by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has lost more than one million members in the past three years, Christianity Today reports. The loss of membership in the largest Protestant denomination in the US coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic but follows over 10 years of prior decline.
The Annual Church Profile said in its report published Thursday that SBC membership first dropped from its highest figure of 16.3 million in 2006 to 14.8 million in 2018, CT said. Membership of SBC then dropped to 13.7 million in 2021, its lowest figure in 40 years, CT said.
However, despite the decline in membership, SBC churches received $11.8 billion in giving last year, CT reports.
“I think 2021 is a snapshot of the beginning of a post-COVID recovery, but certainly not the completion of that, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Adam Greenway told CT. “Hopefully while we have time in 2022, we’ll take these numbers and that will again motivate us and mobilize us to do better.”
The Annual Church Profile also reported 1.4 million Southern Baptists currently watch worship services online every week. “In some ways, our churches across the landscape have still been feeling the effects of COVID-19 and people who have not come back yet. They’re staying online for a variety of reasons,” Greenway said.
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