NASHVILLE (BP) – Southern Baptists experienced growth in the number of churches that cooperate with the SBC in 2016, according to the latest Annual Church Profile report (ACP).
However, other key measures declined in 2016, including membership, baptisms, average worship attendance and total giving, according to the ACP compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources in cooperation with Baptist state conventions.
The number of churches cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention grew by 479 to 47,272, a 1 percent increase over 2015. The number of Southern Baptist churches has increased the last 18 years. Southern Baptist churches also reported 4,492 church-type missions last year.
Although the number of cooperating Southern Baptist congregations grew, reported membership of those churches declined by 77,786, down 0.51 percent to 15.2 million members. Average weekly worship attendance declined 6.75 percent to 5.2 million worshippers.
Southern Baptist churches baptized 280,773 people in 2016, a 4.89 percent decline from the 295,212 reported in 2015. The ratio of baptisms to total members was one baptism for every 54 members.
Giving among Southern Baptists was down slightly in 2016. Undesignated church receipts increased 0.67 percent to $9.2 billion. However, total church receipts reported through the ACP decreased 0.73 percent to 11.5 billion.
Total missions expenditures also decreased 1.3 percent to $1.19 billion.
With the release of the total number of churches through the ACP report, the Executive Committee has calculated the average CP percentage from the convention’s cooperating churches for 2015–2016 as 5.16 percent, down 0.02 percent from last year’s 5.18 percent, according to Page. The states reported receiving a total of $475,212,293 in CP gifts in 2015–2016, of which $190,468,781, or 40.08 percent, was forwarded to the Executive Committee for distribution through the SBC Cooperative Program allocation budget.
The ACP is an annual statistical report churches voluntarily provide to their local Baptist associations and/or their state conventions. National totals are compiled and released after all cooperating state conventions have reported.