“Dr.” Jenkins threw out these numbers recently:


So even accounting for the number of people who got saved while visiting from out of town, one would think that this church should now be at LEAST the largest church in the area.

And yet their auditorium sure doesn’t look like it holds 10,000 people.

So…where are they hiding all this growth? I’ve heard of the “church invisible” but this seems to be a bit much.

216 thoughts on “Math”

    1. Congrats!

      I wasn’t going to risk the embarrassment of posting “first” and actually being second.

      1. I want to go the one with free nachos. If I ride the bus as a worker, I bet I can come out with some.

        1. My ex used to drive the van for the bus ministry. Knowing how he drives, I wouldn’t have put a cat in that vehicle with him.

  1. They have “won a soul” every 21.4 hours for 28 years to get to 11,450!

    The other 2.6 hours was training and sending them out as Missionaries.

    1. To supplement that, supposing they have had 250 people (a rough guess based on the picture) constantly for 28 years, each person would have to have led ~46 people since then. Which may seem plausible, but I’m sure the place didn’t start with even 50 people, and that figure includes the elderly and children doing so as well.

      1. (2 + 2 + 2) > 11,450
        Same sentence, but better notation.
        Give me a break; it’s been a long time since I studied math.

      2. Is this the same kind of supernatural math that enabled Noah to fit all the animals in the Ark? Add ’em up 2 by 2 and before you know it you got ’em all?

        (And maybe this is the same kind of supernatural math that enables Ken Hamites to estimate the age of the Universe at 6000 yrs.)

    1. Yep.
      Evangelistically speaking, I saved 328 people in the park yesterday. I waved to them and smiled.

  2. I see from his twitter feed that he is followed and follows many other mathematical geniuses.

    I also noticed this is the same dude with a basement Bible College that just fed Hamblin’s narcissism with some fancy kindling.

    1. Oh, he’s that guy?
      How many Fundies do you think he has saved from not having a bogus doctorate?

  3. Tweets like this are why us mainstream wishy-washy types say that “getting saved” is meaningless. This preacher claims to have helped more than 10,000 people in his driving area “get saved.” Where are they?

    Are they part of a church community? Which one? Are they doing Bible study? Where? Are they attempting to be Jesus’s hands and feet in this world? How do you even know?

    I just got home from the annual community parade. Several district and state candidates were in it. I could have shaken hands with any of these candidates and said, before witnesses, “You definitely have my vote!” And it would have been exactly as meaningful as the Sinner’s Prayer, altar calls, or bus kid baptisms.

    Find people who appear to be looking, invite them, and if they say no, treat them with courtesy and neighborliness. And if they say they want to make a commitment, welcome them into your community. People count. People. People. Not statistics.

    1. I shook hands with a gubernatorial candidate yesterday (that makes me part of an exclusive group of 500,000 or so people).
      So I could say I led her to the Lord. That would be at least as true as Jack Hyle’s tale that he won Elvis Presley’s soul in an elevator. At least I really was face-to-face with the candidate.

    2. I will NEVER understand why fundies are so enthralled with numbers. I am sick of hearing “I saved X amount of people this week.” And yet not a single soul is in church…EVER! I live in a small town. The pastor at our church we left says he has knocked on every door in this town at least three times. YET…..not long ago was talking of knocking on the door of a lady’s house and her response was, “I have lived here for 30 years and no one has ever knocked on my door to invite me to church.” My question is, did you or did you not knock on every door that many times? UGH!! That is one of the foundational absurdities that got me out of there. I canNOT stand with such moronic beliefs.

      1. I think he worded it – “knocked on every door” – specifically that way because maybe he knocked but no one was home.

        1. EXACTLY!! Lying is more like it in my opinion. My friend and I have come up with how they deal with all situations….”Well, I didn’t know about that.” Ugh! Keeps your bottom clean let me tell ya!

      2. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that the lady was out or didn’t answer the door.

        I don’t like going to homes where I haven’t been invited, knocking on the door, interrupting their plans, to ask them about going to heaven.

        What’s wrong with making an appointment? Or maybe finding out if they have any interest before taking up their time?

        1. I so agree! I don’t like for people to come over unannounced. I will NOT answer the door if I don’t know of someone coming. Now, the Jehovah Witness can say they have come to my house multiple times. I have lived here three years and had at least five come by. I didn’t answer, but they left their material.

          I would be hard pressed to think that lady wasn’t home three times, but you never know. I think the exaggeration is part of the job.

        2. The last time the JWs came by, I was in the middle of something and was having a Cranky Day. They gave the usual shpiel about wanting to introduce me to the Lord. I said ‘I know him quite well; he doesn’t know you.’ And then I closed the door. They Departed. πŸ˜‰

  4. He must be extrapolating that each of the souls that were ACTUALLY saved would have evangelized 10 others and each of them would have evangelized 10 others and so on down the line.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly why we’re all millionaires now from selling Amway products. Because pyramid schemes totally work.

