This ‘news’ may be a month and a half old, but it’s still relevant; I keep seeing references to the decline in membership in the SBC in other news stories, (e.g. “even conservative evangelicals like the Southern Baptists are in decline“), so I searched this out, and found this piece on the subject.
Membership in the Southern Baptist Convention dropped again over the last year, according to a new report. The largest Protestant denomination in the country now counts less than 16 million members.
This marks the fifth straight year the SBC has lost members. Primary worship attendance has also dropped by 0.65 percent to around 6.16 million.
One Southern Baptist and researcher lamented that the denomination is not only experiencing decline but an acceleration of decline.
Compared to a 0.15 percent drop from 2009 to 2010, membership fell by 0.98 percent from 2010 to 2011.
“Based on the trend of annual percent change in SBC total membership, we are catching up with the Methodists, and will match their decline rate consistently by 2018,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, in his blog. “This trend points to a future of more and faster decline — and it is a 60-year trend.”
The Annual Church Profile, compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources, was released Tuesday ahead of the SBC’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Thousands of SBC messengers, or delegates, will be converging on June 19 to fellowship, discuss resolutions, and elect new leaders. Perhaps the most anticipated event of the two-day meeting will be the likely election of an African-American as president for the first time in SBC history.
BTW, they did end up electing a black American as their president, a week after the above story.
Whether they did so, because they truly felt he was the best man for the job, or because ‘it was time’ / to get away from their past (explicitly pro-slavery at the time of their founding), I will not speculate.
But I’ll quote him:
“If we stop appointing African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics to leadership positions after this, we’ve failed,” he said. “… I promise you I’m going to do all that I can to make sure this is not just a one-and-done deal.”
Hey, remember how MLK expressed his desire for a colour-blind society, where people are judged “by the content of their character”, and “not by the colour of their skin”? But ‘anti-racist’ types today are ‘bean-counters’, numbers matter greatly to them…
Anyway, I’m still curious about the ongoing struggle in their church between Calvinists and non-Calvinists.