OK ... YOU Do The Math.
According to the Baptist Faith & Message, a church is a local assembly of baptized believers.
Incidentally, for those who've read a previous blog post of mine in which I mentioned that nobody had ever answered correctly my question as to why you had to be baptized to join a Baptist church, that's your answer. That's what the local church is defined as, by us Baptists.
Now, the Bible does seem to set forth some standards for the believers as to how they should relate to the local body, and also how the local body should related to its members. Check 1 Corinthians 5 for some harsh details as to a couple of particular areas of discipline. But I'd like to look at it sort of in reverse ..the involvement of the members in the operation of the body.
First, are all members to be involved in the operation .. the activity .. the building up .. of the church? consider the following, from 1 Corinthinans Chapter 12:
- 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone(I) it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Hold that thought for a minute.
Now, think of your own church, and then we'll talk about "typical churches".
The last statistic I heard from the SBC was that weekly attendance in all SBC churches totaled approximately 37% of membership. The only hitch in that fact, though, is that I'm quite sure that represents everybody in the house, so to speak, including infants, toddlers, and children too young to be members. Our church is the most typical SBC church ever, and our Sunday attendance is usually 20% non-members, or more.
Think of that being true in your own church, and then take a guess as to how many people are actually involved in the operation of the church on Sunday morning (I pick on Sunday because folks involved on Sunday night or Wednesday are probably there on Sunday morning, too). Even if you throw in the choir, I think we'd be hard pressed to find 20% of member attendees actually active in a role such as teaching, leading, tending the nursery, or ushering on Sunday. My best educated guess is that perhaps 6% to 7% of church membership is actually using their gifts and talents for the benefit of the body.
The Body of Christ? When 100% are gifted to serve the Body?
Am I wrong in this assessment? Is your church different? If my assumptions and/or analysis is anywhere near correct, might this explain anything that we're observing in the SBC?