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I did it!

 
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Post I did it! Aaron Scott
The number of members my church had on the roll (or at least in the online reporting screen) was WAY, WAY over the number of people that actually attended--members or not!

I finally just changed the numbers to reflect the situation I have experienced during my time at the church. I wrote a brief note that said that in my six years at my church, I have not seen some of them even once, nor do the members who do attend know how to reach them (if they know them at all).

So, let's just say it was about an 80% reduction. BUT IT IS THE ACTUAL TRUTH. And I think that has matters more to the Church of God than otherwise, since I have not received any calls about it (and that was a couple of months ago).
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2/13/20 11:07 am


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Post jeremiah2911_4me
Good!! I think its a great thing Pastor!!! I did the same thing here after about three years and we continue to take off 1-2 per month so that it doesn't look like to the office we have a huge decrease...and of course we add the new ones LOL
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2/13/20 11:16 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
Good for you, Aaron! I appreciate your commitment to integrity and accuracy.

"Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds" - Proverbs 27:23
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2/13/20 11:24 am


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Post Re: I did it! Link
Aaron Scott wrote:
The number of members my church had on the roll (or at least in the online reporting screen) was WAY, WAY over the number of people that actually attended--members or not!

I finally just changed the numbers to reflect the situation I have experienced during my time at the church. I wrote a brief note that said that in my six years at my church, I have not seen some of them even once, nor do the members who do attend know how to reach them (if they know them at all).

So, let's just say it was about an 80% reduction. BUT IT IS THE ACTUAL TRUTH. And I think that has matters more to the Church of God than otherwise, since I have not received any calls about it (and that was a couple of months ago).


Make sure none of those you expunged from the list were shut-ins or living in nursing homes, then go visit them, maybe take them communion.

Removing the shut ins from the church rolls has made the news in the past.
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2/13/20 2:41 pm


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Post Cojak
Yes I can remember in years past we chided the 'nominal' churches for holding even the dead on their roles. Our churches were showing integrity and with 50 members were running 80-100 in attendance.

I think this is a good thing, bringing a church in line with the correct Numbers attending and supporting. Years ago we joined the 4SQ in Belmont. I wrote a letter to the COG asking our names be removed. Years later we returned and found our names were not removed, I was told, "We knew this was your home church and you would be back." They were right. Wink
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2/13/20 8:04 pm


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Post THE LOVE OF GOD
We did that at our last church. It had over 150 members on the book. Told the clerk to take off one or two a month.. By the time we retired, I think we had about 70 on the records. We never heard any flake about it. I know headquarters use to get upset about it, but, honesty is always right. Friendly Face
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2/13/20 8:45 pm


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Post Little Billy
THE LOVE OF GOD wrote:
We did that at our last church. It had over 150 members on the book. Told the clerk to take off one or two a month.. By the time we retired, I think we had about 70 on the records. We never heard any flake about it. I know headquarters use to get upset about it, but, honesty is always right.



I did the same thing with close to the same numbers. The problem with me was that I was a new pastor and new to the COG system. I didn't know there was an unwritten rule regarding lying about membership. I removed them all in one day. They were not happy at all. They went on to give me a strong rebuke and added, "the next time I should only remove people slowly like 1 or 2 at a time. And preferably wait until you have new members to replace them."

Some time later there was a memo sent out that instructed pastors to remove members very slowly and as you could replace them with new members. This was a part of the becoming a 5 star state initiative.

I still have a bad taste in my mouth about this.

A minister will lose their credentials if they fail to submit their personal monthly reports. And I assume they don't want me to make numbers up. Yeah I had .... uhhh.... 23 "Sermons", uhh... 29 "Visits" and my personal favorite 50 "Others." Our reporting system is a joke. Personal and Church.

I am sincerely not trying to be contrary. But why should we believe any number that is given to us regarding our membership. I would say that an audit of our membership roles would produce results that would be embarrassing. When numbers of membership for the COG are spoken of I role my eyes.

I have been accused of coming down to hard on this issue but frankly if a business acted this way it would be considered fraud.

"Business fraud consists of dishonest and illegal activities perpetrated by individuals or companies in order to provide an advantageous financial outcome to those persons or establishments. Also known as corporate fraud, these schemes often appear under the guise of legitimate business practices."https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes/business-fraud

Since Overseers and Pastors salaries are based upon membership by definition its fraud in man's eyes. But never mind what man thinks, its lying in God's eyes. People stand to gain financially by a number.

If people do not value their membership any more than to stay away from a church for years and never pay tithe then we shouldn't count them.
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2/14/20 4:01 pm


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Post Quiet Wyatt
I hear you on having accurate attendance records, but it is not lying to not remove people who have not asked to be removed. I think it is excellent and laudable to try and maintain accurate membership records, but there is nothing deceptive about not removing people until they ask to be removed or you know they have died.