        1. Huh?
          Dr. F, you’re saying they built pyramids from the top down?
          How did that work?
          What held up the top layers as they were inserting stoned under them?

        2. @ Big Gary: More that the Egyptian engineers figured the size of pyramid they wanted, did the math for how big the base should be, calculated the angles needed in order to have them meet in a nice sharp point atop the capstone, carved the capstone precisely to spec, and periodically brought the capstone to the site to check it against the angles of what had already been built. They had to get the angles right or the resulting structure would have been unstable. Correcting in mid-construction was possible, but difficult and probably embarrassing (see the Bent Pyramid).

          The Dynastic Egyptians didn’t have a complicated toolset for all this–mostly chisels, sticks, and string, with mental math and stuff to write on/with. But they had been working with stone for a very, very long time before the first pyramid was built. Check this out:

  5. Been off the grid for a while. Long story. Anyway . . .

    I’m no math wizard, but here are some possible solutions:

    In some cultures, people are thought to have more than one soul. Maybe some of these Grace Baptist converts have prayed The Prayer with more than one soul enjoying the benefits of this act. These extra souls have every right to be counted among the saved.


    I’ve personally known people who have needed several savings in order to get a good one that would stick. Maybe Doctor Jenkins is multiplying the accounts in his soul-winning record book based on these additional savings.


    It’s a miracle! If the Lord Jesus can multiply a few loaves and fishes to feed thousands of hungry people–and have 12 baskets of leftovers!!–who are we to say that in the end the numbers all add up? The Man of God may be just trying to account for some mysterious, inexplicable work of the Lord.

    1. Dammit! First post in weeks, and I dropped a word. There should be a “not” in my comment. Figure out where it goes and receive a special blessing from heaven.

    2. Welcome back nico. Been wondering if you fell down a hole somewhere.

      1. Thanks brother. Lot’s of craziness going on in life right now. New job. Seven day work-weeks for a while until we get everything in order. Daughter graduating high school. No sleep. Clothes dryer broke. Blood sugar out of whack. Cat has lice. That’s not the half of it. I told you it was a long story. πŸ™‚

    3. Nico, your last option is clearly correct: If five loaves and two fishes can feed five thousand people, not including women and children, surely five adults and two dogs means 11,450 saved, with 12 baskets of saved souls left over.

    4. ‘Been off the grid for a while. Long story. ‘

      I was off camping for the weekend. Glorious weather, had a birthday party/social for my sweetie, who just turned 50. Made too much food as usual. Came home to find two SFL posts! An embarrassment of riches!

  6. This kind of thing shakes me to the core. It reminds me of my summer as an NBT “Evangelist.” Though I made a conscious effort to clearly present the whole gospel when I taught the children, I shudder to think how many kids received false assurance of salvation due to careless personal workers and all the gimmicks and fanfare that came with NBT. I would rather not share the gospel at all than lead a person to a false hope. πŸ™

      1. Hmmm… we had NBT for a couple of years; 1979 and 1980, I think.

        I was first bothered by the manipulation; the guys running it asked me to “peek” when they asked for raised hands for people who weren’t sure of salvation. I got assigned to a kid I knew, but I don’t think I did a very good job of presenting the gospel. I’ve forgotten much of that experience, but I hope I didn’t give him false assurance — I fear that I did, because it was the thing we did back then. He didn’t seem to change, but then I lost sight of him.

        They really wanted me to sign up for NBT for a summer, but I never did.

        1. I loved it when NBT came to our church. I did not like all the work involved…long week…but my children loved it so I did also. A young girl got saved at NBT. Then her brother got saved. As a result…both parents got saved and their marriage that was about to be dissolved was repaired. Very faithful family today. God used NBT in the lives of this family.

      1. Yes, Neighborhood Bible Time. I remember during the mid-point of our summer “campaign,” we evangelists were chided by Koontz for not having larger crowds of kids at our meetings. We knew it was because we were living in the 21st century…not the 70’s or 80’s. Public gatherings have changed.

        Their conclusion, however, was that we weren’t “working hard enough.” Typical for a results-oriented ministry.

        1. Yes, very typical of a results-oriented.

          They won’t admit it, but it’s fear-based contrary to Romans 8.

    1. I tell you what, I totally agree. I was a SS teacher. I refused to get these little kids to be “saved” for the sake of tossing a number out. However one day a little one asked me after class about going to heaven. So I talked to him and another little guy was listening. The first one didn’t want to go through with praying but the second one did. I asked as many questions as I could to see if he was really understanding. I was confident that he was so I prayed with him. Well a year or so later that kid was “saved” again. I gave up ever asking them. The age was too young in my opinion. When I heard of kids from the pee wee church “get saved” I wanted to scream!! Those are 4 to 6 year old kids and mostly bus kids. ): A huge frustration for me that is for sure!

