Illinois Baptist 06 20 2016 E Edition Page 3

IBSA.org 3 June 20, 2016 THE TICKER facebook.com/illinoisBaptist twitter.com/illinoisBaptist pinterest.com/illinoisBaptist vimeo.com/IBSA www.IBSA.org www.ib2news.org Follow the latest Illinois Baptist news NEWS Nashville, Tenn. The Southern Baptist Con- vention added more churches in 2015, due mostly to church planting efforts. Churches also experienced an increase in total giving. However, according to the Annual Church Profile report compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources in cooperation with state conven- tions, other key measures declined, including membership, average worship attendance, baptisms, and missions giving. The number of churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention grew by 294 to 46,793, a 0.63% increase from 2014. This is the 17th year in a row the number of SBC churches has grown. While the number of SBC-related congre- gations increased, reported membership de- clined more than 200,000, down 1.32% to 15.3 million members. Average weekly wor- ship attendance declined by 1.72% to 5.6 mil- lion worshippers. Southern Baptists also experienced a de- cline in baptisms, down 3.3% to 295,212. Reported baptisms have fallen eight of the last 10 years. The ratio of baptisms to total members decreased to one baptism for every 52 members. God help us all! In a world that is desper- ate for the message of Christ, we continue to be less diligent in sharing the Good News, said Frank Page , SBC Executive Commit- tee President and CEO. May God forgive us and give us a new passion to reach this world for Christ. The ACP report shows many faithful Southern Baptists continue to worship, share the gospel, give generously, and live in com- munity with other believers, said LifeWay President and CEO Thom Rainer . We praise God for these efforts every year. While a decrease in baptisms is very disappointing, we don't take for granted 295,000 baptisms, he said. We should rejoice with each of those individuals who chose to follow Christ. An increase in the number of churches, aided by Southern Bap- tists' church planting efforts, is also some- thing to celebrate, Rainer said. People underestimate the importance of momentum, he said. It only takes a few people in each church, being intentional about sharing their faith, for some new mo- mentum to build. Southern Baptists increased giving in 2015. Total and undesignated church receipts re- ported through the ACP increased 3.51% and 4.64% respectively. Total missions expenditures declined by 2.03% to $1.2 billion, but the report shows four Baptist state conventions did not ask churches for this data-Alabama (for the first time), California, Georgia and Oklahoma. Great Commission Giving, which represents total giving to denominational causes, was down 3.81% to $613 million, with five state conventions not reporting that data-Ala- bama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Southern Baptists of Texas. Giving through Southern Baptists' Coop- erative Program (CP) mission initiative is not included in the ACP annual report. Those totals are more accurately available through Baptist state conventions and the SBC Execu- tive Committee, which processes the mission gifts. CP gifts forwarded from state conven- tions for SBC causes in fiscal year 2014-15 were 1.39% more than the previous year. CP gifts received by the SBC Executive Commit- tee for the first eight months of the 2015-16 year were reported to be 6.13% above the year-to-date budgeted projection. Individual congregations report statistics for the national ACP to their local associa- tions and/or state conventions. National to- tals are compiled and released after all coop- erating state conventions have reported. - By Carol Pipes of LifeWay, for Baptist Press sbc annual tally More churches, fewer baptisms Leesville, La. Margie Fulkerson returned in May to the Louisiana town where her husband, Don , died two months ago while serving as a Disaster Relief vol- unteer. He loved this kind of work and always wanted me to come with him, Margie told the Louisiana's Baptist Message newspaper. I wanted to finish this for him. Don Fulkerson suffered a heart attack March 29, while the couple was working with their Disaster Re- lief team from First Baptist Church, Galatia. The vol- unteers were in Louisiana to aid homeowners in the wake of spring flooding. When Margie returned to the state in May with a team from her church, she worked on the same home site where Don passed away. Since his death, the FBC Galatia team has collected donations to help purchase automated external defibrillators for Illinois Disaster Relief teams. In June, the group also won the grand prize at Gala- tia's Old Settlers Day Parade, with a grand marshal's truck decorated with a photo of Fulkerson and a sign in his memory. disaster relief Continuing Don's work

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