UBF – The Numbers Game

Members of UBF usually find out rather quickly that UBF teachings are implicit in nature, and rarely documented explicitly. That is one reason I blog here, to document as history moves forward. The other reason I blog is to find out facts, which unfortunately are also spun into implicit and vague statements. The number of Sunday attendants is one example.

July 2012 says 2,141 members?

Just yesterday I blogged about a claim in the “July 2012 UBF Newsletter” that North America UBF had 2,141 Sunday attendants in 2011, up 60 people from 2010, as reported on page 22.

March 2011 says 2,116 members?

But what does page 23 of the “March 2011 UBF Newsletter” say?


This reports says there were 2,116 Sunday attendants in 2010. The claim is a 38% jump from 1550 members in 2005. My calculator shows that to be a 36.5% jump. Where did the 38% come from?





Increase of 25 not 60?

Based on the reports above, from 2010 to 2011, UBF North American Sunday attendance rose only 25 people, not 60. This really doesn’t matter since the growth is really negligible. But my point is this: why the discrepancy? Why can’t UBF “servants of God” just be honest, telling the “truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”?

A decreasing trend, actually

If we take these numbers at face value, from 2005 to 2010, UBF North America grew about 113 people each year on average. The latest “increase” is only 25 (or 60). Whether you use 25 or 60, both numbers are a far cry from 113. The average growth of UBF membership is slowing rather significantly. This slowing growth trend (which may in fact be a decline) is further evidenced by the drop in offering by nearly half a million (a drop of $465,434 in revenue) from 2008 to 2010 (as reported on the ECFA website).

And none of these numbers accounts for the dozens of leaders who left and hundreds of Bible students who never make it into the counts. The number of people leaving UBF is rather large, but those numbers are supplemented with visiting Korean 2nd gens and new missionaries from Korea coming to the USA or to Canada.

Do we really know?

The fact is, we really don’t know what number is accurate. It is tough to tell. At least we have published figures to work with. In generations past, very few knew any of these numbers. I remember being told once that UBF had 20,000 members worldwide…How many of these were stuffed animals? How many were visiting Korean 2nd gens (like as in the Toledo UBF numbers)?

As always, the only thing that matters is the perception that UBF is growing, which is “evidence” that God is “blessing” KOPHN.

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