“The decline of 287,655 members is the largest single year drop in more than 100 years,” according to LifeWay Research, which compiles the SBC’s Annual Church Profile report with data provided by cooperating state conventions.
Baptisms dropped more than 4% –from 246,442 to 235,748 – during the same period.
“Other key metrics also declined,” LifeWay Research reported.
Those included average weekly worship attendance dropping to 5,250,230 and Sunday school or small group participation dropping to 3,236,196. Together that represents a decrease of just under 1 %.
While the number of SBC churches rose to 47,530,up by 47 from 2018,the number of church-type missions dropped by 477. That brought the overall number of congregations down to 51,138 last year.
The statistics revealed some increases, including a rise in baptisms reported by state conventions in the West, Midwest, Northwest and Puerto Rico.
Congregations in Hawaii, Iowa and Michigan reported membership increases of more than 20 percent. Kentucky reported the largest growth with an additional 42,315 members.