Servants' News

Jan/Feb 2002

Still More Answers to Hierarchical Leader Letter*

Comment on Diane Rhodes’ Answer to Hierarchical Leader Letter, p.15 Sept/Oct 2001


Two things in particular struck me about Mrs. Rhodes’ letter.

First was her statement “People have a right to decide for themselves”—and then she writes she is not even going to let her husband see your questionnaire! In other words, she was not going to let the person the letter was addressed to decide for himself. Isn’t there a contradiction here? Didn’t she just admit to not letting someone decide for themselves—the very thing she accused you of doing?

The second thing that struck me was the matter of you getting a job. Here are two comments on her advice.

First, you have a job. You have one of the hardest possible jobs. Why say that? Because your income every single day depends on providing your readers with something they voluntarily pay for.

Furthermore, you are not able to threaten your donors with Mal 3:8, something the organization that pays Mr. Rhodes has done.

Secondly, you have lots of competition for your services. Let’s face it, there are now many places in the COG community where people can send voluntary offerings.

Moreover you started out, in faith, very small and with very little income. But you stuck with it and it has grown from that small beginning. It seems Mrs. Rhodes was pointing out that your work pays a fraction of what her husband is paid. But she only knows that because you openly disclose the figures of your income.

That open disclosure, it seems to this writer, should be commended, and the low income it reveals not ridiculed. It seems the average minister in her husband’s hierarchical organization does enjoy salaries, benefits, and perks that cost $81,159 per year.

(This figure was obtained not because salaries and perks were openly disclosed as you do yours, but only after lengthy analysis—see the July/Aug 2001 Servants’ News. It should be further noted that Mr. Rhodes’ organization was given the opportunity to dispute the $81,159 figure with exact disclosures of their own, but failed to do so. Nevertheless, this letter-writer enjoys Mr. Rhodes’ articles and learns much from them.)

And yes, Norm, you make only a fraction of $81,159. But should income be used as a measure of spiritual success?

As a loyal reader of Servants’ News for several years, I think what you are doing is very important and you should not look for a job. I have learned more from Servants’ News than I have from dozens of sermons given by highly paid ministers of the Rhodes’ organization. Actually you are measured every day by persons better able to judge it than Mrs. Rhodes might be. Your success is measured by your readers and voluntary donors. To say you should abandon them and get a job seems somewhat out of place.

Could there have been an arrogance detected in parts of Mrs. Rhodes’ letter? If so, it is the same arrogance I seem to be noticing more and more from hierarchical leaders who have never had a real world job, but instead have lived all their working lives off the earnings of their tithe payers.

Since Mrs. Rhodes has raised the excellent subject of “get a job”, may I ask a question that has been puzzling me for some time?

It might be helpful to first mention my qualifications to ask the question. Baptized by the WCG in 1964, and having been a conscientious member and supporter of the Churches of God since then, I ask the following:

What are the ministers of Mr. Rhodes’ hierarchical organization doing with their time these days?

Why ask? Look at the data. In the sixties, the WCG United States paid ministry was about 600 and feast attendance was 140,000 to 150,000. Even using the lower figure means each minister served about 233 members.

In contrast, about 13,080 U.S. members attend the Holy Days with Mr. Rhodes hierarchical organization. It has a full time ministry of over 98 ministers. Thus it seems each minister now serves an average, not of 233, but of 134 members.

There is more. In 1964, and for many years after that, WCG ministers carried out the following duties: conducted weekly Spokesman Club meetings, often two clubs per week. Many ministers also conducted Women’s Clubs.

Much of the ministers’ time, however, was spent on the many, many Prospective Member visits. These visits lasted for hours with eager “prospectives” asking a multitude of questions. Visits quite often lasted until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.

Therefore, since Mrs. Rhodes has put in play the “get a job” subject, here again is the question:

Now serving about 1) half the number of members, 2) with most areas no longer having Spokesman and Women’s Clubs, and 3) with prospective visits down to almost none:

What are the ministers of Mr. Rhodes’ hierarchical organization doing with their time these days?

Pondering the above data, could “get a job” possibly be applied in the opposite direction? Might telling you to get a job, be a case of “doth she protest too much”? Could one even go a step further and compare the fruits of the one-man-ministry of Ronald Dart with that of the 98 plus ministers of Mr. Rhodes’ organization and conclude one side is falling down on the job?

Norm, you are very articulate and well able to defend yourself, but I thought it might be good to add other perspectives to the subjects raised by Mrs. Rhodes.

— “One-third Century In-CoG’s”

[Thank you for doing this comparison. I think it is much more fair when voluntarily done by a third party, rather than by me. I did not refute some things Mrs Rhodes wrote because I wanted people to understand her heart-felt writing without turning it into a big dispute. — NSE]


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