Just prior to each SBC annual meeting LifeWay releases the compiled statistics for the previous year just in time for anyone who was feeling pretty smug about how the sun never sets on the SBC to be jostled back to reality.
Here’s the positive-spin Facts and Trends article title: GIVING INCREASES IN 2018 FOR SBC, BAPTISMS, ATTENDANCE CONTINUE DECLINE. Thank God we have a few more dollars to spend on things, many of which don’t positively impact folks being saved and baptized.
Ronnie Floyd, in his first chance as SBC Executive Committee CEO to react to the statistical report said,
“While this report contains news that concerns us greatly, we need to celebrate every life who was positively impacted by the Gospel.
“As we look forward,” he said, “it is time to press reset spiritually and strategically in the Southern Baptist Convention. Prioritizing and elevating the advancement of the good news of Jesus Christ into every town, city and county in America, as well to every person across the world, must be recaptured by every church. Urgency is not an option for any of us as Christ-followers. People need Jesus and they need Jesus now. Our generation of Baptists must believe and determine now that we will do whatever it takes to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations.”
Seems like his predecessor would do a bit of harsh scolding. I like Floyd’s approach. ‘Thank God for what we have. Let’s do better.’
More later, but here’s a few thoughts:
- Total membership dropped below 15 million.
- The rate of declining baptisms has been slowed, as if that is anything to tout.
- The number of state conventions dropped from 42 to 41. I suppose I forgot what happened on this.
- Great Commission Giving dropped from about $594 million to about $572 million. This statistic is virtually worthless unless you are running for some position, then you can try and supplant your church’s anemic CP giving with GCG.
The first person to comment that things aren’t all that bad, since only 76% of SBC churches file the ACP report, gets a milkshake square in the sternum.
The first person to recognize that our anemic birth rate is the major factor in baptisms gets a free Chick Fil A peach milkshake.