Thursday, January 24, 2013

A question you will not get right

I'll make it multiple choice so at least everyone has some chance of getting it right (but no peeking below until you choose).

What proportion of SBC churches is non-Anglo?

a. 1 in 20
b. 1 in 15
c. 1 in 10
d. 1 in 5
e. 1 in 3

If the year was 1990 in the waning, fractious years of the Conservative Resurgence, the answer would be "a". About one in twenty SBC congregations in 1990 was non-Anglo.

If the year was 1998, after the consolidation of the CR and before the Y2K non-event, the answer would have been between "c" and "d". About one in 7.5 SBC congregations was non-Anglo.

In 2011 the figure is about 1 in 5, "d".

I would have missed that one.

The North American Mission Board did some analysis with the 2011 Annual Church Profile and reported the following:
According to Annual Church Profile ACP statistics provided to NAMB by LifeWay Christian Resources, 10,049 of 50,768 SBC congregations identified themselves by an ethnicity other than Anglo in 2011, the most recent year for which detailed data on ethnicity is available. That’s up from 6,044 non-Anglo congregations in 1998.

The information here is gleaned from NAMB's blog article, SBC ethnic congregations up 66 percent since 1998, by Tobin Perry.

One wonders, what proportion of other mainline and splinter Baptist groups is non-Anglo?

Just asking.


Anonymous said...

I know of one church that has two large ethnicity groups: white and black. By a few percentage points, the larger group is black, thus it would be characterized as a black church by SBC (or non-anglo). I don't think people in the church think of it that way (i.e., as either white or black, anglo or non-anglo, etc.), but stats, important as they are and the role they play, are instructive, nonetheless.

And, the church funds SBC and CBF.

Thus the message that SBC is more diverse post 90 (under conservative leadership) than pre 90 (under liberal leadership) may or may not be the case, and if the case, it might not be as strong as implied, given the methodological confound.

In any event, Praise God for any increase in diversity in the church and let's hope SBC pastors show greater support for said non-anglo groups and their array of needs, which is not evident when one reads other baptist blogs frequented by pastors.

By the way, SBC is also a splinter group.

Unknown said...

The church I attend is Anglo but has two ethnic congregations that use the building. The count there would be three chruches, since the ethnic congregations are themselves churches, one Anglo, two ethnic.

The data used in the NAMB/ACP is how a church self-identifies and reports.

Moses Model said...

As a child, the church we went to most often was a white church and the black church was a couple of streets over. After the Civil War both churches had seen it appropriate to split. The pastor of the white church tried several times to integrate the church by bringing in black members, but while we were there, there was always trouble.

Fast forward to my married life, 1 in 5 sounds about right and the rate seems to be growing. Still, I have a close friend of mine who is Hispanic and they are asked at least once a year by some well meaning member, what country they are from. They are a third generation immigrant. Parents came over around WWII. I have another friend of mine who arrived to this country from West Africa when they were around ten. They never get such questions, everyone assumes that their family has always been here.

The future of all this is the children. They don't see color. When I was in Sunday School, they actually had to teach that interracial marriage was moral. I don't see it as a question for my children.

Anonymous said...

Plodder: The data used in the NAMB/ACP is how a church self-identifies and reports.

Anonymous: More likely how the person completing the report identifies, which is influenced by a question with a discrete choice.

Interval level data that is collapsed to categorical levels loses information, thus interpretations based on such data need to be qualified.

William Thornton said...

Typical around here are ethnic churches which are easily identified because worship is in native tongue.

Lee said...

Moving from the Deep South to the Northeast, looking for an SBC congregation posed a problem. One, there are not nearly as many of them, and two, most of the ones close to where we moved worshipped in a language other than English.

The church we left behind in Texas had transitioned from being mostly white, older, and declining in the 70's and 80's, to three churches under one roof. One was the remnant, mother church that was ethnically blended, about 40% white, 40% Hispanic, 10% Asian and 10% African American. One was a Spanish speaking church, and the third was an urban church plant, mostly African American. Between the three, more people attended than ever had during its WASP heydey, and we baptized more people than previously.
The number of Hispanics, and Spanish speaking churches, in Texas has grown exponentially over the past two decades. The Hispanic and African American fellowships in the conservative-based state convention represents more than a third of the total number of churches.