The good news is the BUA has a future. The bad news is if that future is more of the same then the Baptist are headed for long term, gradual decline in relation to the Australian population.
Here's a summary of the trends
- Baptist membership has been falling since 1992.
- The gap between membership and population growth has been widening since 1911.
- Church attendance has been growing since 2003 but the numbers may not be accurate.
- The number of churches is increasing.
- The gap between number of churches and population growth has been widening since 1911.
- Mainline Protestant churches are in serious decline which outweighs the growth in evangelical churches.
- The Australian population is growing at unexpectedly high levels and will continue to do so.
Conclusion: More of the same will result in steady long-term decline in relation to Australian population growth.
So what is to be done? Apart from a new logo I suggested we need to:
- Confront the evidence
- Keep returning to our evangelical heritage
- See our future through Great Commission eyes
- Release pioneering leadership
- Build a church planting movement
- Keep learning
- Exercise faith
If we do nothing, we’ll survive. It may take decades for the full impact of our inaction to bear fruit. There will be a long journey of gradual decline in relation to population growth. The denomination will probably still be around in 100 years time—unless Jesus returns.