Magazine article The Christian Century

SBC Notes a Drop in Baptisms, Attendance

Magazine article The Christian Century

SBC Notes a Drop in Baptisms, Attendance

Article excerpt

The Southern Baptist Convention has reported declines last year in several categories traditionally used as markers of denominational vitality. Dips in baptisms, total church membership, worship attendance and participation in Sunday school and other Christian education programs were detailed in the 2010 Annual Church Profile.

Southern Baptists reported 5 percent fewer baptisms in 2010 than in 2009--332,321 compared to 349,737. Total membership was counted at 16,136,044, a drop of 0.15 percent and the fourth straight year of membership losses.

"I pray that all of us will see the urgency of the moment," said Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, which released the figures June 9. "We must make the Great Commission the heart of all we do and say. These latest numbers should be received with a broken spirit and a God-given determination to reach people for Christ."

When the SBC ended its annual meeting June 15 in Phoenix, another statistic noting a decline was announced: the gathering was attended by 4,814 registrants, the lowest number since 1944. …

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