OK, IT'S TIME
Time to say something here. So I shall.
First, the "Mantra" goes on. Evangelism, evangelism, evangelism! I've been in the SBC for 40 years now, and that's been a constant.
We teach courses on how to do that. Strangely, we don't study how to describe our homes, yet we are willing and able to do so with very little encouragement. And we do not let what we don't know about our house interfere with telling someone what we do know.
Telling someone about our faith is no more difficult than that!
I am about to differ with the consensus about problems in the SBC. It's not evangelism!! It is about discipleship! And that's where the failing is, now!
Every attendance report I have seen, reports attendance (which included visitors) hangs around 1/3 of membership. Of course I have seen folks arguing about illness, invalids and the like. But that does not explain why things are the way they are.
It seems to me that, in most of the SBC churches I have seen, if you walk the aisle, say the prayer, get baptized and sign the membership card, you're now a member. To me, that's woefully inadequate. I've been a member of a church (not SBC) that had the Elders meet with new members and hear their testimony. I think that is as it should be! And the church to which we belong one time sent a "Letter" to a church in Texas saying and ex-member was acceptable for membership, when he had not been in a church for 15+ years!
Alternatively, some churches I know of require attendance at Membership Classes prior to allowing someone to join the church. That's a great idea! I know that is done by a local church here, that is one of the biggest churches in the nation, now! I suspect it's done in others, as well.
The part I think the SBC has lost sight of is this: it's not our programs and activities that bring people in the door. It is GOD Who sends them to us, to make disciples! And it's hard to say that's happening with the 2/3 +/- who aren't there on Sunday!
So .... why doesn't the SBC gathered ever deal with this? My occasionally mean-spirited self thinks it has the answer!
Evangelism falls on the shoulders of the membership. Out & about, at work, seeing friends and neighbors, things of that sort, 6 days a week. Discipleship, on the other hand, falls on the shoulders of the Pastors! And I think the Pastors are reluctant to admit that!
Like I said, my mean-spirited self.
So, unless the SBC, as an entity, sees Discipleship and the problem, and deals with it, I see no reason for God to send us more people for us to see one third of them every week. You wouldn't hire an employee who came to work 1/3 of the time, why should God have lower standards than employers do?
Wake up, SBC!