Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Southern Baptist Reality

I read today some news about the South Baptist Convention.

For the 9th year in a row, our membership is in decline.

We lost more than 200,000 members in 2015.  [Now down to 15.3 million.]

We saw our weekly attendance decrease by 97,000 people from 2014 to 2015.  [Now have 5.6 million people involved with Southern Baptist churches on a weekly basis.]

We saw our baptisms fall by more than 10,000 people from 2014 to 2015.

Frank Page, one of our Southern Baptist leaders, had this to say about it:  "God help us!  In a world that is desperate for the message of Christ, we continue to be less diligent in sharing the Good News."

I've been a Southern Baptist since 1987.  And I'm glad to be a part of it.  Here are a few thoughts I have on this situation...

[1]  I'm noticing that loyalty to a denominations mean very little to people these days.  Just because they were raised a Baptist, Methodist, or Presbyterian, don't assume they will always remain a Baptist, Methodist, or Presbyterian.  It seems to me that people today want to go to that church where things are clicking and running smoothly.  Gone are the days of denominational loyalty.  Of course, I'm not saying that's a bad thing.  Not at all.  That's just what it is.

[2]  We've got a lot of work to do!  I hope all of us churches will get more passionate about reaching lost people with the Gospel and helping them mature spiritually.  That matters so much more than preserving outdated programs, remaining fixated on the past, and majoring on the minors.

[3]  We spend a lot of time telling the world what we're AGAINST.  Perhaps we should put more emphasis on what we're FOR. 

[4]  Let's make each church a "place of grace" where sinners, rebels, and hurting souls can come and be ministered to in a loving environment.  Let's be about the business of restoration rather than condemnation. 

[5]  Go back and read number [2] again. 

I'll let the experts give extensive commentary on what all this means for us Southern Baptists.  But I can say this:  We have a message of God's grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love.  And this world really needs to hear it.  Let's do whatever we have to do in getting that message out there for men, women, boys, and girls.  That's what Jesus wants us to do.  And that's what this world really needs from us. 

No comments:

Post a Comment