Thirty-seven is the net increase in SBC churches in the period 2010-2011. There were 45,727 SBC churches reported in 2010. There are 45,764 reported for 2011.
Forty-two is how many state conventions there are in the SBC.
So...actually...the largest non-catholic denomination in the United States increased their number of churches at a rate of about one per state convention.
How about that?
The Obama administration, if presented with similar stark statistics would be hard pressed to find any positive spin for it and they are masters at it.
Let's be accurate here:
- Net new churches, .88 per state convention
- One net new church per 431,840 members
- One net new church per 31.7 Baptist associations
But consider this. Our North American Mission Board reports an unexpected increase in church plants for 2011. That figure is 990, almost a thousand church plants.
I am unsure if NAMB's plants are also reported on the Annual Church Profile as new churches, some or most may not be constituted, but if we are starting almost a thousand churches and show only the tiniest net increase, there must be a lot of congregations that went defunct, folded up, merged or got lost.
In the last six months have preached and worshiped in some churches that are very small but I am unaware of any that disbanded in my area. Maybe there is a rash of church closures in other states. I don't know.
I am aware that NAMB has taken steps to stop the reporting of phantom church plants (explanation of which may be found in this article). Hard numbers are always better than SBC-style 'soft' numbers, even if we have to postpone our annual bragging session.
I'm thinking that we can do better than this if we can avoid a Calvinist/Traditionalist meltdown.
NAMB thinks we can do a lot better than this; hence, the Send North America initiative that is aiming at an additional 5,000 churches by 2022.
I like the concept. That's why we are here.
Less than one net new church per state convention. Ruminate on that for awhile.