Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Healthy and Growing Church???

I subscribe to the Baptist Press mailing list which provides daily articles of the SBC news and ministries. The Thursday's edition First-Person article contained a section that really caught my eye and made me sorrowful at the same time. (You can read the entire article by clicking the link above.) The title of the article was "Making Evangelism Good News Again." The auther states a sad statistic of today's SBC church here in America;

"Meanwhile, from 1991-2004 the number of unchurched adults in America rose from 39 million to 79 million. And we are doing worse with young people, with 39 percent of Southern Baptist churches in 2005 reporting baptizing no teens. Really now, can there be any bigger problem that we face than this?"

This is a quote from the article that really caught my eye....

"A study by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health showed that only 11 percent of SBC churches are healthy and growing (The stat used a formula with four main components: a healthy and growing church must have an increase of church membership of 10 percent over five years; at least one baptism each year for the past five years; a total membership-to-baptism ratio of no more than 35 to one, and at least 25 percent of the additions each year coming from conversions.) Too many churches reach few if any people other than their own children or those from other churches."

Let's review the four main components to understand what they define as a "healthy and growing" church;
  1. Increase of church membership of 10% over five years. A church of 100 members would need to grow by 10 members within five years, or an average of 2 members each year. This is a sign of a healthy and growing church???
  2. At least one baptism each year for the past five years - only one new convert per year???
  3. A total membership-to-baptism ratio of no more than 35 to 1 - out of 35 church members, only one new convert must be won to the Lord and baptized. Doesn't this reflect the sad state of the individual soul-winning efforts of the typical church member of the day??? "It's not my job, that is what the preacher is suppose to be doing."
  4. At least 25% of the additions each year coming from conversions - if four new members are added to the church role, one is a new convert, but three are people leaving one other church to join this church???

Think of those components that defines a healthy and growing church, and think of the statement that was made that only 11% of the SBC churches meet the criteria to be called a "healthy and growing" church. Basically only one of ten SBC churches met that criteria..... How sad!!!!!

I think of the early church age as described in Acts and the rest of the NT; you think they would have had any problems meeting the criteria as set up to be called a "healthy and growing" church??? I think of the great revivals here in America during the 1700 and 1800's; you think they had "healthy and growing" churches during that period???

What is even sadder is thinking of how today's independent, fundamental Baptist churches, of which I am a member, would fare if the same criteria was used to see if they were "healthy and growing." Any guess of what percentage would be found "healthy and growing" if we used this same criteria?

Are you helping your church to be "healthy and growing?"



Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do you bash the body of Jesus, just another reason I do not like your so called baptist faith

11:03 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


Are you encouraged about the definition of a "healthy and growing" church as posted??? And then the fact that only 1 out of 10 are labeled as such???

Again, I am saddened about how we, the church of 2007, stack up against the church in the days of Acts.

And as the last line challenged in the post, how are you working in order to make the church which you are a member be "healthy and growing."

Please tell me???

6:09 PM  

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