage us all to be respectful of other people's expressed opinions, even and especially if those opinions are not personally agreeable. Thanks.

Mike Johnson said...

James, I agree with much of what you just wrote. Regardless of victor in the election, I think the choir responds positively to the invitation. Trump still received a very large fraction of LDS votes despite the so-called problem with Mormons.

I don't think Trump is the most controversial president elect in history. I can think of one president elect who was so controversial at the time that the country was literally (as opposed to figuratively today) torn apart and thrown into a civil war that lasted 4 years and was eventually assassinated. He turned out to be a pretty good president from the judgement of history. Way too soon to know the verdict of history about the current president elect.

I have heard the same stuff about how controversial and ugly and how bad it has gotten in every election I can remember going back to 1972. But, it is always the same set of charges and they don't come close to comparing with the hateful attacks in most presidential elections of the 19th century.

We have an office with a lot of power, but with the perception of it having a lot more than it really does. The truth is the president is authorized by the Constitution and by law in specific areas and has to work with 535 other elected politicians to do most of what gets attributed to the president. But, there is this perception of immense power. The all-or-nothing fight over this perceived power creates the worst in all of us and it drags on so long building to a climax over many months. Incredibly hateful things get said in this environment and true believers in their cause on both sides (all sides) actually believe them when most of the time they are political tactics. Everything said in this election has been said in every other election I can remember, at least in the general if not in the specifics. We seem to forget that pain. And because the country is divided close to 50-50, half the country is always depressed at the result. It makes things worse when the news media repeatedly tells you that your candidate was destined to win and then you invest in the candidate and then the candidate loses. The build up and drop off in that case (which I saw not only in 2016, but also in 2004, 2000, and 1980) seems to be even more painful because it brings in questions of betrayal that tends not to happen when the news media tells you over and over again during the build up to climax that your candidate is going to lose.

Sorry about that--that is the most about politics I personally want to write here.

I would rather talk about how quickly it will take for Nigeria to surpass Chile, Peru, and Argentina in number of congregations or the criteria to make a stake or where new temples might be built. It is the politics of the Kingdom I wish to discuss, not that expressions from pain felt by some from the election.

Dave said...

I was glad to see that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is going to perform at the inauguration, and I didn't vote for Trump. This will be sixth time the choir has done this and I will guarantee that there were members of the choir on all of those occasions who hadn't voted for the winner.

To perform at an inauguration is to be a good American, and not all that many get asked. It's an honor.

Christopher Nicholson said...

After faithfully preaching and waiting over two decades to become the first person to be baptized in Nigeria, Anthony Obinna prophesied, "The seed of the gospel will grow into a giant tree. The Church in Nigeria will surprise the world in its growth."

The Church tries to maintain good relations with every government it can. That just makes sense. No one argues that because the General Authorities meet with the Chinese government and treat it cordially, they must therefore endorse its human rights violations.

John Pack Lambert said...

If I remember correctly Obina lived in Aba where there is now a temple and that city has 3 stakes with Poet Harcourt less than 50 miles away having 5 stakes. And yet there are parts of Abia State, which has Aba as its capital (Port Harcourt is in Rivers Stste) that are in the mission administrative branch, so even in South east Nigeria which is the area of Africa with the highest percentage of Church members to the population there is still room for outrach growth. In south-west Nigeria there is even more room for growth. In Lagos there are at least 4 million people living in the boundaries of most stakes. Northern Nigeria is so plagued by Boko Haram that I doubt we will see missionaries there any time soon but central Nigeria has lots of potential for Church growth. Hopefully Jos will get a stske next year.

John Pack Lambert said...

If I remember correctly Obina lived in Aba where there is now a temple and that city has 3 stakes with Poet Harcourt less than 50 miles away having 5 stakes. And yet there are parts of Abia State, which has Aba as its capital (Port Harcourt is in Rivers Stste) that are in the mission administrative branch, so even in South east Nigeria which is the area of Africa with the highest percentage of Church members to the population there is still room for outrach growth. In south-west Nigeria there is even more room for growth. In Lagos there are at least 4 million people living in the boundaries of most stakes. Northern Nigeria is so plagued by Boko Haram that I doubt we will see missionaries there any time soon but central Nigeria has lots of potential for Church growth. Hopefully Jos will get a stske next year.

