Remember Encyclopedia Brown? He was cool. Solving all those complicated cases with quick thinking. Maybe the Southern Baptist Convention should call Encyclopedia. You see, they’re missing 10 million members.
Of the SBC’s 16,287,494 members, only 6,024,289 show up on the average Sunday for their church’s primary service. That means only 37% of church members actually go to church. So if your church has 200 people on Sunday morning, you likely have 500 to 600 people on the membership roll. Yikes.
So where’d everybody go? Some are probably sick or out of town. Or perhaps they’re in the military or are elderly shut-ins. But that hardly accounts for 63% of a church’s membership not showing up. Where’d all the churchgoers go?
I suspect they went to a different church. My hunch is that the membership rolls aren’t kept up to date and they may be packed with people who long ago left the church or have since died. That might just account for 10 million missing church members, especially if they left one Southern Baptist church for another and were double counted.
I’m no Encyclopedia Brown, but if I’m right you really have to wonder about the point of those membership rolls. If more than half your list is bad data, you don’t have a very good list. That means 63% of every mailing is money down the drain.
And I could be wrong. But whatever the reason, somebody’s got to account for 10 million empty seats in pews across the country. Maybe we should call Encyclopedia Brown.