Dr Robert Thiel (see, I can get his name right) posted an article on “LCG Financial Statements Out”. He then takes a stab at comparing finances of LCG and UCG.
One item he consistently brings up is that UCG spends a lot more on “Home Office” and “feeding the flock” than on “public proclamation”. Actually, there is a good point in the midst of it that I’ve been thinking about in particular lately, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the point he was trying to make. However, first let’s recognize a few things:
I know no one that wants to join a video group. Most want to join a church. One of UCG’s intended purposes to begin with was to feed the flock.
UCG is larger, and so it is natural that it would spend more on administration. More on that later.
UCG intentionally chose a form of governance that would prevent one man from easily hijacking the entire organization. However, that same form of governance is necessarily messy, much like worldly democracies and corporate boards take a lot more effort. If competition sets in, then it can become particularly destructive. If done in cooperation, the end is greater consensus.
I would like to know how much of UCG’s overhead is due to giving out retirement payments for ministers and their wives that were abandoned and left to fend for themselves by Tkach. I would like to know how many LCG, PCG, CCG-FF, et al, have taken under their wing.
One thing I would like to know, especially those who want to waste money on more expensive means of spreading the Gospel, if an organization isn’t busy training its own, then how will it grow? A church’s greatest asset is right under its nose, and it appears that some worldly churches have done a better job of recognizing that and of being nurturers of one of the most precious groups of people in God’s sight. How do we expect to raise young people in the truth, preparing the youth in the Church and raising Godly children if we are not evangelizing them? Feeding the flock done right is proclaiming the Gospel! It says something when young people feel that this way of life is worthwhile enough to stick with it once they are grown.
Now, back to governance, and back to Thiel’s unintended point. He does not bring up that UCG spends more on governance because, in part, it is larger. Larger organizations require more money to be spent on governance. Does that mean there is no waste? No, of course not. Does that mean that there couldn’t be improvements? No, of course not.
Having said all of that, though, it begs the question: Is a large corporate church really God’s intent?
I think that there are arguments for both sides. However, as I have pointed out in the past, I don’t see any of the corporate Churches of God being as effective as the Seventh Day Adventists. I don’t see any of the corporate Churches of God being as effective as they are at evangelizing.
One more thing that recent events point out is that they don’t seem to be as prone to bickering and splitting, either.