Why the Decline in the SBC

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Crabtownboy, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    What is behind the decline of the SBC?

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    Southern Baptist Decline by Martin E. Marty
    divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/...2012/0625.shtmlCached
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    25 Jun 2012 – The two “big kids on the block” of American denominationalism are making front-page and prime-time news this early summer in ways which ...
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    Southern Baptists see continued membership decline | Fox News
    www.foxnews.com/.../southern-baptists-see-continued-membership-d...Cached
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    13 Jun 2012 – The nation's largest Protestant denomination continues to see a decline in membership.
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    Nation's largest Protestant group faces 'decline' - USATODAY.com
    usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/.../2011-06-12-baptisms_11_ST_N.h...Cached
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    11 Jun 2011 – Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention began declining three years before this 2005 photo of Rev. Jim Cross of First Baptist Church in ...
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    SBC membership drops below 16 million - Associated Baptist Press
    abpnews.com/.../item/7520-sbc-membership-drops-below-16-millionCached
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    12 Jun 2012 – Membership in the Southern Baptist Convention declined for the fifth straight year in 2011, falling under 16 million for the first time since 2000, ...
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    RealClearReligion - Decline of the Southern Baptists
    www.realclearreligion.org/.../decline_of_the_southern_baptists_2483...Cached
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    13 Jun 2012 – Membership in the Southern Baptist Convention declined for the fifth straight year in 2011, falling under 16 million for the first time since 2000, ...
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    Stand Firm | Southern Baptists in Decline
    www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/28967Cached
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    18 Jun 2012 – One Southern Baptist and researcher lamented that the denomination is not only experiencing decline but an acceleration of decline.
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    Southern Baptist membership continues decline - The Washington ...
    www.washingtonpost.com/.../southern-baptist...decline/.../gJQAtfxea...
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    13 Jun 2012 – For the fifth year in a row, the Southern Baptist Convention has seen a drop in its total membership.
     
  2. humblethinker

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    Maybe due to a few or several factors. This topic should be discussed.
     
  3. saturneptune

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    The answer to a question like that comes from many complex situations, way beyond the space or time of this forum. There are two basic areas of problems, the attitude of the population not going to church, and the church itself.

    In relation to the populatioin itself, this is not a problem just for the SBC, but all denominations. We have become a nation much more self centered over that last several decades, and really do not want to be bothered. Many look at church as a baby sitting service or a place to entertain kids. Our love for each other has grown cold. We are so rivited on ourselves, we get impatient if in a McDonalds drive through line more than 2 minutes. When everyone has their eyes focused on themselves instead of the Lord, spiritual values decline.

    The local church itself is not without blame. The desire to see a church grow is gone. We major on fellowship and give no attention to outreach. We are more interested in pot lucks than lost souls. The older generations that once got out and shook up the neighborhoods rests on their laurels and are now coasting in a downward spiral. A church business meeting attracts people when there is a difference opinion about the color of the new carpet, not to discuss lost souls. Church is a place to meet friends and decide where to go out to eat instead of worship. Gossip is rampant while we worry about lottery tickets.

    This is very brief. Novels could be written on this subject alone.
     
  4. 12strings

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    Good answers from Saturn-Neptune.

    It should probably be said that most specific reasons given would also apply to nearly every other Christian denomination as well, not just the SBC:

    -Approximately 75% of the children raised in church leave by the end of high school, or in college, and don't come back. That's big in itself.
    -Less people in general go to ANY church.
    -The church itself lacks a sense of mission and outreach.
    -I myself would be willing to cut the older generation a bit of slack, because from some that I have talked to, they did used to go out and try to reach people, but are now physically unable to do so...and we younger people have not picked up the batton.
     
  5. saturneptune

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    Thanks for the comments. I would say this about the older generation. Some can get out and visit. If they are 75 now, were they visited at 55? Another problem that presents itself in many churches, is the lack of population from say 15-55 or so. I am 60 and considered a young person, a red flag in itself.
     
  6. Bob Alkire

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    I agree with the two of you(saturneptune and 12strings) for the most part. I believe there is enough blame to go around, many Baptist back in the 60' and 70' use to say look at the Methodist. We are going the same way as they and other groups have gone.
    The blame could be put on my generation wanting our kids to have it better than we had it and put more time in the secular values and wants over Christian values. We led our children a way with our attitude and they have led their children further away and so on. When I say away I meant attending church isn't as important if you have something else to do most of the time, they say they still believe and I'll believe them.
    Also we aren't as friendly as we use to be, for the most part many of us don't want people over and don't want to go over to someones home, it all about self to many. So I can say attitude has played a big part by individuals and churches as well as I see it.
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

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    And I actually pray that churches are much smaller in the next 20 years ... I am planning on it. This is the only way we can regain our integrity & effectiveness as proclaimers of the kingdom.
     
  8. Yeshua1

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    Could it be as simple as the SBC has to a degree forgotten their roots, and have to just go back to preaching and teaching the Bible and jesus as the saviour?

    say that, as people need real answers to real concerns, and the SBC might be finding out that the good old religion andprayers might be the ticket?
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    no it isn't.
     
  10. ktn4eg

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    I generally agree with what's already been posted on why the SBC shows a decline. There's enough blame to go around.

    While I don't want to derail this thread and jump in feet first by bringing up a subject from Revelation, but it does strike me as being quite accurate of today's average church--SBC or otherwise.

    What did JESUS (Rev. 1:11) say about the local church located in Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-19 [esp. Rev. 3:17-18])??!!??

    IMHO, 3:17 fairly well sums up the attitude and/or state of the vast majority of BC's in general as well as your "average" pew warmer" in most BC's today.

