The Lifeway Research Group recently released a report that predicted that the Southern Baptist Convention would be half it's size by 2050 should current number trends continue.
There are many theories on how to change this demographic, but essentially the biggest problem is that the SBC will age it's way into denominational obscurity. As the SBC core population ages, they will not resupply itself with younger generations.
This is not some horror tale of "whoa is Christianity if it doesn't change" but rather what I believe is a sign of what protestantism always has been and always will be: Adapt to the cultural climate or die...a Survival of the fittest if you will.
Where the SBC will most likely die because it bases it's dogma and ways around the time where the SBC was in it's glory days (it worked then, so that's the way it is meant to be), a new group will inevitably pop up that appeals more and adapts more to the culture around it in this day and age. And once that new organization becomes obsolete in "it's old ways" that are new ways according to today's standards, I am certain a new denomination or style of church will pop up in it's stead.
The question is, does the UPC have to worry about it's path the way the SBC has to or is the UPC exempt? I would argue that at the least the UPC is more exempt than the SBC from fear of such great decline simply because the UPC's belief system is so unique that it's appeal does not have to appeal to culture to survive, for it's survival is based on it's unique doctrine which cannot be matched by competing denominations of the Apostolic-Pentecostal truth.
Whereas the SBC has other baptist organizations as well as other denominational organizations where the core beliefs are similar to the SBC (and thus a threat), the UPC has minimal denominational competition, and thus does not have to worry about such threats.
For instance, the Amish will most likely be around a very long time because of it's unique belief system which does not put it in competition with other Christian denominations. While the Amish will not grow to exponential numbers because of it's unique beliefs, it is more built for the long-haul as compared to the SBC. This is all theory...thoughts?
Friday, September 11, 2009
Posted by Joel Riley at 10:32 AM