Report February 2002
We have completed the collection of the church growth information for 2001. This year we distributed the information sheets to the churches and they completed them. For the most part they did a great job, considering that this was the first time for them to collect all of the information and return it to us. Because they had more input this year, we will be spending much more time sharing the results with them in the leadership and evangelists training sessions.
Here are the preliminary, major findings. In 2001 sixteen new congregations were planted and two from the previous year went defunct. That brought the total to forty-five congregations, or a gain of forty-five percent. The most encouraging finding is that the bulk of the new congregations were planted by Aja evangelists without missionaries being present. The evangelists training sessions had only been taking place for the last four months of 2001. The twelve evangelists involved in that training have made plans to plant at least one new congregation this year. While planting the new congregations, each of them will be training at least two apprentices. Two of them have already planted congregations in 2002.
On the 20th of January, 2002, there were 1052 faithful members. That is a gain of 268, or thirty-four percent over last years 784. Even though that is a high growth rate, it is the lowest annual growth rate since the beginning of the work. Several factors most likely contributed 2001 being a slow year. It was an election year. Many of the members were directly involved in political meetings and the election process itself. Two missionary families (Vaughns and Chownings) were on furlough during part of the year. Team problems, culminating in the Crowsons leaving and the Vaughns and Jim Kennell not cooperating, no doubt had an adverse effect on the movement.
These are the preliminary results. A detailed church growth report will be completed in a couple of weeks.