    I venture to say that on most any given Sunday, I think you'll find most male church members talking much more about Saturday's NCAA football game(s) than you will about reaching the lost. With the women, it'd probably be something about clothes or "the latest 'personal information about sister so-and-so' [which IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than 'gossip,' don't cha no!! :smilewinkgrin:], etc.

    Now, I'm not anti-sports or giving out receipes, etc., but I'd venture to say that in the so-called "average" BC, it's probably been months since you'll hear anything about the blessing(s) Bro/Sis X had in giving out the Gospel to their neighbors.

    Yep, Revelation 3:17 IMHO pretty well tells us why most BC's aren't making much true spiritual progress in these days.
    ----------------------------------

    "What ON EARTH are YOU doing FOR HEAVEN's sake??!!?? :sleep:

    ..........

    Well, what ARE you doing??!!?? :tear:
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    We have to remember that it is not the SBC in decline. Individual churches affiliated with the SBC are declining. The denomination is an easy target, but it's not the problem.
     
  12. timf

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    The problem may be that we have come to see Christianity as something that has to be run by an organizational system. Our work, schools, and government are all run this way. It is easy to see how we have come to expect this is the way to live the Christian life.

    Today when we read the New Testament, it is not uncommon to feel a disconnect with those described in the early church. Things like mutual exhortation and encouragement seem alien experiences.

    Early Christianity was hijacked. Christianity was declared a complicated system that only the most educated could unravel. The priest system produced rules and rituals for the masses. The reformation did not do much to restore participative or relational Christianity. We got mostly re-branded priests lecturing about arcane and and abstract theology.

    The real power of Christianity is seen in transformed lives. This is accomplished and experienced through relationships, ours with Christ and each other. Organizational systems are almost structurally antithetical to relationships. Organizational systems are about control, and subsequently emphasize the external such as works, activities, programs, events, and classes.

    In Ephesians we read the the purpose of church leadership is to help us grow into the full image of Christ. By this standard, it is difficult to think of any church that is a "success".

    If churches are not producing transformed lives, there seems to be no compelling reason to go to them. Seminaries seem to produce people who can declare finely tuned doctrinal positions, but seem less skilled in showing people how to be like Jesus.
     
  13. Jerome

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    http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/BPnews.asp?ID=38692

    "As churches have abandoned their teaching role over the past 20 years, knowledge of the Gospel has dimmed in Southern Baptist churches, [Seminary President Jeff Iorg] said"
     
  14. Bob Alkire

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    I agree with Jeff Iorg.
    Sunday night was either a sermon or a bible or doctrine study, Tuesday night was either a Bible or doctoral study if one of them were taught on Sunday Pm, Thursday night was either a Bible or doctrinal or church study if one had not been done earlier in the week. Wed. night was prayer meeting with either a sermon or Bible, doctrinal or church study. For the most part I don't see that today.
     
  15. Jerome

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    More from The Convention's own organ:

    http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/BPnews.asp?ID=39007

     
  16. Revmitchell

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    As has been mentioned this broad brush is inappropriate. Some individual churches are struggling but the Convention as a whole does not fit that description. Although I know the libs would love to paint it that way. Of course the conveniently forget the decline ti was in and the sad state of scriptural understanding it was suffering from at the time of the beginning of the CR.
     
  17. mont974x4

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    I think everyone has made some valid points.

    One thing to think about it is how people like to be apart of something. We see that as people get on bandwagons for politicians, for sports teams, and for movements. People want to see God working. When they see a church growing or reaching out to the community they want to be a part of it. When they see a church planting other churches and see God working through their efforts to change people they want to be involved. One of the local EFCA churches is a great example of this. The pastor preaches Christ-exalting expository sermons the tell people of a God who is still awe inspiring and working in the lives of people. As a church they have come alongside a small dying church in a rural community not far from here. They have sent a pastor to love them and lead them in reaching that area with the Gospel. They are helping to support it financially until it can be self-sufficient. They have asked the people to prayerfully consider gathering there to worship and minister to that community. It isn't about growing church A it's about trusting God and spreading the Gospel. People want to be apart of that kind of thing.
     
  18. michael-acts17:11

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    Our SBC church underwent a change that underpins what is wrong with the SBC. We had a teaching pastor who would expound on the Scriptures with intelligence & clarity. Due to ailing parents, he left us. We've had a new pastor for 1.5yrs who well represents modern pastorship. He focuses solely on topical sermons; choosing Scripture, even taking it out of context, to support the topic of his choosing. The entire church of over 2,000 is now on the same shallow Sunday School literature. Also, the church has now adopted the Holman Bible, which is an inferior translation. I still use the ESV, Geneva, or KJV in class, & have noted MANY times where the Holman is a poor translation. Like others, we are considering leaving the church to find one that still understands the necessity of expository teaching for the maturity of the saints. Many people are leaving the SBC because the churches are becoming Biblically shallow.
     
    #18 michael-acts17:11, Oct 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2012
  19. SolaSaint

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    But wait a minute. Didn't the 40 Days of Purpose taught and preached in tens of thousands of Baptist churches fill the pews to overflowing. Didn't it last past 40 days?

    Then again I would love to see a survey of the churches that followed the Saddleback or Willow Creek models and see how many departed the SBC. I guess that is off topic, sorry.
     
  20. drfuss

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    Baptists seem to think that the number of members is all important. The real question should be "Is the SBC church attendance also declining". A few years ago, there was a push for the SBC churches to update their bloated membership rolls and be more honest about their size.

    Our church has about 2000 in attendance (mostly members) and has a membership roll of about 6000. If we ever updated our membership rolls, our stated size would be reduced by about two thirds.

    Hopefully, maybe part of the decline is that some of the churches are updating their membership rolls to be more open about their actual size.
     

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