    1. I’ll bet you haven’t yet noticed what you’ve actually written.

    2. I was in a church as a kid that kept a running tally all year. They counted every person mentioned in a missionary letter as someone they “got saved.” I can guarantee you this is part of the total. An the missionaries were probably counting the same way πŸ˜›

  7. Looking back over Dr. J’s Twitter feed, the pic seems to be from a Wednesday night service. Maybe the Sunday services are held at the local amphitheatre in Gaylord, Michigan.

    Maybe some of the converts have been counted multiple times. I know some IFB people who have been “saved” and baptized 4 or 5 times.

    1. I’m so sorry. Prayers for your whole family, especially your wife and her mother.

    2. Sorry to hear this, Dr. I hope you and your family will find all the comfort you need during this time.

    3. Prayers and compassion in the love of Jesus are with your Mother-in-Law, your wife, you and your family. Thank you for sharing and please keep us informed.

    4. Oh wow! I am very sorry to hear this. My heart and prayers go out to you.

    5. Will be praying for your mother-in-law.

      I will say this about my wife’s family. There was no call for mother-in-law jokes because she was the best. I was accepted into the family as if I had always belonged.

      When my wife’s daddy had a heart attack last year, we were all quick to be there.

      I hope that things will work out. I can’t know what would be “best” in your circumstances or hers. But may you find comfort and strength with your loved ones. You are remembered.

  8. I know it doesn’t account for all of them perhaps but in 28 years I bet a lot of people passed away, moved away, or changed churches.

  9. Steven Anderson actually did a video or teaching on why the souls saved doesn’t make for a larger congregation.
    Their goal really is just to get people to say that sinners prayer and that is it.
    I wonder how many people have just said the prayer to get them to stop bugging them.

    1. My hand is raised. Growing up in the city next to Hammond, I would have to “run the gauntlet” of HAC students to get downtown. I’d pray with the first cute coeds I encountered, and be on my way…

      1. exactly. But when it is numbers reached and prayed with that only matters, that whole discipleship thing doesn’t matter.
        But the church was never given the commission to go and get people to say the sinners prayer. They were told to go make disciples–people who would pattern their very lives and attitudes after Christ in such a way that the flavor of the Kingdom oozes out of them and fills the world.
        Instead we have a lot of people who have said a prayer–some half heartedly, some fully heartedly, some out of frustration to simply be able to go on with their day—but have no inclination to push the envelope on how much they love or forgive or have compassion on others…but they can tell people they said the prayer.

        1. For them, salvation is like a vaccination.
          Once you get the anti-damnation vaccine, you need no follow-up care. If you have a bad reaction to the shot, they don’t see that as their problem.

      2. Gracious. How tired the local population must be of running into this just to get downtown….

  10. It wasn’t a fundy church, but I did this. (Did it for realsies a few years later.)

  11. I am certainly not into easy believeism or just saying a repetitious prayer for salvation. I spend a lot of summers in the Gaylord area. I have visited Grace Baptist once. I must say Grace Baptist is making an impact on the community. Their parking lot is always packed. When church lets out…the road is full of cars. I have listened to Jon Jenkins preach on the local radio station. Very down to earth preaching. I think people should be careful about what they say about a brother in Christ as God hears the gossip and slander.

    1. Using that logic then Joel Osteen is making an impact on his community as well.

    2. Susan, a serious question or two:

      Is the crime rate going down as new converts turn from their sin? Is the church feeding the hungry? Are they ministering to the poor? Visiting the sick? Comforting the dying?

      If these fruits aren’t evident, then I’d opine that this church isn’t making as big an impact on the community as the full parking lots might indicate.

      1. Are you so sure they are not? Easy to criticize without looking at one’s own life.

      2. Also to go from such a small church to a packed church…there must be something going on good in the community.

        1. Numerical growth doesn’t necessarily mean things are going “good.”

          …that is, unless they’re able to keep up with the mortgage, Mog’s salary…retirement plan…medical expenses…annual love offering…

        2. Jones prob never went back to zero. There are always true believers who would give him the benefit of the doubt.

        3. There are some People’s Temple survivors out there who still believe.
          And there are still some Branch Davidians, too.

    3. Willow Creek did a study a few years back. They were filling their parking lots too. But they came to the conclusion, they weren’t making disciples.
      Yes, they may have a full church and making an impact. But from the tweet, they have the mentality that all you need to do is say a prayer. Getting people to say that prayer is fulfilling the Great Commission. And that is not the Gospel or the Great Commission.

    4. A full parking lot is not a sign of making an impact on the community.
      At least, not necessarily a positive impact.

      The strip clubs in my town have full parking lots.
      So do the liquor stores on Saturdays.

      1. The parking lot is always packed when the Trailblazers are playing- it doesn’t mean that everyone who parked there are fans.

  12. Some people might think so. There is a difference between preaching the gospel and man’s need for a Savior and a feel good message. Also there are definite verses against not loving the brethren. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples… If you love one another.

    1. There are also definite verses about showing discernment regarding who we allow as church leaders. There is also the statement that no liar will go to heaven. If lying is so serious, it is not loving to let it go unchecked.

