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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Silent Exodus

The Florida Baptist Witness reports in it's May 1 issue that 16% of all “cooperating” Florida Baptist Churches did not bother to send in their ACP (Annual Church Profile) for 2007.

According to the Florida Baptist Convention these Non-reporting churches skew the ACP's lackluster results... “With 16 percent of their congregations not reporting, Florida Baptist churches overall recorded a decrease in baptisms, total members, as well as Sunday School attendance and enrollment in 2007, according to statistics compiled in the Annual Church Profile.”

“Baptisms reported by Florida churches decreased to 32,928 in 2007” thats 533 or 1.59% less than reported in 2006...

But let not your heart be troubled... all is well in Jacksonville... the Florida Baptist Convention under the leadership of Dr. John Sullivan is a healthy, vibrant, and growing missions organization... this “apparent” downturn can be explained... here is what Jacksonville is saying.

Warning – if “Spin” makes you sick then you need to set down.

Jacksonville's official line is “Skewing the statewide numbers are 387 Florida Baptist congregations or 16 percent – which did not provide ACP reports to their associations.”

Well I for one feel much better about the current health and future direction of the Florida Baptist Convention after hearing their excuse that 16% or 387 Florida Baptist Congregations did not send in their ACP. What does that say about the state of cooperation in the Florida Baptist Convention. As I have previously reported 25% of all Florida Baptist Churches gave $0 to the Cooperative Program in 2007 and now 16% will not even give their statistics to the convention.

But as I said all is well... no need to get worried that all the overbearing fundamentalism that has reared it's ugly head in Jacksonville this last year (Anti-Calvinism mailings and the narrowing of the parameters of cooperation to include only Baptist who hold to a total abstinence form alcohol conviction) is having a negative impact on the Florida Baptist Convention.

In response to 16% of the Florida Baptist Congregations not sending in their ACP last year the Florida Baptist Convention under the leadership of John Sullivan has decided that what is needed is to narrow the parameters of cooperation even more... Don Hepburn, director of the Convention's Public Relations Division says “This is why we have established a Florida Baptist State Convention bylaw that requires cooperating churches to provide a statistical summary.”

Did you get that all you “Autonomous” Florida Baptist Congregations? ... Send in your ACP or you are out of the convention!

I think the Florida Baptist Convention is about to get it's feelings hurt when they realize next year that many of these churches no longer care to cooperate with the Fundamentalist Baptist Convention of Florida... Without a split in the State Convention, without anyone leading a rebellion, without any great fan fair or press coverage... “a silent Exodus is taking place in the Florida Baptist Convention”.

Grace Always,

Greg Alford