By Lane Corley, LBC’s Church Planter, Mission & Life Strategists in SE Louisiana
The 2016 ACP (Annual Church Profile) Reports are in for Louisiana.
The Annual Church Profile is collected by State Convention Communication and Information Services Departments and tallied together nationally by Lifeway. Our Information Services Department works hard to gather the data, even from churches that do not turn in the form, by calling them and asking for what data can be gathered over the phone.
Most Associations do a good job helping churches see the importance. It is valuable for us to see how we are doing together and for our strategists to have good data as we plan church planting and missions efforts nationally.
It also gets our state included in national data collection.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
Here are a few highlights that I found interesting from this year’s ACP Reports:
–86% or 1,376 Louisiana Baptist Churches reported. So, that means 248 churches did not report.
–Total Worship Attendance for 2016 in Louisiana was 165,228. Which is 3.5% of Louisiana’s total population of 4,670,724.
–Total Resident Membership for 2016 was 357,631. Which is 7.7% of Louisiana’s total population.
–Total Baptisms reported – 10,214. The numbers are down almost 900 from the previous year. Baptisms declined in every age group, but most drastically among children and youth.
–Worship Attendance is down 8% since 2012.
–791 or 57% of Louisiana congregations are 150 in Resident Membership
–449 or 33% are between 150 and 499 in Resident Membership
–136 or 10% are over 500 in Resident Membership.
–Out of 1,376 reporting congregations, 498 or 36% reported a decline in attendance from 2015-2016. 331 or 24% showed a decline of 10% or more.
–551 or 40% reported a decline in Small Group Attendance. 25% had a decline of 10% or more. 656 out of 1,376 or 48% reported a decline over the last 10 years.
–Small Group Attendance is at an all-time low in Louisiana, dropping below 100,000 only the 2nd time in reported history.
–No congregation had showed a decline every year in the last 10 years.
A FEW TAKEAWAYS:
A decline continues to be noted in attendance and membership.
The decline is not a doomsday 80% of churches that we hear sometimes. Thirty-six percent of churches, not 80% declined since last year. And NO CHURCH showed a decline every year in the last 10 years.
Small Group attendance figures are alarming. Small Group attendance has dropped drastically for Southern Baptist in Louisiana. Part of this is probably due to programming issues. More churches doing two worship services, etc.
But knowing how much great face to face discipleship happens in small groups, it grieves me to see these figures dropping so drastically.
Noted decline among children and youth baptisms continue in Louisiana. In the 1990’s Louisiana Baptist were baptizing 5,000+ children and 4,000+ youth every year. This year only 2,597 children and 1,896 youth baptisms were reported. We need to pray for the next generation.