Southern Baptists opened their annual meeting last month with calls to turn around plummeting baptism rates, even as researchers warned that the nation’s largest Protestant body could lose half its size by mid-century.
“I really do believe that we need revival in the Southern Baptist Convention,” said SBC president Johnny Hunt, a pastor from Woodstock, Georgia. “I believe we need revival in the hearts of our leaders, starting with your president.”
Drawing particular attention at the June 23-24 meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, was a new report from the denomination’s LifeWay Research. The study concluded that SBC membership could drop by close to 50 percent by 2050 if the denomination doesn’t do more to reverse its image as an aging and mostly white religious body.