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More than 4,400 churches represented at annual meeting

BP file photo

Top 10 states sending messengers to SBC23

NEW ORLEANS, La. (BP) – Registration and survey data following the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting indicates more than 4,400 churches were represented among the nearly 19,000 attendees in New Orleans.

In total, 4,423 churches sent 12,737 messengers, who formed the bulk of the 18,901 total attendees to the meeting. This marks participation by 9.4 percent of all churches in the convention. In 2019, only 3,428 churches were represented in Birmingham.

“It’s encouraging to see the number of churches involved in the annual meeting increase,” said Jonathan Howe, vice president for communications for the SBC Executive Committee.

“We are seeing a steady increase of the number of churches involved. Ultimately the more churches involved, the more representative the annual meeting becomes of our churches.”

Data was compiled from registration info and a survey sent to registrants that saw more than 2,000 responses. Other data includes a demographic breakdown of attendees.

Of those in attendance, 69.8 percent were male, and 30.2 percent were female.

The largest age group was those over the age of 60, with 31.7 percent. Attendees 50-59 were 22.4 percent, while those 40-49 were 21.7 percent, those 30-39 were 16.2 percent and those under 30 were 7.9 percent.

After three consecutive annual meetings with messengers from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, there were no messengers from North Dakota or Rhode Island this year.

More than half of attendees work on staff at a church (54 percent), while 21 percent are employed in a secular vocation and 12 percent are homemakers. Of those who work on a church staff, 63 percent serve as the senior pastor.

Only 2.6 percent of messengers to the annual meeting were employees of national SBC entities.

For just over 30 percent of attendees (30.2), this year’s gathering was their first SBC annual meeting, while 8.6 percent had attended more than 20.

The location of the host city proved to be a factor for travel as 66.8 percent of attendees drove to New Orleans, while just 32.7 percent flew into the Crescent City.

More than 81 percent of attendees made use of the SBC Annual Meeting app, and 85 percent of attendees plan to attend the 2024 SBC Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

Howe said this intended return rate points to the full picture of what the annual meeting can offer beyond the business, such as the exhibit hall, the Pastors’ Conference, various women’s events and multiple ethnic events.

“What that tells me is that people see value in not just the annual meeting itself, but everything that goes on around the annual meeting,” Howe said. “That is encouraging to us at the SBC Executive Committee as the convention planner, but also to those who are hosting events as well. There’s truly something for everyone during the annual meeting.”