      1. Do you know this person personally to know he is lying and should not be preaching?

        1. Someone above has done the math. It is physically impossible to have that many converts in 28 years. There is statistical evidence that he is lying.

          The “do you know this person personally” is the stupidest (and most overused) argument in the book. No judge bothers to get to know a perpetrator personally before making a judgement, they look at the evidence; the facts that are presented to them.

        2. Humanly impossible, certainly.

          True conversion accomplished by the Spirit of God is limitless. Read Acts to see what God does, and man cannot do.

          If these men’s deeds were inscripturated as God sees them, what a different assessment would be revealed. God would lay it out in its cold, harsh reality.

        3. @Tiareli: Now there you go again, muddying up the perfect stainless record with silly old facts. Just remember, when it comes to a conflict between the MOg’s pure words-er, I mean the BIBLEkingjames1611onlyferver-n-ever and simple logic, the later must always be thrown down, throttled, and danced upon. πŸ™„

        4. I never met Charles Manson, but I know better than to let him preach to me.

          Before anyone hyperventilates, no, I’m not saying anyone is Charles Manson (except Charles Manson). I’m saying knowing or not knowing someone personally is not a good measure of whether or not you know enough about him or her to form an informed opinion.

        5. Susan – I do know this man. He lies from the pulpit on a regular basis. I have seen “The Great Dr. Jenkins” preach on many occassion. He is not humble. He brags. He adores the hero worship he receieves form the IFB churches in his sphere of influence. And I am talking about churches that are 3 states away and don’t have 2 nickles to rub together but pay for this clown to fly into town and get him a hotel room for a week-long revival.

    1. Susan, thank you for posting πŸ™‚

      I think the main issue is the numbers thing. It seems a little exaggerated due to the town/county size, and then the church size. I’m sure they are making an impact, but getting a “decision” from a ton of people that you never see again is not exactly great soulwinning. Planting seeds/watering, maybe. But I would be very hesitant to count them as saved when you see them at most one time.

      1. I don’t know about the numbers but it seems very hypocritical to jump all over someone over trivial things. If we are going to be people of grace we need to be full of grace. Merciful and living toward the brethren. Not constantly attacking individuals.

        1. It’s the arrogance. That’s not “trivial.”

          The spirit of such tweeting is contrary to the grace and mercy you claim to espouse.

        2. Before you remove the splinter from our eyes, take the plank out of your eye.

          You chastise this blog for criticizing this pastor, yet have no problem criticizing us.

        3. Trivial things such as music preference, hair length and pants on women? Because that is what the great and mighty Dr. Jenkins preaches about.

        1. Well he might have exaggerated which you interpret as a lie…who hadn’t done that? But I sure see more sin on this blog than an exaggeration.

        2. Susan, do you remember that story about Jesus healing the 10 lepers? Only one returned to give thanks. Do you remember Jesus’ concerned questions, “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”

          We are just asking, “Were there not 11,450 cleansed? but where are the other 11,000? Why did they not all return to give glory to God?”

          Should we send out a search party?

        3. Susan wrote:

          “Well he might have exaggerated which you interpret as a lie…who hadn’t done that? But I sure see more sin on this blog than an exaggeration.”

          No, Susan, perhaps tweeting, “…thousands have been saved…” would be an exaggeration. Specifying 11,450 saved would be an outright lie if it were not true.

          Then again, if thousands weren’t saved, then both statements are a lie, an untruth, not reality, deceiving, false…whatever you want to call it.

    2. It’s not just a math problem.
      It’s also the arrogance of claiming to know who is saved and who isn’t.
      I don’t accept that saying The Sinner’s Prayer is either necessary or sufficient for salvation. Other than how many people have said the Prayer (TM) in front of them, how could they know how many people have been saved under their watch? For that matter, how can they claim to know how many were lost in the first place?

  13. Yes, one wouldn’t want to use one’s God given senses, intellect, and ability to count and “judge” the good “Dr.” Jenkins and the Jenkins family businesses.

  14. It seems like this pastor thinks that getting people to say a prayer is more important than following Jesus’ actual command to disciple them. Can you imagine how time intensive it would be to actually disciple that many converts?

    1. Not one of us knows what work the Spirit is doing in the life of an individual. Give the gospel and pray for individuals to get saved. How often do we neglect to give the gospel? Too busy venting on blogs.

        1. Just happened to stop by and read today’s blog. On vacation so I had the time. As you can see…I don’t vent often. But I sure see enough venting.

      1. Give the gospel and pray for individuals to get saved.

        I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

        However, Jon Jenkins is going beyond that and making the claim that 11,450 have actually been saved. That is not for him to say. He knows no one’s heart, so to make such a claim is boastful, and at the very least, is religious propaganda designed to to exalt himself and his ministry.

        That is not a proclamation of the Gospel but a proclamation of inflated numbers regarding his Church Growth Movement results.

        1. Assuming he really had some kind of interaction with all 11,450 people, that’s like claiming that I personally saved the life of every person to whom I have ever handed a cookie.
          After all, nobody can prove that all of them weren’t on the very cusp of expiring from hunger or hypoglycemia.
          As for the ones who turned out to have diabetes … never speak of them, OK?