James said...

I'm very sorry if I turned this too political by commenting on my perspective of the Choir's acceptance of this invitation. That was never my intent. But I had "sounded off" on my blog about that very thing when I heard of the protests by some misguided Church members who seriously were claiming that, for a Church that professes political neutrality in terms of not endorsing candidates for political offices, this decision of the Choir to appear at Trump's inauguration was misguided at best and an implied endorsement of Trump's presidency at worst. I couldn't disagree more with that notion. The Choir has been kind enough to accept an invitation from a man who publicly professes no great love for the people of our faith and for our beliefs themselves. And that they have done so especially in this case, when other "major American musical icons" have refused to be there because their celebrity status might be tarnished by associating themselves with Trump's inaugural events. As a Church member, I couldn't be more honored that the Choir is continuing its excellent tradition of reaching beyond party lines to celebrate the incoming president's service commencement. In fact, it was former President Ronald Reagan that dubbed the Choir "America's Choir". The fact that the Choir has been gracious enough to continue its time-honored tradition is amazing.

And the invitation is enough to convince me that, though I too did not vote for Trump, and while I still fear greatly for America's safety under the leadership of a man that seems to have no conscience or moral compass, he may turn out yet to be the great president anyone who assumes the office can become. I recall similar feelings of dread when Obama came into office both times, and I now see how being president has made him an even better man. Before, he was the kind of guy I would love as a next door neighbor, but who I believed could not lead our country in a good direction. And we have been just fine in these last eight years.

Obama grew into the role no problem, and I hope the same is true for Trump. Before this happened, I had more reasons than not to believe that America was in trouble. While I still worry a lot, this one announcement restores my great hope that this will be an opportunity for growth for all concerned. Trump was hoping for and anticipating the great power that he believed came with the office, but I think he downplayed the checks and balances that will keep him from doing anything too fatal for America. And I think it shook him deeply that he actually won the election. I could see the shock and disbelief on his face as he offered his acceptance speech.

Some decisions he has made since becoming the president-elect have left me wondering, but I applaud this particular decision. It is one of the all too few smart decisions I have seen from him since he announced his candidacy. And the Choir's decision, far from being an endorsement of the man or his character, continues the time-honored tradition of representing the Church at such events. I hope this is one of many things that help Trump to rethink his attitude about people of our faith.

James said...

But I have taken this conversation into a far too political direction than it was originally meant to go. Getting back to the matter of Church growth, I absolutely love the comments about the progress of the Lord's work in Nigeria. It is amazing to behold the developments that have happened when the time is right, and when my blog is not focused on personal stuff, I am pleased to have it be one of many forums like this to discuss such important developments. The growth in Nigeria alone has convinced me that Nigeria's second temple is imminently likely, and I have, on my personal list of near-future temple site announcements, included three possible locations for that honor: Port Harcourt, Lagos, and Benin City. I can see a temple in all three locations at some point. As to the most imminently likely of these three, I have not felt confident enough to narrow this down. I would welcome any and all thoughts about where Nigeria's second temple is most likely, in addition to always being open to feedback regarding any of the other sites I believe are most imminent, or any other topics I cover on my blog, Church-related or personal. I look forward to continuing this discussion in all forums.

John Pack Lambert said...

I think turning down the invitation to the inaguration would be a clear sign of the Church taking a political stance against its own attempts at non-neutrality. Some leftists who xlaim they do not want religions involved in politics are lying through their teeth considering they generally cheer on the activities of the Episcopal Church and the Unitarians who are way moreapt to get involved in politics than even the most vocal Evangelical Christians. Generally what people who gripe about religious voices in politics really want is to silence the voices of their opponents.

John Pack Lambert said...

Back to the subject of growth. Ivory Coast is clearly the fastest growing place for the Church except maybe Togo and Benin and the latter have not yet seen movement beyond the first planting point. Yet the number of new stakes formed in Arizona this year exceeds the total number of stakes in Ivory Coast.

The Church is much more American than we want to believe although not quite as American as some think. There is in Hong Kong the Hong Kong China district. As a primarily English speaking district the suspicion might be it is mainly composed of Americans. It does have the Mandarin soeaking branch made up of those from Mainland China, Taiwan and other native speakers of Mandarin. However about 1000 of the 1800 members of the district are Filipinas. They have branches where almost the only males are the husbands of senior couple missionaries. In the UAE from what I have been told the majority of Church members are also Filipino.

