The new President of the Southern Baptist Convention recognizes something must be done. Membership of the largest Protestant denomination has been falling for about a decade. Baptisms are down as well as conversions. The denomination starts new churches but others close.
The President says he is appointing a blue ribbon task force to look into what can be done to reverse this downward trend. The review of his speech to the convention being held this week quoted a lot about each Southern Baptist being a preacher for the faith.
I read the article carefully looking to see where the President thinks there is potential to recruit others to become Southern Baptists. Is it among young people who are skeptical of the faith’s condemnation of homosexuality? Is it among people who read on the internet articles by skeptics? Or, is it among people who have always been skeptical of miracles and can be convinced these miracles actually happened? He didn’t hint it was any of these.
He provided a hint at where Southern Baptists might find converts. He pointed out that Southern Baptists do not need an intermediary to talk to Jesus. Instead, they can talk to Jesus directly. He thinks Southern Baptists can recruit Catholics. What other branch of the faith puts clergy between the believer and his/her god?
According to data gathered by independent organizations, six Catholics leave the faith for other branches for each one who leaves other branches to become Catholic. Southern Baptists see opportunity there.