Southern Baps in four charts

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Southern Baps in four charts

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:05 am

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Re: Southern Baps in four charts

Postby William Thornton » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:41 pm

Now this is good, Stephen. I'll analyze and retitle it with commentary.
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Re: Southern Baps in four charts

Postby KeithE » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:57 am

It is good info. But I only see 3 charts - I need more charts! :wink:
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Re: Southern Baps in four charts

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:04 pm

Statement by the author:
I’m using data from The ARDA, which break down membership by state, but which apparently don’t match the SBC’s self-reported numbers. If anyone from the convention has state-level data they want to send me, I’ll gladly update the analysis.

Seems to me that would make an accurate analysis, or drawing conclusions, somewhat difficult.

The SBC itself isn't really on top of things statistically, when it comes to tracking attendance and membership. It depends on roughly 48-50,000 local, independent, autonomous congregations to complete and send in a report called the ACP, and in recent years, while discussion has focused on a decline in membership, worship attendance and baptisms, those who gather and analyze the data have also noted a sharp increase in the percentage of churches which fail to provide the various layers of Baptist organization with their ACP. If upwards of 25 to 30% of the churches are contributing, but not sending in an ACP, that could account for a fair portion of the membership losses.

Of course, I think that the SBC, overall, is experiencing a membership and attendance decline. But it might take more than a little bit of detective work to analyze where it is happening, why, and what would resolve it. There have been some sharp declines and drop offs in membership in some of the SBC's more notable mega congregations. Is that happening across the denomination? This article indicates slow growth among non-traditional Baptist churches, but the SBC's stats show significant growth in membership, attendance and baptisms in ethnic congregations, particularly among African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, particularly Chinese and Koreans. In Texas, for years we heard that if it wasn't for the baptisms and growth among the Hispanic churches, and the African American fellowship, the membership numbers in the state convention would be in decline.

I know churches do "clean their rolls" on occasion, and in fact, have done that a time or two in churches I served. In one case, we were able to subtract about 450 members from a roll in excess of 1,000, getting the membership down to about 560, with a weekly worship attendance of about 320. Many of the names we removed were attached to dates of birth that were more than 100 years old. But I think the overall decline is the result of multiple factors, from the whole post-denominational atmosphere, to the demographics of the population in areas where churches are located, to the relative inability of many churches to cross cultural, racial and even political barriers, or to their ability to create them.
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