Southern Baptist churches in 2013 baptized the fewest converts since 1948 and have lost more than 570,000 members since 2006, according to annual statistics released May 28 by LifeWay Christian Resources.
The Southern Baptist Convention publishing house reported 310,368 baptisms and total church membership of 15,735,640, both down from the previous year.
LifeWay President Thom Rainer said the numbers indicate that Southern Baptists “are clearly losing our evangelistic effectiveness.”
The statistics continue a period of stagnation and decline that has denominational leaders concerned. Last year the North American Mission Board convened a national Pastors’ Task Force on Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms, which found that the only consistently growing age group in baptisms is age 5 and under.
“We live in a time when church planting continues to capture more of our attention, mission volunteerism continues to be on the rise, and yet evangelism seems to be on the decline,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research.
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SOURCE: Associated Baptist Press