Baptisms may be in freefall, the Cooperative Program may be half of what it used to be, membership may be declining, and we might be in the grips of nasty controversies and extremely bad behavior by prominent SBCers…but Southern Baptists can always brag. Here are a few bragging points for some of the state conventions:
Most Baptisms: Florida. The 2,709 SBC churches in Florida baptized 26,162 folks last year and that is tops among the state conventions. The Baptist General Convention of Texas had the second most, 23,181 but the venerable BGCT has over 1,600 more churches than the Florida convention. Some academic can explain why.
Largest state convention (numbers of churches): Baptist General Convention of Texas. The older of the two state conventions in the Lone Star State reported 4,354 churches. North Carolina reported 4,059 to be the only other state over 4,000 in this datum. Bit of a caveat here: some states are very soft on counting churches; that is, maybe you can find all of them, maybe not.
Largest state convention (membership): BGCT, 2.05 million. Four states report over a million members: BGCT, Georgia, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, and North Carolina. Note: in Texas some churches get counted twice, nice.
Largest state convention (attendance): BGCT, 564k in average weekly attendance. Georgia, Florida, and NC all follow with over 400k in attendance.
Sunday School/Small Group attendance: BGCT, 390k; Georgia and SBTC follow a good ways behind. Sunday School ain’t what it used to be even if you try and cajole churches to report all of their various groups that meet whenever during the week.
Money (total receipts): BGCT, $1.6 billion; Georgia and SBTC report over a billion also. Memo to church treasurers: I hear total giving to churches declined by a couple of billion last year. Chances are belt-tightening is in order across the board.
I don’t hear much bragging by the mammoth BGCT these days, perhaps because they have been hemorrhaging churches to their upstart convention in that state. Florida, with a lot fewer churches, is certainly baptizing at a higher rate. I assume they aren’t counting Haiti baptisms any more. My state, Georgia, is in the throes of a long term decline by most measures even though we are a top state in population growth.
Baptists live and die by numbers…just ask the closest SBC pastor that you know.
It’s a slow time in SBC life, everyone who is anyone is on a sabbatical or takes a month or two off in the summer; hence, some boilerplate articles here at SBCV. I’m happy to contribute having a vast stockpile of boilerplate stuff to draw upon.
By way of a SBC convention report, my wife and I went to Saw BBQ close to downtown. It was very good. My plate alone would make three meals.