NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Membership among Southern Baptists has fallen slightly for the sixth straight year.
The nation's largest Protestant denomination released in-house statistics Wednesday showing that total membership dropped 0.66 percent in 2012. The annual report prepared by the Southern Baptist Convention's Lifeway Christian Resources and reported by the Baptist Press news service says there were 105,000 fewer Baptists in 2012 than the year before.
Baptisms fell by 5.5 percent after a slight increase in 2011. That's considered a particularly important measure of growth for a denomination committed to evangelism.
The Southern Baptist Convention did add some 270 individual churches in 2012. And the Nashville-based denomination still has nearly 16 million members.
Southern Baptists are gathering next week in Houston for their annual meeting.