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美國南方浸信會報告了幾十年來最大的單年會員人數下降
2020/07/27 17:02:04瀏覽49|回應0|推薦0

 美國南方浸信會報告了幾十年來最大的單年會員人數下降

美國南方浸信會第十三屆年會是美國最大的浸信會教派。田納西州納什維爾(美聯社)-美國最大的新教教派比2018年減少了近2%。

南方浸信會週四公佈2019年會員人數,顯示會員人數減少超過28.7萬人。這使得他們的會員總數從2018年的1480萬下降到去年的1450萬。根據面值計算,這是它們連續第13年下跌,也是一個多世紀以來最大的單年跌幅。

美國杜克大學(Duke University)教授、全國會眾研究(national congressions Study)主任馬克•查維斯(Mark Chaves)說,南部浸信會正在經歷的衰落“與我們現在看到的國家趨勢一致,主要是由代溝差異造成的”。“年輕人比老年人更不可能參加宗教儀式和信教。這是事實。”

同一時期,該教派的洗禮次數也減少了1.1萬次,2019年共進行了235748次洗禮。洗禮是以納什維爾為基礎的教派的一個重要措施,因為它強烈致力於福音主義。南部浸信會執行委員會主席羅尼·佛洛德在一份聲明中說,“很明顯,變革勢在必行。。。我們必須把耶穌基督的福音傳給每個城鎮、每個城市、每個州和每個國家的每個人。”

佛洛德還批評了教會收集資料的方式,稱需要更迅速、更準確地收集資料。

他說:“我們不可能知道如何最好地滿足我們47500個教會的需要,因為我們只收到75%的教會所需的資料。”。

埃德·斯特澤在惠頓學院指導比利·格雷厄姆中心。他說,如果領導人能夠阻止“不斷的內訌正在趕走下一代領導人和有色人種領導人”,這可能有助於減緩成員數量的下降

近年來,該教派經歷了嚴重的動盪,一些年長、保守的領導人譴責他們所稱的年輕領導人中的自由主義傾向。今年早些時候,一些對教派的方向感到不安的人組成了一個新的組織,叫做保守派浸禮會網路。大約在同一時間,該教派的執行委員會說,它正在組建一個特別小組,審查由前總統唐納德·特朗普的批評者拉塞爾·摩爾領導的SBC公共政策部門的活動。委員會還要求該團體的年度牧師會議主席修改一個發言者名冊,其中包括非南方浸信會教徒和一名女教學牧師。南方浸信會不支持女牧師。

施泰澤曾主持SBC的年度教會報告。十多年前,當他第一次開始警告該教派的成員資格將逐年下降時,許多南方的浸信會成員否認了他的數字。一旦這種趨勢變得無可辯駁,他們就驚慌失措了。現在,他說,“我確實認為南方浸信會已經習慣了衰落。這不應該是正常的。這應該引起極大的關注和改變。”

Southern Baptists Report Biggest Single Year Membership Drop In Decades

2019 was the 13th straight year of decline for the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination.

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, is shown on a video screen as he addresses the denominations

Travis Loller

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The nation’s largest Protestant denomination is almost 2% smaller than it was in 2018.

The Southern Baptist Convention released its 2019 membership numbers on Thursday, showing a membership decline of more than 287,000. That brings their total membership down from 14.8 million in 2018 to 14.5 million last year. It was their 13th straight year of decline and the largest single year drop in more than a century, according to the denomination.

The decline the Southern Baptists are experiencing is “consistent with national trends we’ve been seeing for a while now, mainly driven by generational differences,” said Mark Chaves, a professor at Duke University and director of the National Congregations Study. ”Younger people are less likely than older people to attend religious services and to be religious. That’s true across the board.”

The denomination also reported a drop of more than 11,000 baptisms over the same period, with 235,748 performed in 2019. Baptisms are an important measure for the Nashville-based denomination because of its strong commitment to evangelism. 

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, is shown on a video screen as he addresses the denominations 

AP PHOTO/JAY REEVES

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, is shown on a video screen as he addresses the denomination’s annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday, June 13, 2019.

Southern Baptist Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd said in a statement that “it is clear that change is imperative. ... We have to prioritize reaching every person with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state, and every nation.”

Floyd also criticized the way church data is collected, saying it needs to be done more quickly and accurately.

“We cannot possibly know how best to meet the needs of our 47,500 churches when we only receive needed data from just 75 percent of them,” he said.

Ed Stetzer directs the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. He said it might help slow the membership decline if leaders were able to stop “the constant infighting that is driving away the next generation of leaders and leaders of color.”

The denomination has seen serious turmoil in recent years with some older, more conservative leaders denouncing what they claim is a liberal drift among younger leaders. Earlier this year some of those upset with the denomination’s direction formed a new group called the Conservative Baptist Network.

Delegates to the 2018 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention worship together in Dallas, Texas.

(RODGER MALLISON/FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM/TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Delegates to the 2018 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention worship together in Dallas, Texas.

Around the same time, the denomination’s executive committee said it was forming a task force to examine the activities of the the SBC’s public policy arm, led by Russell Moore, a past critic of President Donald Trump. The committee also demanded that the president of the group’s annual Pastor’s Conference make changes to a speaker’s roster that included non-Southern Baptists and a female teaching pastor. Southern Baptists do not endorse female pastors.

Stetzer formerly presided over the SBC’s annual church reporting. More than a decade ago, when he first started warning that the denomination’s membership was going to decline year after year, many Southern Baptists dismissed his numbers. Once the trend became irrefutable, they were alarmed. Now, he said, “I do think Southern Baptists are becoming used to decline. That should not be normal. It should be cause for great concern and change.”

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