      2. I know you Susan! Are you still having trouble with lustful thoughts and gluttonous cravings? I also noticed you tithed on your net pay and not your gross. I am praying for you sister! Keep up the good work here; faith without works is dead!

        1. How in the world do you know me? Slight exaggeration. I don’t know anyone on this blog unless you are using an annanomous name. I would never share the amount I give to the Lord or people. I am not over weight and really don’t eat much. So I really don’t think you know me. But you sure seem to know a lot of people to be so critical.

        2. Well Susan, you don’t know any of us, our motivations, our hearts, but you have no problems criticizing us for pointing out the very public inconsistencies of this ‘Doctor’s’ statements. Don’t you have better things to do with your time?

      3. Now, now. There are lots of ways to interact with people. Venting on blogs is a good way, provided it is done in a respectful tone.

        As for “sharing the gospel,” I have a few thoughts.

        I am your typical “sinner” approached with a tract. Why should I do anything with a tract but throw it away?

        Really now. I don’t know the person who handed it to me. The tract assumes I am going to hell — whatever that place is — and that Jesus can save me from it, but I have no evidence of that. It quotes a few passages from a book I may or may not be aware of, as if that book was some kind of authority. But it isn’t to me.

        I do hear about “Christians,” though. They always seem to be mad about something. One preacher was in the news for saying that all unwed mothers should be denied food stamps and health care. Wow. My sister has a baby, and the guy she thought was going to marry her skipped out. She got laid off from her job when the factory closed, sending all the jobs to China. If she has no help, she and her baby will starve! That preacher sounds really mean. Funny, that’s the church that was handing out tracts.

        So as far as I can see, these Christians are really mean people who just want to make trouble for others. Why should I listen to them? Why should I believe anything they say?

        Door-to-door, witnessing, tracts are all pretty much useless compared to just living the kind of life that others see as good, attractive, and worth sharing. That takes time. And it can include blogging and venting. We are human, after all.

        For all the organized effort churches have put into their evangelistic programs, they have made negative progress. That should tell them something.

  15. If u were to take their baptism numbers u would probably find that the percentage of baptisms to savings are under 5%. What they have is large numbers of people professing salvation without possessing salvation who expect to enter heaven when they die and will be surprised to hear God say “I never knew you” (Matt 7:23).

    Only 2 kinds of people – those foreknown by God and those never known by God.

    1. Heresy alert!

      Baptists do not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation (nor do most other churches).

      But it’s also a heresy to claim that a mortal human can know with certainty which other people are saved.

    2. As a general rule, I take all Calvinistic interpretations of Scripture to the junk heap.

      I do not believe in anyone being predestined to be saved. I do not believe anyone is predestined to be damned. I do believe in “whosoever will may come.” I believe that Jesus died for the sins of every person. Every one.

      And frankly, I am having some serious doubts about an eternal hell. Shocking, I know. But I have some very good reasons for it.

      My departure from Fundamentalism has, over the years led me to a much more liberal faith, a faith that questions, that does not have all the answers. I have to cast myself on God’s mercy for the things I cannot understand, but I am unwilling to let the spurious doctrines of the past be the standards I measure Scripture by. You act according to what you believe. And Christianity’s beliefs over the years have produced some consistently terrible results.

      Even Jesus said that bad fruit indicates a bad root. And He was not ashamed about bucking the establishment. Neither am I.

  16. Far too many “churches” focus on getting butts in the seats or people making “decisions” and totally neglect the real job of making disciples. I seriously doubt that the preacher in this church, or so many others, has any clue where those “saved souls” are or whether or not they are really following Jesus.

    1. Exactly. Thing is, around here, you can’t get anymore butts to show up than usual, but you can say you won many souls and that seems to do. UGH! Why oh why aren’t these “saved” people brought in and discipled and taught the word of God? The church where I just left is all about door knocking and going after the poor people. I don’t mean to stereo type, but why is it that the doctors in town don’t have their kids on the church buses? It is the ones in the poorest areas that show up. They aren’t reached and they go on to be hellions after they seem too old for the candy and pizza. I couldn’t name three people, or even one person, who goes to that church because of door knocking, yet there are “hundreds saved”. Oh boy, this is by far my biggest pet peeve of the IFB church. I might be clueless here, but where in the Bible did Jesus go door knocking? Didn’t they all come and follow Him?

      1. My ex once remarked, in a confused sort of way, that his bus kids all seemed to stop coming once they got into their teens. I have to wonder why that is.

        1. And not get creeped out or be at risk of being molested too. Teens generally have a good creep factor radar.

  17. I look at the lower picture and see nothing but passive observers under the entertaining power of the performers on stage. That’s nothing like the church you see in the New Testament.

    And so it goes.

