Handwriting On The Wall – Do declining Baptisms signal the doom of the SBC?

“We must be honest and realistic – we are not waiting on God, God is waiting on us.” – Bobby WelchThe numbers are in.

Despite the bus tours, prayer meetings and impassioned pleas – our Southern Baptist Churches continued to decline in the all important baptism statistic.

Baptist Press is careful to balance this disappointment with a positive spin. Current SBC president Frank Page reflected positively on the “Everyone Can” initiative. But our former convention president Bobby Welch was pulling no punches. In his own words:

This year’s report of a decline in baptisms in the face of an all-out effort by so many sounds the most urgent cry Southern Baptists will ever hear, and it comes from the handwriting that is now on our wall -– and it is this: BACK TO THE FIELDS!

What is causing this decline? I have my own theories but I would like to hear from you. How should we as pastors and future church leaders respond to these trends?

Be sure to read the whole article Handwriting On The Wall by Bobby Welch at Baptist Press. There are several more quotes worthy of discussion. He remains certain that Southern Baptist can turn things around. But he warns us:

“Any and all distractions that take us off this course now are forcing the SBC beyond the point from which there is no return. Someone said to me, “I shudder to think where we would be this year in baptisms if we had not had such an all-out ‘sounding of the alarm’ as the ‘Everyone Can’ initiative over the last year did.” While that initiative did encourage a lot of people to do their best, it was still only an alarm. There must be a unified acceleration for Great Commission evangelism-discipleship convention-wide. We must be honest and realistic -– we are not waiting on God, God is waiting on us.”

This paragraph is certain to cause some discussion among more theologically oriented Southern Baptists. What do you think? How should we be ‘sounding the alarm’ in our churches?

Comments are open.

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– posted by Tony Kummer, April 17, 2007
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