SBC Loses 435,000 Members in 2020 in Historic Drop

The Southern Baptist Convention membership continues to plummet according to the Annual Church Profile (ACP) report, with the denomination suffering a record loss of nearly half a million members in 2020.

Though the loss of these congregants dips their total amount of members to 14 million, down from a peak of 16.3 million in 2006, it is in fact nowhere near an accurate number of real Southern Baptist members.

SBC membership rolls are notoriously inaccurate and inflated, with purging the rolls viewed as thoroughly distasteful and far too humbling a task for most. Realistically the SBC would be lucky to have even 5 million members that could be found on any given Sunday.

The report further notes that “Southern Baptist churches also experienced a decline in worship attendance in 2020. Average weekly worship attendance declined by 15.44% percent to 4.4 million in-person worshippers.”

This is a far more accurate baseline of how many members they actually have.

Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, declares that COVID-19 and the mass church closures definitely had something to with the losses, noting that as Pastors reconnected with people after being shut down or online for so long, they “discovered some on their membership lists who moved away, joined another church, or no longer wanted to be a member.”

With bad news across the board, the only thing that did grow appears to have been “multisite congregations” who added 529 campuses.

Baptisms were also cut in half, from 235,748 in 2019 to 123,160 in 2020, with McConnel explaining that “socially distant behavior is helpful for containing a pandemic, but it hindered meeting new people, inviting people to church, and helping them take a step of obedience to be baptized,” 



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6 thoughts on “SBC Loses 435,000 Members in 2020 in Historic Drop

  1. More proof of ‘Go Woke, Go Broke’!

    It couldn’t happen to more deserving unrepentant, unregenerate heathen Liberals.

  2. The whole notion of denominations is already on very shaky ground from a Scriptural point of view, and that’s the only point of view that matters.

    I think nearly half a million is a good start, but 10 times that amount would be better. Being Southern Baptist is necessary to Salvation, so why would any Christian want to be associated with a bunch of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing who think it was a sin to vote for Donald Trump and who seriously think Cultural Marxism is a suitable accompaniment to the Gospel?

    More SBC churches need to resign from the convention. Paul warned about this sort of thing in pretty much every one of his letters.

  3. In another denomination I was a part of for a while they had an initiative nationwide to clean up their rolls. The national office told the congregations that if their rolls were more than two or two and half times the ASA they had to find all these people, find out why they don’t attend church, and clean the rolls up. If the ASA is 4 million there should be about 10 million members. Anything higher probably includes a bunch of people who are dead, or moved, or are members of churches somewhere else, or dropped out of church.

    The congregation I was in had 1500 members on the roll, but an ASA of 300. Their bishop said to get their roll down to less than 1000 or get more ASA in the pews; a membership list five times the ASA is not acceptable. Thus began a two year campaign of calling and letter writing to the last known contact information of hundreds of people, drafting Sunday school teachers, choir members and anyone who might know the whereabouts of missing church members; scanning obituaries and funeral services, weddings, anything else that might indicate what happened to these people. They were able to find the first half of the missing members in the first 6 months. Then it was an 18 month slog to try to find the other half, most of them names no one had ever heard of.

    I think the Covid numbers really mess the numbers up for last year, so not sure if we know how accurate these are.

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