Why is this taking place now? One site quotes expert Ed Stetzer, also providing a link to Stetzer's own site. Stetzer gives three issues that must be discussed to address this historic and unprecedented decline for Southern Baptists:
- The absence of young leaders and ethnic leaders in denominational life.
- Denominational infighting.
- (most importantly) We’ve lost our focus on the gospel.
Add to Stetzer's opinion other important factors such as:
- Our love affair with American culture
- Undisciplined churches
- (most importantly for me) a growing indication of prayerlessness
When you work in a group with so many members (over 16 million) it becomes very easy to rest on those historic laurels. We have gotten large and lethargic. Large is good; lethargy is deadly.
Why is this significant to someone working in South America? Consider the following:
- Our future international missionaries come from this declining pool.
- Lethargy eventually reveals itself in lethargic missions support; this is not just financial in nature. We are currently blessed with a surge in personal participation on the part of SBC churches. But this will not continue if those churches are losing the battle "back home."
- Denominational infighting creates such a lack of focus that important things as winning lost America and reaching a lost world fall in the cracks.
Pray for the SBC. Pray, pray, pray for revival.