Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thoughts On Decline In Southern Baptist Numbers (Updated)

Update- Oh and this might factor in too!! See In Louisiana Close To 60 Percent of Couples Living Together Not Married

This is getting some play. See Nation's largest Protestant group faces 'decline' .

I think the Southern Baptist problem with declining numbers has much to do with migration patterns in the South.

The backbone of the SBC has always been the rural Church. The SBC Church was a focus of faith community and indeed was a social outlet In many towns there are basically the main big 3. That is the Methodist, the Baptist, and the Presbyterians.

The problem is that the rural South is not what it used to be. Many people from Southern Baptist families have moved to the burbs and cities. The SBC needless to say has a lot more competition. One works , goes to school, dates, gets married with a lot of non Southern Baptist Protestants. So I expect a lot of these folks are now in evangelical non denominational Faith communities.

Or they could be now be in Pentecostal like faith communities. Pentecostals appear to me to be growing as fast as ever.

Here is another issue the SBC people in the pews must grapple with. That is immigration and Hispanics which is an area where I think there is a disconnect between the Clergy in the SBC and the flock. Just like in the Catholic Church. The Baptist leadership seems to want immigration reform. It's pretty hard to minister and get SBC Latino members if they are living in the shadows. It is also difficult to minister to children (who are American citizens) and other families of mixed legal status if there is not some stability as to their legal status.

Yet as we see in GA and now Alabama where Baptist power is immense the politicos seemed to be going in an opposite direction. See Alabama’s New Immigration Law.

In effect laws that pretty much mean it will be VERY hard to get new members from this growing group in the South. So at some point the SBC leadership and Clergy are going to have to risk angering their local congregations by talking bluntly on this.

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