Last month, Southern Baptists reported its seventh straight year of declining numbers. Yet, even as the largest American Protestant denomination, along with many other Mainline denominations, continue to lose members, the charismatic Assembles of God has experienced its 24th year of attendance growth in the United States.
The Pentecostal denomination, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, reported an uptick of just over 30,000 in attendance from 2012 to 2013, bringing their total number of adherents to 3.1 million, up from 3.09 million.
According to reports from the AG National Leadership & Resource Center, in 2013 in the United States, 137,373 "water baptisms" and 83,731 "Holy Spirit baptisms" were recorded. These numbers were up from 131,713 and 81,345 respectively. The 2013 figure surpassed the previously highest number of "water baptisms," which was recorded as 131,935. "Holy Spirit Baptisms," on the other hand, were within several thousand of the past five years and roughly 2,000 more than 2012 figures. (The AG defines "Holy Spirit Baptisms" as when an individual speaks in tongues.) more >>
Pastor Ronnie Floyd, who was elected as the Southern Baptist Convention's new president during the denomination's annual meeting held in Baltimore this week, has been instrumental in encouraging members to take a leadership role in addressing an array of mental health concerns.
Last year, Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, spoke boldly and passionately at the convention about passing a resolution on "Mental Health Concerns and the Heart of God," and the need for Southern Baptist churches to care for and bring healing to all who feel isolated and stigmatized by mental health concerns.
"We can no longer be silent about this issue," Floyd said on the convention floor in Houston on June 11, 2013. "It's time that the SBC be on the front lines of mental health challenges." more >>
More than 6,000 representatives of churches within the Southern Baptist Convention, known as messengers, are expected to address the major issues facing the nation's largest Protestant denomination, including reaching more people with the Gospel, during its two-day annual meeting in Baltimore beginning Tuesday.
SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page plans to issue a challenge to Southern Baptists to "do more" to reach the world with the Gospel, according to SBC Life, the executive committee's journal website. Page is scheduled to talk about the Great Commission Advance on the first day of the conference, C. Ashley Clayton, EC vice president for Cooperative Program and stewardship, told SBC Life.
"In its most condensed and basic form, Great Commission Advance calls for Southern Baptists to simply 'do more,'" Clayton said. Page is calling on members to participate more in missions at the local, state, national, and international levels. more >>
BALTIMORE, Md. – Ronnie Floyd, one of three Southern Baptist Convention presidential nominees and pastor of an Arkansas church, on Sunday blamed the denomination's declining number of baptisms on "cool" pastors who are more concerned with keeping up with popular culture than having a singular focus on glorifying God.
"Some of us have a heart to be so real with people that we just think if we're cool enough, we're going to get [the numbers]," said Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. "We're never going to be cool enough to win our towns, our rural settings, to win our cities, to win the nation, to win the world, to win the nations. We're never going to be cool enough; the only thing that's going to bring that is a binding movement of the spirit of God that comes only when we are going up to be with God."
Speaking on the first night of the 2014 SBC Pastors' Conference, Floyd urged Southern Baptist pastors to re-adjust their motives in ministry and revealed several statistics showing a number of churches are struggling to evangelize the next generation's unchurched. more >>
An online petition about the United Methodist Church has called for the denomination to allow local congregations to determine their stance on homosexuality.
Titled "A Way Forward," as of last Saturday the petition calling for individual churches to decide whether or not to consider homosexuality wrong has garnered over 1,600 signatories. "By moving the decision-making regarding homosexuality to the local church, we hope to end the rancor, animosity and endless debate that divide our denomination every four years at General Conference," stated the petition.
"What we propose would allow conservative, centrist and progressive churches to come to their own conclusions regarding this important issue and to focus on how best to minister in their own communities." more >>
The article published Monday, June 2, 2014 stated that First Presbyterian Church of Oostburg will pay the $500,000 fee demanded by the Presbytery of Milwaukee. A spokesman of First Presbyterian told The Christian Post on Tuesday that the congregation does not plan to pay the fee.
A Wisconsin congregation ending its affiliation with Presbyterian Church (USA) does not plan to pay the mainline denomination a half-million dollars asked for its church property as previously reported in this article (see Correction Appended above). more >>