Yes, I know that overseers have a strong interest in not having big drop offs in membership, and that is a problem that could and should be addressed, but leaving someone on the roll is not lying. Now if you said you had 150 in service Sunday morning and you only had 120, that would be lying. Anybody who looks at our churches’ stats (if they can access them), can see the average attendance.
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2/14/20 6:48 pm


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Post Little Billy
Quiet Wyatt wrote:
but there is nothing deceptive about not removing people until they ask to be removed or you know they have died......

but leaving someone on the roll is not lying.


I appreciate your response Quiet and believe it or not I agree. In a perfect scenario that is the way that it should be. In theory leaving people on the role until they request removal or die is honest.

(But... This is where I usually get accused of coming down to hard on this issue.)

"not lying" to whom? The scenario you present makes you Honest... But only within the confines of the COG policies. It doesn't make you Honest in actual fact. It is this loophole that makes the value of COG membership almost laughable. Just because we can do this honestly within our system doesn't mean that we should. Nor does it mean that our system is one of integrity.

The sad thing is, the people really being disrespected are the ones who are members and attend our churches every weekend, pay their tithe and support the local church. With our system we tell them they they are no more important to us than the family that got mad and blew up at us because we wouldn't sing a certain song and left us 15 years ago. I think 15 years of going to the church down the road or no church at all is a forfeiture of membership. Some things are implied and don't need to be requested in writing.

Who holds the membership? The entity or the person? We are putting the responsibility of keeping honest and accurate records on the members. All believers make up the body of Christ but we have chosen to Join a specific entity. The COG. We have the right to revoke memberships for other reasons. Now all of the sudden we are completely helpless to remove that person who doesn't care enough to attend or inform as to where they are and why they are not attending.

If they value their membership they will...
a] Request to be removed because they know their membership means something. Or...
b] They will request a transfer because they found another COG.

If they don't value their membership at all they will not request to be removed or transferred. They don't do this because they care about their membership. But because they don't care.

I don't question whether we are being honest to our system. In that you and I are in agreement. I question whether we are being honest to the world and showing our faithful members that we value their membership.

I would say that Cojaks example is more representative of what we see than the situation that you present.

Quote:
"Yes I can remember in years past we chided the 'nominal' churches for holding even the dead on their roles. Our churches were showing integrity and with 50 members were running 80-100 in attendance.

I think this is a good thing, bringing a church in line with the correct Numbers attending and supporting. Years ago we joined the 4SQ in Belmont. I wrote a letter to the COG asking our names be removed. Years later we returned and found our names were not removed, I was told, "We knew this was your home church and you would be back." They were right."


The fundamental flaw of the COG rational is that we are expecting people who are angry perhaps even hostile towards the COG or local pastor to do the right thing instead of us. We are the ones that are keeping records not the person who left. But with this model we put the responsibility on them. Guess what. They don't care. They are gone. And if they are still COG then they should have transferred their membership. We have all had those people who do care about their membership and if they come to our church and decide to stay they will be asking for a transfer before very long.

Our system works only if someone values their membership. At which point I have no beef with them.
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2/14/20 10:43 pm


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Little Billy wrote:
[


I did the same thing with close to the same numbers. The problem with me was that I was a new pastor and new to the COG system. I didn't know there was an unwritten rule regarding lying about membership. I removed them all in one day. They were not happy at all. They went on to give me a strong rebuke and added, "the next time I should only remove people slowly like 1 or 2 at a time. And preferably wait until you have new members to replace them."

Some time later there was a memo sent out that instructed pastors to remove members very slowly and as you could replace them with new members. This was a part of the becoming a 5 star state initiative.


This reminds me of a joke a comedian told. He said he liked to set his alarm clock early. So he'd be rushing around, trying to get somewhere on time, and then he'd remember he set his clock a half hour ahead, and said, "Oh, that was a good one. I really pranked myself good that time."

If everyone reading the membership numbers know they aren't accurate, what is the point?

Maybe they are concerned about people coming back after a while and being upset that they are not counted as members. If you work out of the country half the year and a new pastor removes you, or if you were in a coma and came back and weren't a member anymore, you might be upset.

You do point out one reason for it.

Quote:

I have been accused of coming down to hard on this issue but frankly if a business acted this way it would be considered fraud.

"Business fraud consists of dishonest and illegal activities perpetrated by individuals or companies in order to provide an advantageous financial outcome to those persons or establishments. Also known as corporate fraud, these schemes often appear under the guise of legitimate business practices."https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes/business-fraud

Since Overseers and Pastors salaries are based upon membership by definition its fraud in man's eyes. But never mind what man thinks, its lying in God's eyes. People stand to gain financially by a number.


This reminds me of the way some people use the verse about calling those things that are not as though they are.

Do sudden drops make the officials right above you look like they have been reporting false numbers to the headquarters, or like you had a sudden church split?
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