I have to wonder based on what I know if some of the isolated Church members in Israel in places like Haifa that were mentioned in the Church news article on Elder Cook and Elder Holland visiting Israel are Filipinos. It would not surprise me if some are.

John Pack Lambert said...

Well I realizdd I had to revise what I said above. I remembered there is a 2nd current GA Seventy from Central America, Valeri Cordon. Elder Cordon is a native of Guatamala whose father was a counselor in the mission presidency to Carlos H. Amado.

John Pack Lambert said...

Still probably the most internationally versitule General Authority is Joaquin A. Costa. Elder Costa joined the Church at about age 23 in Argentina in 1988. He was introduced to the Church by Renee Valera who is now his wife. They first dated before her mission. They were hooked yp by Alin Spanaus who is an Area Seventy. To that point Elder Costa had lived in Entre Rios Province in the north of Argentina and in Buenos Aires. He actually proposed to Renee and had her tirn him down before he started the discussions and at first his goal was to thrwart the missionaries. It was not until Joaquin headed Renees counsel to read and pray about the Book of Mormon with real intent that he gained a strong testimony of the Book and the Church. The Costas married in the Buenos Aires Temple about a year after his baotism.

John Pack Lambert said...

Joaquin moved to Provo Utah to pursue an MBA at BYU in probably 1991. The Costas lived there until he completed his MBA and then went to Chicago where he worked for City Bank for a few years. I would love to kbow if the Costas went to English speaking or Spanish speaking units in these places. My stake has at least 3 Mexican nationals who hold management or engineering jobs. Of these 2 have Mexican wives and may at some ooint go back. The 3rd Brother Rojas has an American wife who served her mission in Argwntina. They met at BYU. My ward used to have a dual citizen 3/4th Hisoanic 1/4th Anglo Mexican native with a professional level job at GM as our ward mission leader whose wife was a dual citizen of the US and Colomvia taised in Colombia by her American father and Colombian mother who had first met while the father was a missionary in Colombia, but that family moved to China on assignment from GM.

Back to Elder Costa. After living in Chicago his family moved back to Argentina. To this point they are only mildly international. Less so than some American general authorities like Elder Robert E. Wells who lived in several South American countries and arguably no more so than Elder Hales who lived in both England and Spain before his call as a general authority. Even among non-US general authorities Elder Dube and Elder Cordon at least exceed Elder Costa to this point. Elder Costa may have obly lived in Costa Rica and Guatemala but he did an executive MBA at MIT going there for 2 days 1 weekend a month. He also worked with PeosiCo as with Central America and Caribbean and maybe even Mexico operations so probably traveled internationally more. Elder Dube from Zimbabwe was partly educated in South Africa and as CES director overasaw operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

John Pack Lambert said...

However after a few years back hone in Argentina Joaquin Costa took a job in the Czech Republic. There he served as a counselor in the branch presidency and traveled regularly to Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.

John Pack Lambert said...

After living in the Czech Republic for 2 years Joaquin Costa and hos family moved to Oman where they lived in Salalah. For part of the time they were there the Salalah Branch met in their house. Their children were the only young men and toung women in the branch. So Elder Costa is one of at least 2 general authorities who has lived in the Middke East North Africa area and may be the only one who did so as a church member. If the only general authority who has lived in the MENA Area is an Argentine national I think that gives the Church some internationalist credibility.

John Pack Lambert said...

Well I was thinking I was wrong on Elder Costa being the only MENA living GA as a member of the Church. Larry S. Kacher who was born in Minnesota was an Area Seventy in the MENA area at the time he was called as a general authority. He was working for a company based in the UAE at the time and seems to have been living there. He has spent much of his post-college life living in Belgium.

John Pack Lambert said...

After their rime in Oman Joaquin and Renee Costa went back to Argentina for a few years. In about 2014 Costa took a job with a Danish company in their microfinance operations and relocated to Lima, Peru. So while no native of Oeru has been called as a General Authority while living in Peru, there has been at least one resident of Peru called as a general aythority. Elder Merril J. Bateman who made frequent trips to Ghana due to his involvement in the chocolate trade may be the general authority to date who soent the most time in the Africa West area for rwasons other than actual church assignments.

