Last month we posted an article we saw in the Salt Lake Tribune announcing the Church’s goal of having 100,000 Mormon missionaries out in the field by 2019. We posted it for two specific reasons.
1. Provide a heads up to watch out for more missionaries in your neighborhood.
2. To ask Christians to pray the young men and women would come into contact with a true believer and hear the truth while out on the road.
It looks like the prayers of faithful Christians are being answered! I came across a notice in my Google Alerts highlighting an article from ABC News with the latest stat reports from the Church. They reported while the LDS missionary force has grown exponentially, their conversion rates aren’t keeping the same pace. PTL!
Statistical info released at the April 2015 General Conference shows a 44% increase in missionaries, and a 9% increase of converts. The report also touched on retention rates after conversion, which in itself, is another major challenge the Church is facing.
In part, the article said “…half or more of all converts stop attending church within a year of their baptism…”. Reactions from experts to the conversion anomaly ranged from noted concern, to denying any problem existed. Whatever they might think of it, the truth lies in facts. We believe there are two basic reasons the Church’s conversion rate has tanked.
People in developed nations aren’t joining the Church as they hoped, nor do they stick around long after their conversion because of the internet, and/or meeting someone who knows the truth about the Church. One person they interviewed believes the low conversion and recidivism rates are the result of people feeling their ‘basic needs are being met’.
Experience at Life After Ministries has shown us that quick access to the truth has made a huge difference in nations like ours. Our inboxes are filled with e-mails from those who were about to be baptized and decided against it because of the info they discovered. The other issue?
In poverty stricken nations the need to eat serves a higher priority than giving up a mandatory 10% of an already thin income. Their expendable income, if they have one, doesn’t stretch far enough to cover the cost of travel to visit a temple, renting the mandatory endowment clothing, or as already noted, to pony up a full 10% of their gross income before they can even get through the front door of a temple.
People in nations like Nicaragua for example, live in abject poverty. Most children don’t see the inside of a school after the 5th or 6th grade because their help is needed to bring cash in to feed the family. They may hurry and convert, but it doesn’t take long before the need for food overrides any so-called mandate from church authorities to pay tithing. The needs and focus in non-Western cultures are simply much different than they are here in North America.
All the stats and reasons aside, one thing is certain. The Good Lord promised all of us He’d never leave, nor forsake us. Our job is to love Him and others as we continue to pray. We’re confident those conversion rates will continue to tumble.
Click here to read the ABC News article in full. And by the way – keep praying!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18