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NY13 Campaign – A Massive Effort with Minimal Results


The numbers are in for the evangelistic campaign targeting metro New York in 2013, spearheaded by General Conference President, Ted Wilson. And they do not tell a compelling story in favour of the campaign.

There are five conferences that have a presence in the area defined as metro New York by the campaign organisers. Three of these, Greater New York Conference, Northeastern Conference and New Jersey Conference fall completely or largely within the boundaries. Two others, Southern New England Conference and Allegheny East Conference only have a small portion of their territory within the campaign area.

The Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research at the General Conference via their website have released the membership data for 2014.  Analysis of this shows that these conferences have performed below their historic run rate.

The five conferences combined experienced total baptisms and professions of faith of 6,628 people in 2013.  This exceeded the average for the previous five years (2008-2012), of 5,959.  During the 2014 year total baptisms amounted to 5,018, well below the previous five year average, and lower than any year during that period.  The average for 2013 and 2014 is 5,823 baptisms, which is less than the previous five year average, and this is highly suggestive that the campaign encouraged people to be baptised in 2013, who perhaps would have made that decision in 2014.

In the North American Division, baptisms have dropped from a high of 45,419 in 2009 to 34,930 in 2014.  The decline in baptisms division-wide has been greater than that in New York.  It could be debated that NY13 arrested a decline, but equally it could be argued that NY13 utilised resources that became unavailable to the rest of the division.

The organisers subsequently released a report into their “Evangelistic Adventure,” which can be found in full here. The report is rich in describing how the campaign came about. The first meeting was attended by leaders from the General Conference, North American Division, the Atlantic Union and Columbia Union, and the local conferences. These included Ted Wilson, Mark Finley, Dan Jackson and Shawn Boonstra. Plans were put in place to run pastors orientations, evangelism and prayer rallies, to distribute copies of “The Great Hope,” and train Bible workers. Small groups, youth ministries and health ministries were all a part of the preparation work.  The report then moved on to taking credit for all of the baptisms that occurred during 2013. In contrast to the story of how the campaign came about, there is no meaningful analysis of the results achieved, be it measured by way of baptisms, greater commitment, increased attendance at church, etc, and no mention at all of the cost to achieve the results. There are some recommendations about future improvements, such as more prayer and greater ownership in the local field.

The results speak for themselves.  A huge effort was committed to this programme, both by clergy and laity. Significant resources were consumed. And the outcome evidently was no different than if the exercise had not been undertaken.


Bill Mancer is a kiwi who hails from Auckland, New Zealand.  He is a chartered accountant, business owner, husband, father, and Gracegate Church attender, who enjoys crunching numbers for kicks.

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