Southern Baptist baptisms have dropped for the seventh year in a row, according to reports.
This year there were only about 310,300 baptisms, but findings also discovered that 80 percent of churches reported only one or zero baptisms among ages 18 to 29.
"The problem is even greater than these numbers indicate," a task force report from a group of pastors said. "Considering how the North American population has increased substantially between the 1950s' baptism peak and today, these figures indicate how much ground we have lost and are losing."
According to the report, there are five problems causing the baptism drop.
Spiritual: "Many of our SBC pastors and churches are not effectively engaged in sharing the gospel and yet continue business as usual. We need a sense of brokenness and repentance over the spiritual climate of our churches and our nation."
Leadership: "Many pastors have confessed to being overwhelmed in the operation and ministries of the church to the neglect of being involved in regular personal evangelism. This lack of leading by example is negatively impacting our church members' engagement in personal evangelism."
Discipleship: "Many pastors have confessed to focusing on attendance while giving little attention to reproducing fruit-bearing disciples who are involved in intentional evangelism."
The Next Generation: "Although our churches have increasingly provided programs for children, students and young adults, we are not being effective in winning and discipling the next generation to follow Christ."
Celebration: "Many of our churches have chosen to celebrate other things as a measure of their success rather than new believers following Christ in baptism. We have drifted into a loss of expectation."
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.