I saw this news story today:
NASHVILLE, Tenn., 4/23/08 -- The number of people baptized in Southern Baptist churches fell for the third straight year in 2007 to the denomination’s lowest level since 1987. Although the SBC added 473 new churches and gave more than $1.3 billion to support mission activities around the world, there’s no escaping the disappointing fact that Southern Baptists are not reaching as many people for Christ as they once did, according to Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, which gathered the information on the denomination’s behalf…Read the rest of this press release here.
I don’t know if I have anything interesting to say on this subject and I’m sure I have nothing new to say. But I do want to get some thoughts out there. And thank you for reading.
I know that the SBC is not equal to the church. And I know that Jesus didn't say, "Upon this rock I will build my denomination." I also know that there are many good churches of other stripes, but this feels like a kick in the teeth. I’ll restate it. The churches of the SBC baptized fewer people for the third straight year.
Without getting into why I am a Southern Baptist or analyzing lots of potential problems (others will do a great job of that), here is what I see. The tragedy is that we are officially now losing the war for souls. More church members are reaching less people. Which means, simply put, more people will die and spend forever in hell.
I also know that the problem cannot be fixed on a national level or with better leaders. Nobody could do a better job calling for revival in evangelism than Frank Page or Bobby Welch. It must be fixed by individual Christians. Take this test.
- Do I know somebody who doesn’t know Jesus?
- Do I know somebody who doesn’t know Jesus that I haven’t witnessed to?
- Do I love this person?
If you answered yes to these questions, you are officially part of the reason for this news story. I have been deeply convicted lately that I don’t witness enough. And I wanted to share.
Feel free to comment.