The PC USA and the SBC — Two histories, two futures

 Baptism: PC USA & SBC

Baptism: PC USA & SBC

The Presbyterian Church (USA)  has released a new hymn for its 223rd General Assembly meeting in St Louis, Missouri this week (June 16-23). The hymn is entitled “Draw the Welcome Circle Wider.” But statistics released ahead of the gathering reveal a denomination struggling to retain it’s aging, mostly white (91%), membership.

In 2017 the PCUSA lost 67,714 members and a net 147 congregations.

2017 was not an aberration, but a continuation of long-term decline that dates back to the 1960s and shows no sign of change. 

Issues to be discussed at the Assembly include:

  • Seeking God’s Peace Through Nuclear Disarmament
  • A call to the denomination to divest from investing in the fossil-fuel industry
  • The creation of an Advocacy Committee for LGBTQ+ Concerns
  • A number of anti-Israeli measures

In Dallas last week the Southern Baptists held their annual Convention amidst some controversy and some signs of decline. Membership was down for the 11th year in a row. Baptisms were down.

But Southern Baptist were still baptized a quarter of a million people in 2017. The number of SBC churches grew for the 19th year. More important than the membership, weekly attendance grew from 5.20 million to 5.32 million in 2017. Congregations gave over $1 billion to missions.

Compared to the PCUSA the Southern Baptists are doing ok. The question is Why?

Following & Fishing in Australia

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One of our team just trained the staff of a local church in sharing the gospel and making disciples.

In the room was a woman with thirty years experience of missionary and local church leadership. In all that time, she had never led anyone to Christ. That afternoon she shared the gospel and led someone to Christ. 

That's what happens when we train people who haven't given up on Christ's call to follow him, and his promise to teach them how to fish for people (Mark 1:17).

Michelle and I are back in Australia training and mobilizing God's people to share the gospel and make disciples.

If you want to attend or host a training, we'd like to hear from you.

Our next training is in Melbourne on July 14, 2018.

 

Religion in India

Five facts on religion in India from Pew Research:

  1. India’s massive population includes not only the vast majority of the world’s Hindus, but also the second-largest group of Muslims within a single country, behind only Indonesia. 
  2. India is a religiously pluralistic and multiethnic democracy – the largest in the world.
  3. Indians experience “high” levels of government restrictions on religion.
  4. India has high levels of religion-related social hostilities.
  5. Most Indians are concerned about religious tensions, but even larger shares are worried about several other national issues.

India is home to 1.4 billion people – almost one-sixth of the world’s population.

According to Pew Research, by 2050, India’s Muslim population will grow to 311 million, making it the largest Muslim population in the world.

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