The Southern Baptist Convention reported a continued decline in membership in 2022, even as the total number of baptisms increased.
Total membership reported by SBC-affiliated churches for 2022 was 13,223,122, a decline of more than 457,000 members from 2021. This continues a yearly decline in people who are members of SBC churches that began in 2016 when there were more than 16.3 million members.
SBC churches in Texas reported the highest total membership (2,448,478), followed by Georgia (1,157,168) and North Carolina (1,029,680). No other states reported membership totals over 1 million.
Despite the overall decline, the total number of baptisms increased by 25,476 to 180,177, which is the first time there has been an increase since 2011.
SBC churches in Florida reported the highest number of baptisms (22,015), followed by Texas (20,540), Tennessee (15,975), Georgia (15,021) and North Carolina (11,325). No other state reported more than 10,000 baptisms in 2022.
In addition, SBC churches reported a collective in-person worship attendance average of 3,804,490 in 2022, an increase of nearly 200,000 from 2021 and the first increase since 2017.
Texas had the highest weekly worship attendance average (438,865), followed by Georgia (378,520), Florida (362,808), North Carolina (310,722) Tennessee (262,249) and Alabama (207,232). No other state had a total average monthly worship attendance above 200,000.
“Much of the downward movement we are seeing in membership reflects people who stopped participating in an individual congregation years ago and the record keeping is finally catching up,” said Scott McConnell, executive director Lifeway Research, in a press release.
“Membership totals for a congregation immediately reflect additions as well as subtractions due to death or someone removing themselves from membership,” he said. “But many congregations are slow to remove others who no longer are participating.”