Elder Costa served as an Area Seventy while living in Oeru. On one occasion he along with Elder Grow organized a new stake in Ecuador. That was the only stake organization turned up for him in my sewech of the Deseret News. However sine they only list the general and area seventies involved when new stakes are organized and not when new stake presidencies are put in in existing stakes the later of which probably happens at least 4 times as often if we knew all we probaly could identify Elder Costa staying overnight and giving teaching and guidance in maybe 1 more country if not more than that before he was a general authority.

Bryan Baird said...

I wonder how long it would take to hit 1,000.

Bryan Baird said...

I wonder how long it would take to hit 1,000.

Matt said...

Given historical growth trends, the Church in Nigeria should reach 1,000 congregations in approximately 2025.

Also, a newly called mission president reports that the official announcement of new missions to be organized in 2017 should occur during the first week of January.

John Pack Lambert said...

If Nigerian mission presidents like Alexander Odume follow the example of the Ivorian mission presidents in aggersively creating new branches in more and more cities, we may see 1,000 wards and branches in Nigeria before 2025.

James said...

John Pack Lambert, as one who has tried to make knowing as much as possible about our General Authorities a matter of lifelong studies, I found your extensive information about Elder Joaquin E. Costa to be very detailed and most inspiring. How have you been able to learn all of this? I will admit, my knowledge of general authority trivia stems mostly from my extensive study of the lives of our present and former apostles. But with what you have shared so completely in the above comments, I learned several things I had not previously known about this relatively new General Authority. For that, I thank you most enthusiastically. One thing I have been wondering about more and more lately: Are the two Elder Costas (Claudio R. M. and Joaquin E.) related in any way? If you have any information on that point, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks.

Matt, I am most intrigued by your theory about how soon Nigeria may reach 1,000 congregations. As with most Church growth developments, I have no doubt you are more in the know on this point than anyone else out there. I have been absolutely intrigued by the growth in Nigeria of late, especially since, in my opinion, that growth makes it all the more likely that Nigeria will get a second temple within the not-too distant future. I suggested in a previous comment three Nigerian cities I was considering in terms of which might be home to that second temple, but I would welcome your input on the ideas I have shared on that point.

As for the announcement of 2017 new missions being made soon after the New Year, I couldn't be happier about that. I suppose that if I were able to be more in the know like you, Matt, in terms of worldwide mission growth, I might be more comfortable making my own predictions regarding possible future missions we might see announced next year.

As it is, my strength in this area seems to be mostly in regards to what future temples might be announced soon. As I may have mentioned before, when we had the last four temples announced last April, in my predictions on that point, I had nailed the exact location for two of them, and had the right country but the wrong home city for the other two locations that were then announced. If you, Matt, or anyone else reading this would like to give me any additional feedback above and beyond that which I have received up to this point on my predictions, it would be my honor to read any thoughts, and I would do my best to keep such insights in mind as I attempt to fine-tune my list of most imminent future possibilities to be the very best it can be. I hope any of you will let me know if I need to post another link to my latest such list on my blog. Thanks to you all for this most intriguing discussion. I could not be more excited, amazed, and overjoyed about the many things I have learned on this subject just today. Merry Christmas to you all.

James said...

I have done more blog posts within the last 24-48 hours. I would appreciate any feedback on my work. Also, for circumstances I explain fully in my latest blog post, my wife, myself, and L. Chris Jones, who regularly comments on this blog and mine as well, are all in need of special prayers during this crazy holiday season. Thank you so much. And again, Merry Christmas.

John Pack Lambert said...

After their rime in Oman Joaquin and Renee Costa went back to Argentina for a few years. In about 2014 Costa took a job with a Danish company in their microfinance operations and relocated to Lima, Peru. So while no native of Oeru has been called as a General Authority while living in Peru, there has been at least one resident of Peru called as a general aythority. Elder Merril J. Bateman who made frequent trips to Ghana due to his involvement in the chocolate trade may be the general authority to date who soent the most time in the Africa West area for rwasons other than actual church assignments.