  18. I’m assuming it’s the agnostic cynic in me, but (from my worldview) maybe it’s a good thing all these unaccounted for people aren’t there. Maybe they were just saying so to get the man in the button-up and combover out of their face; maybe they found somewhere else that they felt they could worship and live better; maybe they really felt like they did and had a falling out with their beliefs. The way I see it (read an emphasis on “I see it”), it is good these people aren’t a part of the fundamentalist belief. Frankly, I don’t care if the he’s lying to make himself feel better: as long as those people aren’t adding to the self-righteous, extreme standards mob of IFB.

    1. That’s a pretty good point right there. The 11,000 souls that escaped the net are the lucky ones!

  19. The church web site links to their Bible College and school. Maybe if all those people are all out “soul winning” (including the kids in the toddler ministry), there might be something to their numbers…I don’t even understand how a church of their size can have a “college!”

  20. I love the combination of audacity & obliviousness that it takes to point out just how obviously faked your numbers are, and see if anyone notices/calls you on it.

    1. I was thinking the same thing.

      In Doctor Jenkins defense, counting souls is a damnably tricky business, like counting quarks. Souls are so teensy tiny, and impossible to directly observe. They are notorious for flitting around here and there, never resting long enough for an observer to get a good look at them. It’s entirely possible that Doctor Jenkins simply counted the same souls more than once.

      1. In her book “Spook,” Mary Roach reports on some interesting attempts to weigh souls (usually by weighing a person or animal before and after death, and subtracting).

        It can’t really be summarized, but the results were, let’s say, less than overwhelming.

        1. Don’t people’s bowels and bladder evacuate at death? I imagine that would complicate the weigh-in.

        2. Michael: No, they retain any fluids expelled and count their weight.
          Some of the tests even tried to account for gases such as breath, and the moisture in breath.

      2. Why bother to keep a count?

        “The Lord knoweth them that are his”

        Keeping a count of the number “saved” under one’s ministry only serves to boost pride and ego. We don’t see the apostles bragging about how many souls they saved; we don’t see the church in Jerusalem bragging about their number of baptisms.

        The numbers given in the Scripture were given by the Holy Spirit; there is never any instance in which people counted… and numbering the people often invokes God’s displeasure.

        1. Well, I am not sure I would use that argument (that “there is never any instance in which people counted”).

          One of Jesus’ teachings talked about “counting the cost.” Could a king with 10,000 soldiers beat a king with 20,000 soldiers? Or would he petition for terms of peace?

          As for counting “souls” being “saved,” I agree that such is just an ego trip.

          And whether or not the numbers or counting in the Scriptures are the “Holy Spirit’s numbers,” I tend to disagree. The Bible was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But the Bible was not dictated by the Holy Spirit. I do not believe in inerrancy any more, either. Such heresy leads to contradictory and untenable positions. That such a late heresy became a “doctrine” (and inerrancy did not come in as a “doctrine” until something like the 1950s) shows how easily the church is corrupted.

          I will not let the Hebrew’s historically terrible problems with math influence me against using mathematics. Even in Church.

  21. Not a real IFB church. Odd drop ceiling, yes, but they use an electronic ORGAN, not a white piano!

  22. Some of us have “experience” with “Dr. Jenkins”. If you are “high-functioning” and loyal to the moG, then you are the “real deal”; if you DARE question the slavedriver (OOPS, SORRY, MEANT TO SAY PASTOR!), then you better start looking for another church… but it better be FAR AWAY from J’s friends. (Your reputation as a rebel will precede you; “his kind” gossip more than they preach, and I’ve seen and heard it at the “big men’s” table.)
    “Overlords” like him – they are LEGION – think NOTHING of using and abusing the sheep to embellish THEIR legacy. (I often wonder if this kind is even saved.)
    You CAN tell the ones who are real; for them it is about the ME SSAGE. For J’s “kind”, it’s all about the MESSENGER. Just listen, and you will hear who the REAL hero of the endless “pulpit stories” REALLY is!

    1. Don’t judge him unless you know him personally … Oh, wait, you do. All right, then.

  23. Like Susan, I’ve heard Dr. Jenkins speak. He does seem genuine and kind. That being said, the question remains…where are the others? Why are they not at church?

    I have been to a church with an active soul winning program. We’d get excited to see one get saved. Would we ever see them at church? No.

    In the 13 years I went, the church spent 1-2 hours a weekend souls winning. (Low number by some standards) we invested countless man hours and saw several saved (not thousands) of that….I know ONE person that became a regular attendee.

    The idea that door to door soul winning is a wise use of church resources and that there is a community impact is absolutely false. It doesn’t happen.

    One would be better to build a budding relationship with someone. Model Christ’s behavior and then bring them to church. At the very least you have a friend. At the most, a brother or sister in Christ

    1. My wife and I were calculating…13 years x 1 hour a week x 50 weeks a year x 10 people on average….

      6500 man hours for one soul. The one soul does not serve in any ministry of the church either.

      What business would devote that much in resources for that little return….

      The effectiveness of these programs and the impact generated needs to be seriously reevaluated.

