Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, have dipped to their lowest point in 60 years, according to a new report.
Last year, there were 332,321 baptisms in the church, which is 17,416 less than 2009, according to the report from Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources. There was only one baptism for every 48 Southern Baptists in the country in 2010. Sixty years ago, there one baptism per every 19 church members. In eight out of 10 years, the number of baptisms performed have declined.
Church attendance and Sunday school enrollment declined in 2010. Membership, currently 16.3-million, is down for the fourth year in a row.
Donations to missionary work are down too. The denomination’s International Mission Board received $145.6 million during its annual drive last year — almost $30 million shy of its goal. The number of missionaries, which was 5,656 in 2009, dropped to 5,000 last year.
Those are still mighty big numbers, though.