Southern Baptists Struggling to Attract Younger Generations, Says New Report
The Evangelicals are having a problem recruiting among my generation:
A report released by the Southern Baptist Commission this week suggests that the country’s largest denomination outside of the Roman Catholic Church is struggling to bring in new members from the Millennials and younger age group demographic.
It appears to be an existential crises for the future of the denomination:
According to the Pastors’ Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms, 25 percent of Southern Baptist churches baptized no new members in 2012, while 60 percent reported no baptisms for youth between the ages of 12 and 17. Also indicative of the denomination’s struggle to attract Millennials were the 80 percent of churches which reported baptizing one or zero adults between 18 and 29.
Ed Stetzer, the President of the Southern Baptist-linked Lifeway Research, who worked on the team headed by Al Gilbert, the Vice President of Evangelism at the North American Mission Board which created the report, suggested the denomination had not focused enough on intentionally reaching non-Christians.
Interestingly - they do not seem to understand the driving issues of this problem:
To remedy these issues and the declining numbers the task force made five suggestions: praying for spiritual awakening, pastoral modeling of personal evangelism, creating a disciple-making culture in churches which lead church members to share the gospel themselves, equipping parents and church leaders to more effectively teach youth, and more robustly celebrating baptism.
No mention of a more liberal, pro SSM, generation as the cause, yet the polls seem to show that as exactly the reason:
The poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 44 percent - nearly half - of young evangelicals between the ages of 18 to 29 favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
Nearly half that generation is outside the evangelical tent on that issue.
By contrast, the white evangelical community as a whole, even counting those relatively liberal young adults, is solidly opposed to same sex marriage, by slightly more than 80 percent.
64 percent of those polled agreed “it is inevitable that same-sex marriage will become legal throughout the United States.”
“80 percent of Americans disagree that employers should be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on their sexual preference.”
58 percent of respondents agreed with the question: “like age, race, and gender, homosexuality is a civil rights issue.”
A majority of Americans believe rental halls and landlords should not be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples.
“More Americans do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin than those who believe it is a sin.”
The poll also found that women, young people and people with college degrees were more likely to favor gay rights.
Overall, the 2012 exit polls, which were conducted in 31 states, showed 49 percent supporting same-sex marriage in their states and 46 percent opposing it.
The pollsters found that opposition centered primarily in a few demographic groups.
Voters age 65 and older expressed opposition to allowing such unions in their states by a 21-point margin, with 37 percent supporting them and 58 percent opposing. Those younger than 65 favored them by eight points, 52 percent to 44 percent.
The disparity was even greater among religious groups, broken down along racial lines. White evangelical Christians opposed same-sex marriage by nearly 3 to 1. But every non-evangelical group — other white Protestants, white Catholics, Hispanic Catholics, African American non-evangelicals and Jewish voters — expressed support for such unions by double-digit margins.
that split carves deeply into even the white evangelical community, the most socially conservative major group on the American religious landscape.