Southern Baptists at Lowest Numbers Since 1987, But Giving Is Up

ChurchLeaders | 5/24/2019 | Staff
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Although the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) continues to experience declines in attendance and baptisms, giving increased by $82 million last year. The just-released Annual Church Profile (ACP) report provides an overview of 2018 statistics for America’s largest Protestant denomination.

The increased giving (totaling $11.8 billion) is one bright spot in the big-picture report. Another is double-digit growth in the number of Southern Baptist congregations within four state conventions: two in Texas, one in Virginia, and the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention.

Three-fourths - SBC - Churches - ACP - LifeWay

Only three-fourths of SBC churches participated in the 2018 ACP, which is compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources and state conventions.

Because the ACP relies on voluntary reporting, it doesn’t tell the whole story, says Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. But denominational leaders say it’s valuable because it points to areas needing improvement.

Year - Row - SBC - Increase - Church

This is the second year in a row that the SBC saw an increase in total church receipts and undesignated receipts. Mission expenditures reached $1.17 billion, and Great Commission Giving was at $572 million. Donations to the denomination’s Cooperative Program weren’t included in the totals.

“I was encouraged by the slight increases in giving,” says SBC President J.D. Greear. “I look forward to ongoing discussions about our generosity and how our systems can best aid in effective partnership toward the Great Commission.”

Increases - Denomination - Abuse - Scandal - Ways

The increases come as the denomination faces a sexual abuse scandal and looks for ways to improve safety and restore its reputation.

SBC membership, now at 14.8 million, is at its lowest since 1987. That’s a decrease of 1.28...
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