According to the Annual Church Profile compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources, CSBC ranks 9th out of 42 state Baptist conventions and fellowships with 14,409 baptisms, a slight increase over the 2010 figure of 14,377.
Randy McWhorter, CSBC evangelism director, said, “After an 18.5 percent increase in baptisms in 2010, I am excited that CSBC saw another increase in 2011. With only 55 percent of our churches and new starts reporting, we realized an increase of 32 precious souls.”
He noted CSBC is the only state convention outside the “old South” to find a spot in the top 10, even though “CSBC has far fewer churches and members than the other state conventions in the top 10.”
Those include Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina and Kentucky. Rounding out the top 10 were California and Oklahoma.
“I am excited when I look at the baptism-to-membership ratio in California compared to the other leaders,” McWhorter said. “The eight state conventions that baptized more people than California had a combined ratio of 1:47 which means it took 47 members to win and baptize one person. The CSBC ratio is 1:28 and I am certain that ratio would be much lower if more churches had reported through the ACP process.”
The state evangelism leader said he was grateful for every person represented by the number, but also is “challenged by the conviction that we do more and that we can do a better job of evangelizing the lost.”
McWhorter noted that 912 churches, less than half of CSBC’s congregations, reported at least one baptism. “That means that almost 1,300 churches either did not report or reported zero baptisms for 2011.”
From the statistics, McWhorter said 259 congregations that did complete an ACP reported no baptisms. “Of the other 1,033 churches, we have no idea because they didn’t report any information through the ACP process. I believe we can do better than that,” he declared.
Fermin A. Whittaker, CSBC executive director, said the baptism number was “great news” and he “celebrated with the churches of CSBC for continuing to reach every man, woman, boy and girl in California who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior.”
He said he agrees with McWhorter that “we really don’t have a complete picture of what we are doing in evangelism because of those churches who didn’t submit their results through the ACP process. We know that number would be much larger and would indicate our efforts to dispel lostness in the Golden State.”
The average number of baptisms per church, of those reporting, was 12.3, McWhorter said, noting he believes CSBC churches “certainly can do much better and probably are, but we don’t know because churches are not sharing that information.”
The national convention recorded a slight increase in the number of baptisms over the previous year – the 2011 total of 333,341 is 2,333 more than the 331,008 reported in 2010.