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Southern Baptist Churches Decline in Most Areas, Save Giving

Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) data released May 23 revealed declines in most areas it measures, save for giving.

The SBC’s annual statistical report provides various data points on the state of its convention, including church affiliation, total membership, annual baptisms and worship attendance. The latest report provided data for 2018, comparing the numbers to 2017.

SBC-affiliated congregations had nearly 200,000 fewer members in 2018, a 1.28% decline that dropped total membership below 15 million.

In addition, the convention reported nearly 7,700 fewer baptisms (down 3.02%) and 88 fewer churches affiliating with the SBC (a 0.19% decline).

Average attendance in SBC churches also dropped from 2017 to 2018, with average weekly worship attendance down 22,700 and average Sunday School / small group attendance down nearly 98,000.

The lone exception to this downward trend was in financial support of the convention, with total receipts increasing nearly $82.7 million to just over $11.8 billion.

While overall giving increased, Great Commission Giving – a category established in 2010 to report all receipts for missions – declined nearly $21.7 million to just over $570 million.

The statistical summary is available here. The state-level data is available here.