Elder Costa served as an Area Seventy while living in Oeru. On one occasion he along with Elder Grow organized a new stake in Ecuador. That was the only stake organization turned up for him in my sewech of the Deseret News. However sine they only list the general and area seventies involved when new stakes are organized and not when new stake presidencies are put in in existing stakes the later of which probably happens at least 4 times as often if we knew all we probaly could identify Elder Costa staying overnight and giving teaching and guidance in maybe 1 more country if not more than that before he was a general authority.

John Pack Lambert said...

Well I was thinking I was wrong on Elder Costa being the only MENA living GA as a member of the Church. Larry S. Kacher who was born in Minnesota was an Area Seventy in the MENA area at the time he was called as a general authority. He was working for a company based in the UAE at the time and seems to have been living there. He has spent much of his post-college life living in Belgium.

L. Chris Jones said...

What is MENA?

John Pack Lambert said...

MENA = Middle East North Africa as in the Middle East North Africa Area. Sorry I was not more clear.

John Pack Lambert said...

I actually learned all the information I had on Elder Costa from reading the Church News article on him published back in May or so and from reading the Ensign article from the May Ensign and doing a search for Joaquin Costa on the Deseret News website although the only thing that told me was he organized a stake in Ecuador along with Elder Grow.

Costa is overall a fairly common last name in Portuguese and Spanish speaking cultural areas. Elder Claudio R. M. Costa is a native of Santos, Brazil. Elder Joaqin Esteban Costa is fron Entre Rios Province of Argentina. I am pretty certain that they are not closely related.

John Pack Lambert said...

On Elder Valeri Cordon the only reason I know he did not live in Massachusetts while getting his MBA is because this fact was mentioned in a New York Times article on the MIT executive MBA program. Figuring out where Elder Cordon lived during his working life is helped by the fact he has a LinkedIn Page.

John Pack Lambert said...

Another point of information on Elder Joaquin Costa. He was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina when he was called as an area 70 back in 2012. His friend Alin Spannaus was called as an Area 70 at the same time. Spannaus was serving as a mission president in Mexico at the time. That was also when Edward Dube was called as an area 70.

James said...

Interesting information, as always. Thanks for that illumination. Merry Christmas!

Bryan Baird said...

I estimate that if wards and branches keep growing at this rate it would hit 1,000 by the 2080s at the latest. Probably before if growth increases faster.

Bryan Baird said...

I estimate that if wards and branches keep growing at this rate it would hit 1,000 by the 2080s at the latest. Probably before if growth increases faster.

ManessDC said...

A friend of mine in the Geneva Switzerland English-speaking branch told me about half the members there are Filipinos.

Bryan Baird said...

Even though 500 congregations have been hit Nigeria only needs one more ward to hit 300. It is always good to see the church growing and branches maturing in wards and districts in stakes

James said...

Bryan, a question about your comments above. In an earlier comment on this thread, Matt gave his opinion about the Church reaching 1,000 congregations by 2025. Then you give your estimate above that the Church will reach that milestone by or before the 2080s. I am wondering: are you just trying to be more conservative in your estimate, or are you trying to tell Matt about your own thoughts before he voiced that comment? On the surface, it almost seems like you're not sure about Matt's thoughts and that you may be trying to correct his impression. Sorry if I am misreading your comment. I do like what you shared above about how Nigeria just needs one more ward to hit 300 wards there. I like that thought.

And, for myself, I can see the Church doing all four things mentioned in this post and from this comment thread: reaching 1,000 congregations in Nigeria by or before 2025, establishing a separate African area for Nigeria and perhaps one or two additional countries, more missions being established in Nigeria, and a temple for either Lagos, Benin City, or Port Harcourt. Frankly, I could see a temple happening in all three cities given enough time.

The growth of the Church in Nigeria has been interesting to follow, and I have loved following the discussion here on this very subject. Thanks to all who have contributed. You have greatly increased my scope of knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for all the Church has accomplished and will yet do in Nigeria. It will be great to see what happens with things as they develop. Thanks again.

Bryan Baird said...

If the trend of around 100 congreations of every two years continue (Nigeria reached 400 in 2014, and 500 in 2016) I estimate that the country will probably reach 1,000 by 2026 (give or take a couple of year, of course)