SBC membership tops 16 million

by Charles Willis, posted Friday, April 19, 2002 (20 years ago)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Membership in Southern Baptist churches set an all-time record in 2001 with a total of 16,052,920 persons, an increase of 92,612 over the previous year.

Total number of churches grew to 42,334, a 1.79 percent increase, or 746 churches more than the 2000 total of 41,588. At the same time, church-type missions operated by churches declined by 5.91 percent or 310 to a total of 4,933.

LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention compiles the Annual Church Profile from church reports routed through local Baptist associations and state conventions.

While membership grew -- though the increase of 0.58 percent was less than the gain of 108,552 or 0.68 percent in 2000 -- baptisms declined by 18,727 or 4.52 percent to a total of 395,930. The decline ends four years of baptisms totals above 400,000.

Music ministry enrollment/participation increased 3.29 percent or 54,442 to a total of 1,709,319. This followed a year of decline by 0.72 percent in 2000.

Sunday morning average worship attendance grew by 3.36 percent or 186,541 to 5,730,980.

Other increases were reported in total tithes, offerings and special gifts to $8,314,899,294 (6.68 percent above 2000), as well as undesignated receipts of $6,445,430,643 (7.77 percent above 2000). Total receipts increased by 5.90 percent to $8,935,013,659.

Sunday School enrollment declined 3,671 or 0.04 percent to a total of 8,182,744, following an increase of 0.48 percent in 2000.

Discipleship training enrollment/participation declined 6.24 percent, or 137,713 to a total of 2,070,714, following an 11.75 percent increase in 2000.

Other declines were registered in Woman's Missionary Union enrollment and Men/Boys Mission Education Enrollment. WMU enrollment declined 34,477 or 3.86 percent to a total of 857,680. Men/Boys Mission Education Enrollment dropped 13.29 percent or 64,773 to 422,637.

Total value of church property grew 13.83 percent to $28,686,588,811. This increase is due, in part, to reporting from more states in 2001 than those reporting in 2000.

(BP) chart posted in the BP Photo Library at Photo title: 2001 ANNUAL CHURCH PROFILE.

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