NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ABP) -- Membership in the Southern Baptist Convention declined for the third consecutive year in 2009, according to statistics reported May 14 by LifeWay Christian Resources.
Southern Baptist churches reported total membership of 16,160,088 in 2009. That is 68,350 fewer than in 2008, a decline of 0.42 percent. The SBC lost 38,000 members between 2007 and 2008. In 2006 total membership was 16,306,246. .
A total of 45,010 Southern Baptist churches did manage to turn around a four-year decline in the number of baptisms. Last year baptisms totaled 349,727, an increase of 2.2 percent over the previous year.
Church offerings took a hit in 2009, declining $272 million from 2008. That included $24 million less in the amount that Southern Baptists gave to missions.