August 22, 2014
ALPHARETTA (BP) -- A task force designed to address declining baptisms among Southern Baptist churches released its full report today (May 12).

An urgent, immediate call for spiritual renewal and personal commitment to evangelism and discipleship are the common threads among five recommendations made by the Pastors' Task Force on Evangelistic Impact and Declining Baptisms. The national task force, aimed at addressing the continued decrease in baptisms among Southern Baptist churches, was convened last year by the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Most task force members are pastors. To read their full report click here.

"Southern Baptists' downward spiral in baptisms is the fruit of our spiritual lukewarmness," task force member Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., said. "I am greatly encouraged by the stirring I see among us toward spiritual awakening and the need for the resurgence of the Great Commission. This task force work and report gives me hope."

The group was formed, in part, because the 2012 Annual Church Profile (ACP) reported a drop of 5.52 percent in the number of baptisms in Southern Baptist churches, confirming a two-decade downward trend.

Al Gilbert, vice president for evangelism at NAMB facilitated the group's meetings. LifeWay Research president Ed Stetzer assisted the task force with research support.

"Recognition and ownership of the issue are keys to reversing the decline," Gilbert said.

The task force identified five key areas, described as problems, that pastors and churches must address to reverse the baptism decline:

Spiritual -- "With urgency, we must join together in fervent and effective prayer for spiritual awakening in our churches and our nation."

Leadership -- "As pastors we must intentionally model and prioritize personal evangelism while providing clear pathways for our congregations to follow." Read More
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