I returned home from my hiking trip at the Grand Canyon to a bundle of unread emails and Google Reader items. I tried in vain to get cell phone and Internet/email reception in the backcountry, but God has preserved the canyon from these mind-zapping communication trinkets.
Perhaps like many of you, I was disheartened to find several commentaries on the declines in the SBC. For those of you who don’t know much about the Southern Baptist Convention, click here for some information. It is the denomination to which I belong, and the way in which my church cooperates with other churches for the sake of the gospel.
The facts are fairly straightforward:
Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention fell for the third straight year in 2007 to the denomination’s lowest level since 1987, dropping nearly 5.5 percent to 345,941, according to LifeWay Christian Resources’ Annual Church Profile (ACP). Baptisms have declined annually seven out of the past eight years. Total membership also declined by 0.24 percent to 16,266,920.
My father stated it well, “Although we pray God will bring revival and change, the trajectory is not positive. If current trends don’t change, it seems we are about to enter a period of declining membership.”
I’ve purposely decided not to write much about this issue. Quite frankly, there isn’t much I wish to say about these declines. But there is a whole lot that I can do to help reverse the trend. As a pastor, I will take personal responsibility for leading my church in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.