Southern Baptists see drop in members, baptisms

By The Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — The Southern Baptist Convention baptized fewer people in 2010 than any time since the 1950s.

The nation’s largest Protestant denomination also saw declines in overall membership and attendance.

Emory University’s Baptist Studies Director David W. Key Sr., who is a Southern Baptist, said the decline reflects the fact that the membership of many Southern Baptist churches is aging.

At the SBC annual meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday, delegates are considering a resolution that aims to help diversify the denomination.

Key said that is a good idea for countering the decline, but it remains to be seen whether it can be implemented effectively.

The delegates will also decide whether to elect the first African-American to serve as first vice president of the SBC.