As Southern Baptists prepare for next week's annual meeting, LifeWay's Annual Church Profile indicates that though membership continues to slide and baptisms and churches barely increased, giving saw strong growth.
For the fifth straight year, total membership in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) declined. Membership fell nearly one percentage point to just less than 16 million members. Baptisms and the number of churches rose slightly—by 0.70 percent and 0.08 percent, respectively. Baptisms hit a 60-year low for the denomination, though still totaled more than 330,000. The denomination planted almost 1,000 new churches, of which 50 percent were non-Anglo; however, the net gain of 37 churches was one of the lowest totals in 40 years.
Meanwhile, SBC members gave $1.33 billion last year, a $26.2 million increase from 2010. That news comes on the heels of a report from the SBC's International Mission Board, which stated that $146.8 million was donated to the annual Lottie Moon Christmas ...1