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Hundreds of New Churches Not Enough to Satisfy Southern Baptists

Baptisms are at a 70-year low, while Sunday worshipers are at a 20-year low.
Hundreds of New Churches Not Enough to Satisfy Southern Baptists
Image: Matt Miller / Baptist Press

Southern Baptists gained almost 500 churches last year, while taking in more than $11 billion. Such statistics would have most US denominations praising the Lord.

But because of declines in other metrics that matter more—including their namesake, baptisms—leaders say members should offer lament instead.

"Virtually everyone who sees these figures will react negatively and lament the poor state of our churches, our lack of evangelistic fervor, and our increasingly irrelevant programs,” Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), told Baptist Press. “Indeed, we all should.”

There’s no denying the decline of America’s largest Protestant denomination any longer. The SBC lost almost 78,000 members in the past year, according to the Annual Church Profile (ACP) released ahead of its upcoming annual meeting. Southern Baptists have now lost a million members since their peak of 16.3 million in 2003. ...

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