Baptist Leaders Discuss Membership Declines

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Southern Baptist leaders held their annual convention this week in Kentucky. One of the biggest challenges discussed was how to stop declines across their denomination.

The Southern Baptist convention is still America's largest Protestant denomination, but it has seen drops in membership, baptisms and finances.  The Baptists will also send 700 fewer missionaries overseas next year.

There are other signs of decline, according to Julia Dean, religion reporter for the Washington Times.

"They're down 38,000 people from 2007 to 2008," she said.  "Now they're still 16.2 million people, but of that 16.2 million only 6.1 million are in church.  And they realize, it's been fairly sparse.  Less than half of their reputed membership is in church and they know it's bad."

One Southern Baptist pastor at the convention said he hopes the discouraging news will drive churches closer to God and lead to a spiritual revival.

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