Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There are more Baptists...

Other notes/reactions from this lecture series ⇐click

You've heard that there are more guns in Texas than there are people? Well, I heard that there are more Baptists in Georgia than there are people.

The story I heard is that the Southern Baptist Convention doesn't assess dues (or whatever) from its congregations based on population -- that is, there isn't a per-capita denominational "tax". So if a little church-house somewhere had 200 visitors in the past year, it could easily report its attendance as 200 -- even if the building can only hold 45.

Other denominations, in particular the PCUSA, levy a per-capita "tax" on their congregations. I don't know if this is members, average weekly attendance, or what. I heard that the PCUSA has the cleanest statistics among major mainline protestant denominations. (I wonder if the PCA does the same thing -- it wouldn't surprise me.)

This suggests that if you hear statistics about relative populations of various denominations in the US, you should take them with a grain of salt. Particularly if the number for Baptists seems a little high.

No comments: