Only 11% of SBC churches ‘healthy, growing’
    January 26 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    When the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary joined forces to survey 1,000 “effective” or moderately effective churches last year, they defined “effective” using the criterion from Bill Day’s 2004 study of healthy, growing churches.

    Day is professor of evangelism and church health at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. One day he grew curious about the oft-quoted statistic that only 30 percent of Southern Baptist churches are growing.

    That finding came from church growth researcher Kirk Hadaway, who worked at what is now LifeWay Christian Resources 1986-91. Hadaway defined a growing church as one that increased 10 percent in total membership over five years and found that 30 percent of Southern Baptist churches fit.

    Using that definition, Day analyzed the list of current churches and found the 30 percent figure was still true.

    But 1,400 of the “growing” churches did not baptize a single person in the year of the study. That implies their growth was from transfers.

    So Day redefined his parameters. To be included a church had to have baptized at least one person in the first and last years of the 5-year period.

    Additionally, the church needed to have a member-to-baptism ratio of no more than 35-to-one and conversion growth needed to account for at least 25 percent of the church’s total growth.

    Day discovered only 11 percent of Southern Baptist Churches are “healthy, growing” churches by that definition. Day said the NAMB and Southwestern study on evangelistic outreach — to be released this spring — shows that “we need to be open to new ways of doing things, but we also need to realize some old ways of doing things still work today if we give them a chance.”

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    Only 11% of SBC churches ‘healthy, growing’
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    1/26/2010 5:46:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 7 comments

Sorry, I left out part of the email. So how many? This year? Last year? Five years? The problem is really Christians who aren't telling others about Jesus. It doesn't matter who surveys what.
2/3/2010 10:15:10 PM

Just a questions - how many people have we led to Christ?
2/3/2010 10:13:05 PM

Thomas Kiker
Good folks at Southwestern, not Southeastern according to the article at least.
1/28/2010 9:01:22 AM

Les Puryear
Bill Day's "study" sounds like a reintroduction of the old Leavell center study done back around 2000. Their ideas of church health were unrealistic and unbiblical and were completely rejected by the SBC at large. Based on their criterion, they rated the top 100 churches for 200-2002 and then the level of interest died. Today one cannot even find a copy of their study on the Leavell Center website. I would hope that the good folks at Southeastern would step back and take a good look at the history of these unrealistic criterion.

1/27/2010 12:13:52 PM

Les Puryear
The Leavell Center has established a set of criterion wholly based on a wordly view of the church rather than a biblical view of the church. I refer you to my blog post of January 4, 2010 entitled "The Church that is Pleasing to Man VS the Church that is Pleasing to God." You can read this post at We need to be careful to build churches that are pleasing to God instead of pleasing to men.
1/27/2010 11:57:52 AM

Gene Scarborough
This is a sad statistic. Many time when my church held a revival the first question by me was, "How many people are we going to invite who need saving?"

Too often we have become nothing more than a glorified social club which provides interesting outings for members using a convenient church bus.

I always viewed a Youth Retreat as an opportunity to do more than snow ski or sightsee. The program was designed to help young people examine their spiritual life. At the end was always an opportunity to make a commitment / recommitment to Christ.

If it is only a "fun outing" then why should the church and its money be involved? If it has a spiritual outcome possibility, then we are on the track of being what the church is supposed to be, in my opinion.
1/27/2010 10:12:36 AM

Darrel Davis
That sure is a wake up call!
1/26/2010 11:05:09 PM

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