CGC members up 7%; coworkers grow 317%
By Ewin H. Barnett
COLUMBIA, Mo.-Roderick C. Meredith, presiding evangelist of the San Diego, Calif.based Global Church of God, spoke during Pentecost services June 15 to 360 members gathered in Columbia College Auditorium.
In his opening remarks Dr. Meredith gave a brief view of the status of the Global Church of God. Noting that the financial picture has "bottomed out" from a "tough year" and now appears on the upswing, he told the members that year-to-date income growth was 6 percent and the month-to-date growth was 14 percent.
After mentioning that Global had lost "a few hundred" members because of his decision to directly address "conspiracy theories" and "black helicopters," as well as the issue of calendar postponements, Dr. Meredith went on to talk about a significant increase in requests for ministerial visits.
He discussed the amount of time it takes to develop interest in the church and recalled that the church's main broadcast effort, The World Ahead on television, has been running on superstation WGN, out of Chicago, for eight months. Dr. Meredith said he feels positive that by this same time next year the church should experience a significant upswing in new members.
317 percent more coworkers
He stated that Global membership has grown about 7 percent in the last year while the number of coworkers (those regularly donating to the church) has grown an astounding 317 percent. Subscriptions to the church's flagship print medium, The World Ahead magazine, has been carefully pruned to control costs and insure a more dedicated readership. Sixteen thousand subscribers were dropped, and the circulation stands at 61,000.
He praised the work of many members who serve their brethren for no pay to play host to video groups and help set up services or even pastor several churches and travel many miles on the Sabbath to preach. Total church attendance now stands at 7,780.
The long-time evangelist emphasized that members should be as hospitable as possible to visitors and welcome anyone seriously interested in Global. Dr. Meredith said he wants the church to be big enough to "do a work" of preaching and publishing.
"We don't plan to be the biggest, but to be big enough to do a work," he said.
In an effort to maximize coverage, the church uses the audio track of its television program as the basis for a radio program, particularly in English-speaking parts of Europe. The program is broadcast in French by Jean Carion over Radio Luxembourg and in Spanish by Mario Hernandez.
Built on foundation
In his sermon, Dr. Meredith reminded the brethren the debt of gratitude they own to Herbert and Loma Armstrong. He said that knowledge of God's plan for mankind comes mainly from the feast days, "and who told you about the holy days?" he asked.
Recalling that he had spent thousands of hours with Mr. Armstrong, he countered recent criticism of his theology by saying that Mr. Armstrong did not get his beliefs from other groups, such as the Mormons, but only from other churches that descended from the Jerusalem Church of God, as well as from his own diligent studies.
Dr. Meredith noted that in 1952-after 18 years of effort-the entire Radio Church of God consisted of three congregations, Eugene and Portland, Ore., and Pasadena, Calif., and totaled only a few hundred members. Global surpassed that well before its first anniversary, said Dr. Meredith. He reminded his listeners this growth came about because "Global was building on the foundation that Christ laid through the Armstrongs."
He told members that they must develop a closer relationship with Christ, that He is our elder brother, and we have a desperate need to warn the nations and the church of the times ahead.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God