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  #1  
Old 06-25-2001, 02:59 PM
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How many independent Baptist churches and members are in the USA?

Does anyone have reliable statistics?
  #2  
Old 06-25-2001, 03:01 PM
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The BBFI reported 3,600 churches and 1,500,000 members in 1997.

What % of independent Baptists are included in that BBFI number?
  #3  
Old 06-25-2001, 07:44 PM
rlvaughn rlvaughn is offline
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There are no RELIABLE statistics for a total count of independent Baptists in the United States, although some have done excellent jobs estimating membership of independent fellowships like BBFI, etc. The chief problem is the enormous amount of churches that are completely independent of any denominational structure, totally unaffiliated with even the minimum amount of organization, not involved with any fellowship, and doing their missions work apart from any clearinghouse. Compiling data on these totally unaffiliated Baptist churches would be a good job for someone who is long on time and money, and short on gray matter.

Here's a suggestion for someone to jump on. Find all internet lists of churches claiming to be independent Baptist. Build a database with all these churches. Delete any duplications. Obtain directories of all independent Baptist associations and fellowships. Cross reference all the directories and delete any duplications in them. Then delete any duplications between from your revised directory list and your internet database. If possible obtain lists of participating churches from independent Baptist missions clearinghouses. Add to your database any churches not previously listed. Total these for the number of churches. From known statistics determine the average size of an independent Baptist church. Multiply the average size by the total number of churches for an estimated membership of independent Baptist churches.

Oh, my, I've got to quit talking like this or I'LL be doing it! At least I meet one of the three criteria - short on...
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  #4  
Old 07-03-2001, 12:35 PM
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There must be a better way
  #5  
Old 07-03-2001, 04:45 PM
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Vance Havner said about Southern Baptists, "We're many, but we ain't much."

The same could be said about Independents
  #6  
Old 07-03-2001, 08:29 PM
rlvaughn rlvaughn is offline
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I am doing a little research concerning the independent Baptist listings on the net. Some of the most prominent are:
The Welborn Directory
David Cloud's Directory of Independent Baptist Churches
Independent Baptist National Roll Call
Independent Baptist Church Locator
Independent Baptist Church Web Sites

Some problems with counting independent Baptists by these are (1) that there are many duplications on these lists; (2) that most of these lists are on the honor system [if you think you are an independent Baptist, you can put your church on the list]; and (3) that they are probably only a small sampling of all the totally unaffiliated Baptist churches in the USA [every list I have found is of conservative fundamentalist type independents; I wonder if there are liberal modernistic independent Baptists as well?]

On one of the Welborn list pages, there is a statement that there are over 3600 churches in the Welborn Directory. I do not have a count on any of the others. I have almost 1300 churches on my unaffiliated independent Landmark Baptist listing. Some of those churches are in the directories listed above, but probably less than 15%. None of the churches on my list are in the BBFI, FBF, WBF, etc. directories (not because there are no Landmarkers among them, but because I did not list churches from the Fellowship directories).

Mr. Mac Lynn of Brentwood, TN compiled a directory of the Churches of Christ in the United States. I intend to contact him and ask how he located all their autonomous independent churches. Perhaps he can shed some light on how to count independent Baptists.

[ July 04, 2001: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
 

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