The number of baptisms in Southern Baptist churches—considered a key measure of vitality and evangelism—dropped to its lowest level in a decade last year, the denomination has announced.
The announcement came as outgoing SBC president, Frank Page, author of a recent book, The Incredible Shrinking Church, said in a May 1 conference call to fellow pastors that resistance to change and succumbing to distractions could kill off more than half of the denomination’s 44,000 congregations by 2030.
The nation’s largest Protestant denomination has highlighted its need to increase baptisms in recent years, with special emphases at annual meetings and a nationwide tour by a past president. But data gathered by the convention’s LifeWay Christian Resources show that baptisms have declined for the third straight year.
Baptisms declined in 2007 by 5 percent to 345,941, compared to 364,826 in 2006.