609683“Double the Serial Number” has been the cry of the Administration for the past three years.  Some Districts managed to not just  double their serial numbers (membership) but triple it.  All locales that  successfully doubled their numbers were duly awarded certificates from the Executive office congratulating them.  These locales were also given recognition by our TV programs.  Included also in the recognition were individual members who contributed in the endeavor.  The monthly District meetings of the Pamunuan had always been  in a festive mood during citing locales that successfully doubled their membership within a period of one year.  Our locale was one of the first to have successfully doubled its membership  in one year from approximately one thousand to two thousand in less than a year.  My co-PD  and one of our Purok was the Pinakamaraming Nagbunga in our District here in Metromanila.

One thing however that continuously bothered me was the growing number of members who were not attending church services anymore and the majority of which were from the newly baptized core of the locale.  Twenty percent had been the benchmark but now this was steadily growing to thirty or more percent.  For the information of everyone, the Head Deacon is assigned with the task to look into and solve this issue.  Thus, after scrutinizing all the records in the kalihiman I asked how it was  possible that an individual after completing his/her indoctrination and the pagsubok for six months without absence would suddenly refuse to attend worship services.  I started to have doubts of records submitted to the District office.  But how could this be done when each new individual after submitting a salaysay of his intention to become a member would be assigned an identification Number encoded into the District computer system.  So there was no way an individual could bypass the six month period pagsubok. But then again, why the sudden ayaw sumamba after baptism?  Hadn’t he been going to church for the past six months consistently?

Well, to put it short,  this is how you double the serial number in any locale within a year and bypass all the precautions set up by the Head office:

(1)  Invite everyone to our pamamahayag or doktrina.  Prepare two records – one for pamamahayag/doktrina attendance and the other (a vital one) intent to become a member.  Our guests sign both documents (not knowing the better);

(2)  The Attendance form is first submitted to the District office then later followed up with the form on Intent to become a member.  The District then assigns a unique identification number for each new recruit.  This number serves as basis when counting back the six month period pagsubok.

(3)  In fairness, there will be true recruits who will diligently complete the indoctrination and pagsubok but others will not.  For those who no longer show interest to continue would be reflected in a form stating as such.  This is where the irregularity begins.  Not all are removed from the list.  Many are maintained even if no such individual exists attending the pagsubok. But why would we do it?  For the unique Identification Number assigned to a particular individual.  In short, the records will make it appear that the person is continuously attending the church services.  But since there is no actual person we pick out one of the many who are still attending services and assign the Identification Number to him.  So even if an individual has attended only a month of pagsubok the ID number will show that he has completed the six month period.

I’m sure the District Office is aware of this.  They have to find ways to meet the Administrations programs even if it means demeaning the spiritual maturity of its members.  All you have to do is attend the Final Screening of incoming members and you’ll find out for yourself the quality of most of our new converts.  Screening is done in a mass scale – not individually (as before).  Very seldom do they flunk attendees.  And what is the result?  Thirty to forty percent non-attendance or hindi sumasamba.  And to whom goes the burden of caring for all these non-attendees?  Who else but the lay Katiwala at mga Diakono at Diakonesa.  Who are blamed and scolded during Pulong ng mga Maytungkulin, who else but the Katiwala at mga Diakono at Diakonesa. 

Seems unfair don’t you think?

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NEXT:  Maybe our target is a little too low, guess it’s  time we  aim a little higher …