    2. I know some fundies disparage “friendship evangelism”, and it’s true that one can put endless hours into a relationship and never see the person express faith in Christ. But one can also put endless hours into door to door visitation and have very limited results.

      It can’t be about the results. It has to be about obeying Christ who said to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. And some of us just think that is best done by also obeying another one of Christ’s commands about loving our neighbor and treating them the way we would want to be treated – giving them our time and respect and interest, seeing them as a person and not just a potential convert.

      1. PW, I think that the reason why fundies like the DTD technique is that you can look at it and proudly point out how much work you’re doing, and also condemn others for not doing enough of it. Spending time helping your disabled neighbor get to doctor’s appointments or mowing lawns for the elderly in your neighborhood just isn’t ‘worky’ enough for them. Takes too much time and effort for that. I mean, when you can assemble at the church at 0900 on Saturdays for coffee, donuts, and door-knocking, why have relationships with anyone?

        1. That’s a good point. DTD so often seems to me just going through the motions, doing the “church-y” thing so you can stay on God’s good side.

    3. AMEN!!!!!! That is what I have been saying!! I just posted that I don’t know of a single person in the church we just left that attends there because they were won by door knocking. It is the most insane process I have ever seen. YET…..I ended up with ONE friend from that church. There is ZERO fellowship among the people and you have to be a door knocker to be in the “in crowd”. I was not. I had 6 duties, but that was never enough. I wasn’t at soul winning three times a week so I was nothing. We left and we are now dog poop. The word love is thrown around like a basketball, but NEVER is it carried out. They do NOT know the real meaning of Christ’s love. They can’t or they wouldn’t be such pigs.

    4. Thanks for this… if we are going to count people at all, it should be those who have a genuine interest in following Jesus Christ; they get baptized, and they attend and keep attending a church; not someone who said a prayer to get me off of the porch and has no interest in spiritual things.


      Ok, so they mention that he went to a bible college in Northern Indiana, but never mention which one. They never say what level of education he got, or how he claimed to earn the title “Dr.”

      I’m going to guess that he attended an unaccredited fundy college and was given an honorary doctorate, and as such should be referred to as “Mr.” In which case, numbers aren’t the only area he has difficulty with the truth over.

        1. They run Reformers Unanimous, too. These guys are probably well-meaning and misguided, but they’re doing a lot of damage.

        2. On the “What To Expect” page, which is directed at visitors, it states:
          Where do I take my children?
          Here at Grace Baptist, we place a huge emphasis on young people. We have carefully planned and prepared to meet the needs of each one of your children. We offer Sunday school classes and special children’s services for every age group,and clean professional nurseries for the infants and young toddlers. Once you arrive at our main entrance you will be met by one of our greeters and they will help to direct both you and each of your children or friends to an appropriate class or service.

          I’m sorry, but I find this terribly offensive. There is no question as to whether or not the parents feel comfortable entrusting their children to strangers. You come to our church for the first time, knowing nobody here, and we will show you where to take your children.

          As a parent, I feel extremely uncomfortable about that attitude – and that’s without considering the rampant child sexual abuse we are now realising exists in many IFB churches.

        3. “They have chandeliers in the church. I’m assuming that’s evidence that they have wiped out poverty in their region.”

          Probably not poverty, but they’re striking some blows against good taste.

        4. “… they are funding the group that helps to cover up sex abuses.”

          That’s an excellent investment for an IFB church, if you know what I mean.

        5. Yeah. They should say something like, “If you’d like to participate”, not make it sound like people are forced to comply with this.

          We’re totally voluntary about kids’ programs at our church. It can make for distractions and noise during the service, but that’s OK when you’re a group of real people who care for one another instead of performers trying to produce a flawless experience during the service.

      1. “The answers to all of life’s questions can be found within the pages of God’s Word, the Bible.”

        Hmmph. Like, when is the best time to plant corn? What do I need to invent that will make it easy and cheap for people in undeveloped parts of the world to get good drinking water?

        Those are “life’s questions” as well.

        I could go on endlessly thinking about moral and physical problems of life that the Bible says nothing about and can’t answer.

        1. What’s wrong with my cell phone?
          Let me know as soon as you find the answer in the pages of the Bible, OK?

    2. Holy moly, Tiarali!
      I’ve seen family-owned storefront restaurants with less nepotism than this church/college/circus/whatever.

    1. He’s going for that “Sounds Like God” voice-over that’s used in movie trailers and campaign ads, but missing the mark.
      For an hilarious deconstruction of this vocal strategy, see the movie “In a World.”

  24. “Over 11450 souls have been saved in our town of 3500 and county of 22000 people.”

    He didn’t say, “as a result of the work of our church.”

    It is, of course, inferred by linking the statement with the anniversary of the church. It also assumes that maybe 75% of all adults and children above the age of 6 are “saved.”

    Why ask anyone! “Are you saved or are you going to hell?” How many would say they are going to hell?

    Or … it could be partly based on the proportion of white families in the region to black/minority families in the region. Sure looks like a white crowd to me.

