“It’s time to come home as Southern Baptists. We got guys all over the country this week doing all kinds of stuff. We need them here. We’re family. If you give to the Cooperative Program you ought to come check on your investment. If you give $20,000 or $200,000 or more, you ought to be here to check on your investment. And, we ought to come to together to celebrate what God is doing. To me, the Southern Baptist Convention meeting needs to become a celebration experience of what we’re doing together to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.”
Ronnie Floyd, president
Southern Baptist Convention
Have you ever wondered if there is a single place you can go to find out what your church’s Cooperative Program gifts have accomplished through the SBC missions and ministries you believe in and support?
There is. It is called the Southern Baptist Convention Book of Reports (BOR).
SBC Bylaws 5, 6, and 26 stipulate that all entities shall give written reports to the messengers in the Book of Reports, that these reports shall be gathered into an Annual, and that this Annual shall be published as soon as possible after the annual meeting and made available to all pastors and denominational leaders.
Statistical snapshots reported by each SBC entity and several of their subsidiary entities are highlighted below. These are presented for two reasons.
One, Southern Baptists have a right and a duty to be informed about the collaborative work taking place through their ministry entities.
Two, the entities take time, effort, and energy to provide transparency about the successes and challenges of their respective ministries by preparing these reports. SBC LIFE hopes these summaries will encourage you to open the Book of Reports, read it, and become a more fully informed pastor and leader.
Each registered messenger to the SBC annual meeting receives a printed copy of the Book of Reports. A PDF file is posted on the SBC annual meeting app. Each BOR is archived in its corresponding year’s SBC Annual.
The 2015 Book of Reports, referenced in this review, has been archived in the 2015 SBC Annual and is currently accessible at SBCEC.org/bor/2015. Since 2007, the Annuals have been posted as searchable PDF documents at the SBC Executive Committee site. The Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, a ministry of the six seminaries, posts all SBC Annuals since 1845 on its site, SBHLA.org/sbc_annuals.
- The information on this page is excerpted from the 2015 SBC Book of Reports, pages 4–145.
- The 2015 Book of Reports is archived in the 2015 SBC Annual, where these reports can be found on pages 132–271.
- The 2015 SBC Annual can be accessed at SBCEC.org/bor/2015/. Print editions are available on request.
The SBC Executive Committee receipted and disbursed $186,576,610.63 in Cooperative Program allocation funds and $194,678,166.09 in Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, Global Hunger Relief, and other designated gifts received from cooperating state Baptist conventions and through direct gifts for a total of $381,245,776.72 for SBC causes.
The Southern Baptist Foundation distributed more than $44 million to help fund Kingdom ministries last year and consulted with 476 families in estate planning, with anticipated return of more than $62 million in future gifts for Baptist causes.
GuideStone reported 9,639 active churches with a total of 51,488 active member participants and 415 agencies and institutions with a total of 38,056 employees in its retirement plans, while 1,816 individuals or couples received Mission:Dignity grants.
International Mission Board personnel engaged 863 people groups and strategically engaged 233 urban centers with 190,957 recorded baptisms and 13,824 new churches as a direct result of their work.
Overseas human needs ministries recorded 297 projects in 53 countries, with 3,246 communities helped through development projects and 1,113 communities touched through disaster relief projects.
Using SBC Global Hunger Relief funds, 212,000 received food assistance, 124,000 received help with needs for clean water, and 127,478 people were provided with training in the areas of agriculture, health care, community development, and other skills, with a total of 1.4 million people helped.
LifeWay reported that 400,000 groups use LifeWay curriculum materials and that 186 LifeWay Christian Stores in 29 states served almost 2.7 million customers with over 8 million transactions nationwide and internationally.
LifeWay Stores partnered with Southern Baptists and the International Mission Board to send 200,000 Bibles to South Asia and 126,000 Bibles to Central America.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief reported 295 professions of faith, 1,154 Gospel presentations, 3,594 chaplaincy contacts, 7,929 ministry contacts, 25,261 volunteer days, 110,968 meals prepared, 838 chain saw jobs, 527 flood recovery jobs, 69 fire recovery jobs, 379 temporary roof/repair jobs, 17,442 showers, 1,805 laundry loads, and 529 children cared for.
North American Mission Board’s Send North America strategy has 3,900 churches involved as active partners and 1,880 connected with a ministry location or church planter.
The NAMB Missionary Farm System included 1,726 student missionaries, 272 church planter interns, and 105 church planter apprentices. Overall, NAMB supports 5,611 missionaries in multiple categories and endorses more than 3,600 Southern Baptist chaplains.
The six Southern Baptist Seminaries reported 18,639 total students (nonduplicating head count of students registered and taking one credit hour or more) as follows: Golden Gate, 1,790; Midwestern, 1,595; New Orleans, 3,705; Southeastern, 3,204; Southern, 4,763; and Southwestern, 3,582.
The six Southern Baptist Seminaries awarded 722 MDiv degrees, 63 ThM degrees, and 852 MA and other two-year degrees. Five of the six seminaries reported conferring 211 doctoral degrees.
Seminary Extension, a ministry of the six seminaries, reported 984 students with 1,633 course enrollments.
Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, a ministry of the six seminaries, added thousands of books, periodicals, and other media; hosted 203 on-site researchers; and provided research assistance through 2,505 patron contacts including researchers from Japan, Cuba, and England, and numerous seminaries and universities in the US.
Golden Gate Seminary supports 67 Contextualized Leadership Development centers in partnership with Southern Baptist churches, associations, and state conventions. The centers offer courses in 9 languages—English, Burm-Chin, Korean, Thai-Lao, Cambodian, Karen, Portuguese, Mein, and Chinese.
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Caskey Center for Church Excellence reported that about 26,000 churches have 100 or fewer in worship attendance each week with another 7,700 churches that have 200 or fewer in worship attendance, representing 78 percent of all Southern Baptist churches. About 10,000 pastors of Southern Baptist churches are bivocational or part-time, which is about 23 percent of all Southern Baptist pastors.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has trained almost 400 IMB missionaries in the last ten years, with more than 265 of its graduates currently on the mission field with the International Mission Board and many other graduates in Send North America cities specifically targeted for planting new churches.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary possesses the Charles Spurgeon Library, which consists of some 6,000 books and hundreds of artifacts, letters, and assorted materials, with an overarching desire that the library will be a “living instrument used to serve the church by equipping pastors and preachers of God’s Word, as well as to preserve the personal library of Charles Haddon Spurgeon and to foster a deeper appreciation of his life, legacy, theology, and preaching.”
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the “mother seminary” of the Convention, expressed gratitude that its more than 4,000 students are able to attend seminary largely because of support the seminary receives through the Cooperative Program.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary reported it has “one of the most international faculties ever put together on American soil,” with 7 Hispanic professors, 8 Asian faculty members, 3 Europeans, 1 Australian, and 1 African American.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission launched an e-book publishing initiative, Leland House Press, with 3 titles: Sexual Brokenness and the Hope of the Gospel; Same-Sex Marriage and the Future; and Questions and Ethics, available in ERLC’s store and distributed freely at the SBC annual meeting, the ERLC’s Leadership Summit and its National Conference, to numerous SBC churches and state conventions, and the national Together for the Gospel conference.
Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) published 12 different magazines with a combined average circulation of approximately 216,270 paid copies. Selected missions materials were produced in 5 languages (Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese) and various titles from WMU’s New Hope Publishers were translated into 11 languages (Afrikaans, Albanian, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Urdu).