Editor’s Note: The final numbers for Tennessee Baptist Convention churches differ slightly from the numbers reported by LifeWay due to their earlier reporting deadline.
Compiled by Baptist and Reflector
NASHVILLE — Southern Baptist congregations saw an increase of more than $82 million in overall giving in 2018, according to the latest Annual Church Profile (ACP) report. However, other key metrics declined slightly in 2018, including baptisms, membership, average worship attendance and total number of Southern Baptist churches.
The number of churches cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention declined by 88 to 47,456 or 0.19 percent. Southern Baptists also reported 4,085 church-type missions last year, a decline of 291 or 6.65 percent. The number of churches and missions combined is 51,541 congregations. The ACP is compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources in cooperation with Baptist state conventions.
“Part of the Annual Church Profile process is for associations and state conventions to connect with each congregation and to confirm they still exist and are cooperating together in ministry,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “This year several states put extra effort into identifying and confirming cooperating churches, revealing the decrease in the number of congregations.”
The Tennessee Baptist Convention saw slight declines in baptisms (19,079 compared to 20,409 in 2017); number of churches (3,058 compared to 3,199) and total membership (987,820 compared to 1,008,930).
The TBC, however, still ranked third among states in number of baptisms, trailing only Texas and Florida.
Both overall giving and mission expenditures increased in Tennessee Baptist churches in 2018 with $824,630,376 in total giving and mission expenditures of $105,418,563.
“While some of these numbers are disappointing, we are encouraged about the increase in our Cooperative Program giving,” said Roc Collins, director of strategic relationships for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
“In order to get a complete picture of our churches it is imperative that we receive an ACP from every church. A good percentage of our churches are reporting but we are not getting 100 percent participation. Until we can get 100% of our churches reporting we will have an incomplete picture of how effective or ineffective we are functioning as cooperating churches,” he continued.
“The revelation of these numbers tell us that we need to re-up our efforts, especially in the area of evangelism,” Collins added.