    In Gaylord, Michigan, 93% of the population is white. (96.8% for the county at large, but 80% for the state).

    Take out an appropriate number for children and those who attend the Catholic Church (and a few of the other sects/churches in the area) and you might come close to that number. An interesting chart here:

    It could be the number of souls saved as claimed on weekly ministry forms. We know how those pile up. And multiply. Contests could have helped those numbers.

    Then too, the county is about 60-70% Republican.

    And of course, the number could be absolute BS, without any thought involved except to impress.

    Obviously the people in the ministry there are desperate to claim that God is overwhelmingly at work among them.

    1. “Obviously the people in the ministry there are desperate to claim that God is overwhelmingly at work among them.”

      This is the great deception, regardless of the numbers.


    2. With your math-oriented brain, you were our best hope to come up with a solution, rtgmath. That was a valiant attempt to make some sense of these numbers. I think this sentence may yields the most possibilities for solving it: “And of course, the number could be absolute BS, without any thought involved except to impress.” Thanks!

  25. One outcome of posting such inflated numbers on a social network is the number of calls into the ministry asking for the magical formula of “Church Growth.”
    “Say Dr/Brother Jenkins what formula are you using that makes your ministry so successful? Are you using the basic Romans Road and spicing it up with some dosage of law and morality? Tells us your secret recipe.”

    1. “Dr.” Jenkins already gets asked that. I heard him preach at a conference some years ago on Church growth.

  26. I don’t doubt that he has “decision slips” for 11,450 people. Yes, that is entirely do-able in 28 years – they probably have “spring” and “fall” programs where people are pushed to “go soulwinning” (and there are contests to encourage people to inflate their numbers).

    Were there really this many saved? I seriously doubt it; probably follows the keep-it-positive, manic-paced, rush-to-get-a-prayer salvation method. That’s how we were able to keep such high numbers, while the church was slowly growing.

    They never adjust their numbers when a kid is “saved” 7-8 times; that counts as 7-8 salvation decisions.

    (Ditto for baptism; some kids have been baptized repeatedly). I think one at Longview was “baptized” 14 times.

    I don’t know that part of the country; I really hope that that many really are in a relationship with Jesus Christ; that the homes are stronger, and evil is on the wane, but I am highly skeptical.

  27. I’ve heard Bob Gray, Sr, (and his ilk) defend such numbers; much as I dislike him, some of his arguments may be valid.

    He says that these 11,450 are “somewhere” — some filling up less strict (liberal to him) churches in the area. (this could be true; some may have said a prayer, but become interested in spiritual things and went to a different church).

    He points out that some move away — very true in our current age.

    Also, some other churches couldn’t be bothered to make any attempt to reach people, but when they hear about a friend or relative who “just got saved”, they then talk them out of the “good” IFB church that “saved” them and bring them into their fold — this is possible, as well. I have found that not many people want to talk about the plan of salvation, but are willing to discuss spiritual things (well, “discuss” meaning “persuade to their view”).

    Many people say “But how many of them are kids?”, and he (BG, Sr) rants against this. He is way off here — it is a valid question because many children have very little judgment skills and believe anything an adult says to them. So, it is very easy to talk a child into saying a prayer. So, “how many were children?” is a valid question

    1. If people find out their friend was converted at an IFB church, they may persuade them to change church out of a genuine concern for the person.

      Children’s brains are still developing. They aren’t capable of making a genuine, reasoned decision for themselves. We don’t let them sing a legal document, yet we’ll argue they were genuinely converted? The IFB often target children because they are such an easy target.

      When I was in grade seven, my religion teacher told our class that everyone should stand up if they wanted to be saved. Everybody but me stood up. They repeated a prayer after her. Afterwards my friend asked me why I didn’t stand up. I said I was already saved. I was raised at church, pretty much. She said I should have stood up just to please the teacher.

      And that’s how these guys get their numbers.

  28. The churches I affiliated with funneled their unsuspecting youth to his kawledge. He likes to preach for hour and a half. None of this wussy 45 minute “sermonettes” for the great doctor.

  29. I’m assuming these are the numbers for the entire 28 years. If so then some people would have left, died, or maybe never came to the church in the first place. I can understand how that many people would be saved but the congregation still be mid sized.

    1. Gina, do the math. If that number is for the 28 years, .that means that on average, 408.9285714286 people got saved every year. Providing that some of those people died or moved, let’s say 10%, that leaves 10,305. Let’s say that only 30% of those so-called salvation decisions were genuine. That leaves you with 3,091.5 people. If you annoy 15% of those people and they quit coming, that leaves you with 2,627.775 people who should stick around. Now, if we pretend that 30% of those people are married couples and able to pop out one child, that should be 3,416.1075 people added to the church roster. Even if you take out 10% on any given Sunday because of sickness, you should have 3,074.49675 people in that building. I don’t know how many people are in that building based on that picture (extrapolating and figuring out numbers isn’t my thing), but I’d say there are fewer than 3,000.

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