Southern Baptist Membership Declines

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HUMBOLDT, Tenn. — An annual report says the nationals largest Protestant denomination saw its membership decline for the 7th straight year in 2013. Pastor Greg McFadden at Humboldt First Baptist Church says programs like Vacation Bible School are just one of the ways the nearly 150-year church reaches out to the local community. “20 to 30 years ago, people that were actively involved in the local church probably attended 48 to 50 times a year,” said Pastor McFadden. He explained now an active church member attends nearly half that often. Southern Baptist pastors said the message they present has not changed, but how they reach out to the community has, especially with new residents moving into the community. “Their first search probably includes an internet search. Our web presence is something we take seriously,” said McFadden. McFadden explained although the new report shows membership and baptisms are down, attendance is steady. “The pool of folks is greater and it should be exciting to the church that maybe our best days are ahead of us,” explained McFadden. This report came out just before the annual Southern Baptist Conference held in June.

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