The results and significant key findings from the 2017 Baptist Associations Survey were released earlier this week. If you have not yet reviewed those findings, you can do so here. On Monday, I plan to publish another post that seeks to make sense of all of the key findings and to propose a way forward for local Baptist associations.
However, over the past week, I have been asked by several folks if there were any other significant findings from the research. A study of this size certainly provides many interesting observations, so I have included a few more below.
How Churches Participate in Associations
According to the associational leaders who were surveyed, the most common way that churches participate in their association is through monthly financial contributions (75.7% of churches), followed by submitting an Annual Church Profile (73.7%). Slightly more than half of SBC churches are represented at their association’s annual meeting (57.3%) and 53.2% of SBC churches participate in events offered by their local association. The least common way that churches participate in their association is through attending regular Executive Board meetings (39.5%).
Association Size & Financial Contributions
The research also showed that there was an “inverse relationship” between the size of the association and the percentage of churches that financially contribute to the association. In other words, smaller associations have a higher percentage of their churches that financially contribute to the association than larger associations. Consider the following percentages of churches that financially contribute to their association based upon association size:
- Under 30 churches: 86.3% of churches financially contribute
- 30-49 churches: 81.3% of churches financially contribute
- 50-74 churches: 70.4% of churches financially contribute
- 75 or more churches: 61.8% of churches financially contribute
Associations Effective in Fellowship & Leadership Development
Associations are most effective in providing fellowship and networking opportunities among the churches in their geographic area. When asked how the association has effectively served its member churches within the past three years, the most popular answer among church leaders (58.4%) and associational leaders (87.1%) was “Fellowship/Networking” opportunities. Another popular answer among both church leaders (46.2%) and associational leaders (79.3%) was “Leadership Development & Training” opportunities.
Desire to Cooperate/Partner
Church leaders are definitely in favor of the opportunities for cooperative ministry that local associations provide. When asked to identify the most exciting aspect of their local Baptist association, the first post revealed that the most popular answer was “Nothing”. However, the second most popular answer was “Cooperative Efforts”. Therefore, the belief that we can accomplish more together for God’s kingdom than we can do on our own is alive and well in our churches and associations.
Again, these are some additional findings from the Baptist Associations Survey. On Monday, I will attempt to make sense of all of these findings, and to provide some practical insights for how associations can move forward.