For many people, a visit by the local Jehovah’s Witness group in the community is a mild annoyance. A tract is usually handed out and the goal is to invite people to know “the truth,” which is the best path toward a personal relationship with God. What is unique about this group, which some classify as Christian, is that they are actually deist in nature.
In the last decade, about 1 million Jehovah’s Witnesses chose to abandon their faith to pursue some other form of spirituality or Christianity.
It is important to break down these statistics into two key categories: baptized Publishers and unbaptized Publishers who are in service for the Kingdom. Publishers attend a Jehovah’s Witness congregation and participate in activities, but do not yet have enough accurate knowledge of the faith in order to be considered a full member.
- There are over 19 million people who are counted as members of a Jehovah’s Witness congregation around the world today.
- More than $200 million was spent by Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2013 to support the missions and care for their missionaries, pioneers, and overseers.
- Although a congregation does not have a designated pastor, priest, or reverent, there are over 22,000 ordained ministers who staff branch facilities for the group.
- The total number of new baptisms that occurred in 2013: 277,344.
- More than 1 billion hours is spent out witnessing by the Jehovah’s Witnesses every year.
- There are more than 9 million home Bible studies that happen every month, although the “studies” are based on published Watchtower materials.
- In the United States, 37% of adults who self-identify as Jehovah’s Witnesses are African Americans.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses preach in more than 240 lands.
Although many find the average Jehovah’s Witness to be a bit annoying, there is a lot of good that this congregation does in the world every day as well. Because walking their faith is more important than simple talk, they fulfill the orders of James to the letter by performing a number of good works. Of course there are inconsistencies, such as calling the traditional Christian church “unclean” and telling confessed Evangelical Christians that they aren’t actually saved, but there is hypocrisy in every religion. On the whole, Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to leave a positive impact on the world, and that’s not something that every group can say.
How Widespread is the Jehovah’s Witness Faith?
- There are over 110,000 congregations around the world where Jehovah’s Witnesses gather with 3 or more people.
- There is an average of 7.6 million Publishers who are preaching every month.
- The number of branches of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world today: 91.
- More than 10% of the preaching work that Jehovah’s Witnesses provide happens within the United States.
- On average, about 40,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are disfellowshipped by the congregation annually because of “sins” that remain unrepentant.
- In the 5 years prior to 1975 the number of publishers was increasing at an average of 15% per year.
- During the 1980s and early 1990s growth continued at over 5% per year. This has fallen today to a rate that falls between 1-3%, which is generally equal to the world’s population growth.
- The areas that have a traditional Christian presence tend to have the largest amounts of success in population consistency.
- In Asia, there is just 1 witness for every 6,310 people.
After experiencing explosive growth, the Jehovah’s Witnesses that are coming in to become Publishers are often the teens that grew up in a home that practiced this form of faith. The statistics prove that even though there are nearly 2 billion hours of preaching that happens every year, there are only enough converts of new people to replace the children that choose to leave the faith after growing up within it. Although publishers don’t have a required number of hours of preaching that they are commanded to do, at least 1 hour of preaching must be done per month to become a regular publisher.
Why is the Growth of Jehovah’s Witnesses So Small?
- Publisher growth tends to spike in times of uncertainty, such as after the events of September 11, 2001, but these spikes in growth tend to be short-lived.
- The Watchtower Society artificially increased preaching numbers in 2002 by allowing publishers to report 15-minutes of preaching in one month.
- Since 1997, there has been a rapid fall of 30% in the amount of baptisms that occur.
- Based on 1995 estimates, the Jehovah’s Witness congregation is 4 million members short of expectations.
- There is one new baptism for every 5,000 preaching hours that a Jehovah’s Witness is able to perform.
- Except for years of major natural disasters, the amount of preaching time to gain a baptism has increased annually since 1981.
- Despite a large increase of Bible studies that are home-based, the number of baptisms that come from these studies is just 3.1%.
- For Jehovah’s Witnesses that are disfellowshipped, only 1 in 4 will come back to the faith so that they can be reinstated.
- The percentage of children who grow up in a Jehovah’s Witness household, but choose a different faith when they grow up: 67%.
The bottom line for Watchtower is this: when push comes to shove, this group of mostly anonymous people that come together are unable to fulfill the words that they are preaching. When the commands of 1 Thessalonians 5 of testing all things are implemented, many of the “revealed” theologies of the group come up lacking, even when new versions of the Bible are printed for the entire congregation base and handed out for free. The amount of Bible study conversions has declined in direct correspondence to the increase of changes in the Watchtower Bible. Maybe they have found the truth, but it may only be their own truth. That, however, doesn’t change the good and peaceful presence that this group generally attempts to make in every community.