Baptist Church Makes $11.8 Billion in 2021. Loses 1.2 million members in 3 years

The SBC’s membership has dropped from a peak of 16.3 million in 2006 to 14.8 million in 2018 and then 13.6 million in 2021.
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The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), a Christian denomination based in the United States made $11.8 billion in 2021 but lost 3.3 members in 15 years.

The SBC’s membership has dropped from a peak of 16.3 million in 2006 to 14.8 million in 2018 and then 13.6 million in 2021.

Southern Baptists also experienced an increase in baptisms and churches in 2021, with the membership decline unabated in the long run.

It was reported that the SBC baptized 154,701 people in 2021 for an increase of 31,541 (26 percent) over the previous year, and also added 22 new churches for a total of 47,614 according to the convention’s Annual Church Profile (ACP) data. Giving also was up 2.6 percent over the previous year, to $11.8 billion.

Membership, though, declined a total of 409,454 members, from 14,089,947 in 2020 to 13,680,493 in 2021. Average weekly in-person attendance also declined, from 4,439,797 in 2020 to 3,607,530 in 2021 (an 18.75 percent decline).

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Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, told Baptist Press that: “We suspected the statistics from the 2020 ACP did not show the full impact of COVID-19 on attendance. Every year, we instruct congregations to calculate attendance averages for the weeks they meet in person. Churches that only met in person prior to the pandemic in 2020 would have reported average weekly attendance for those weeks. Many churches resumed meeting in person in 2021 and only then registered a pandemic-related drop in attendance”.

McConnell added it’s not palatable to document difficult seasons of ministry yet thanked God for his faithfulness always. “And these statistics continue to show the faithfulness and sacrifice of congregations during trying times”.

Adam Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said their churches across the landscape are still feeling the effects of COVID-19 with the fact that many people have not come back yet. He said some of them are staying online for a variety of reasons. “I think 2021 is a snapshot of the beginning of a post-COVID recovery, but certainly not the completion of that,” he said. “Hopefully, while we have time in 2022, we’ll take these numbers, and that will again motivate us and mobilize us to do better”.

SBC is the world’s largest Baptist denomination, and the largest Protestant and second-largest Christian denomination in the United States, smaller than the Roman Catholic Church, according to self-reported membership statistics

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