TRANSITIONING TO THE KINGDOM OF THE HEAVENS
OBSERVATIONS ON THE GROWTH
April 19, 2015
While having dinner with a fellow faith son recently, he made a passing remark that the percentage of partakers each year is greater than the number of new publishers. Since the Watchtower organization likes to boast of the international increase in the number of new adherents, I thought it would be interesting to see if the statistics support our brother’s contention.
I downloaded the yearbooks of 2009 thru 2015. Each yearbook has a single page summarizing the statistics for the previous year with the percentage of increase/decrease. This is what the figures show:
The brother was correct in his assessment! While there are a number of ways one can view these statistics, one thing is of particular interest. While the Governing Body has put all their organizational energy behind promoting the hope of living forever on earth through their literature, public meetings and assemblies, and in spite of the fact that this is where the billion plus hours of public ministry time is spent annually, the greatest percentage of increase is with those embracing the Kingdom of Heaven.
One is left to ponder what would happen if they embraced the plain and open teachings of Jesus instead of another sort of good news? (Galatians 1:8-9) What would happen if instead of shutting the door to the Kingdom of Heaven, they promoted it as did Jesus, his apostles and early Christians?
In my private contemplations an image came to mind. I imagined what would be the scenario if instead of the apostles being in the little boat fishing after Jesus resurrection, we found, David Splane, Anthony Morris, Mark Sanderson, Geoffrey Jackson, Stephen Lett, Sam Herd and Gerrit Losch in their place. Imagine Jesus sitting on the shore and he bids these brothers, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” (John 21:6)
With their present mentality, the Governing Body would no doubt respond among themselves: “Who’s that vagabond sitting on the shore? What does he know about fishing? Why doesn’t he just mind his own business?” The Master urges them more earnestly to cast their nets on the other side. They become more irritated at his request as they continue to mumble among themselves: “Who is he to tell us how to fish? If we just ignore him, maybe he will shut up!” So they keep their nets floating on the side of the boat where few fish are caught, ignoring the multitude of fish where the Master directed them to cast their nets.
After a while the Master in sadness forsakes them and finds some new, younger fisherman just entering the business. He tells these new fisherman where they can bring in an enormous haul. They, with eagerness and appreciation for the tip immediately follow his instructions and are rewarded richly beyond their imagination. The previous fisherman witness what happens and become bitter and angry and attempt to capsize the boat and drown these new young fisherman. But because of their superior strength, the younger fishermen prevail and safely bring their catch to shore.
I believe there is a modern day analogy in the words of John the Baptist when he said; “That one must go on increasing, but I must go on decreasing.” (John 3:31) It is inevitable that this must become the fate of the Watchtower organization. Continuing to direct people to the faulty and erroneous hope of living forever on earth can only result in a continuing decrease, depression and apathy that we see in the Watchtower organization today. Whereas, opening the doors to the kingdom of the heavens is where they will see real and sustained growth.
Associate Writers of
Year Increase in Avr. Increase in Memorial
2009 3.2% 8.7%
2010 2.5% 3.2%
2011 2.4% 5.5%
2012 1.9% 6.6%
2013 2.1% 4.76%
2014 2.2% 6.9%