“We are a family of Southern Baptists in Maryland/Delaware. Collectively, we have a voice, but how strong is that voice?” That’s a question posed by Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) Executive Director Kevin Smith to the BCM/D General Mission Board.
“When we say Maryland/Delaware Baptists, how many people are we really talking about?” Smith asked. “Every soul matters, but when we’re talking to people in Annapolis and Dover, they want to know how many souls we’re talking about. We need an idea of who we are.”
One way of finding out is by reviewing Annual Church Profile (ACP) reports. The ACP is an annual statistical report churches voluntarily submit to the Southern Baptist Convention.
The ACP is like a family portrait, or a report card, said Smith. It’s a snapshot, a frozen moment in time, that helps clarify our direction. Smith said the ACP information, especially on baptisms, aids in the BCM/D’s ministry evaluation.
“Are we being fruitful? Jesus looked upon the multitudes and was moved with compassion and said, ‘Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers to the vineyards.’ How do we know if we’re reaping from the harvest? We need some type of measurement.”
The BCM/D uses the numbers to determine future mission strategy, update the database, and support church ministries and ministers more effectively. The number also is used to determine the number of messengers churches receive for the Annual Meeting in November.
Individual congregations report statistics for the national ACP to their local associations and/or state conventions. National totals are compiled and released after all cooperating state conventions have reported.
Compared to 2015, when just 31 percent or 191 of BCM/D 623 churches completed the ACP, more churches participated in 2016—54.18 percent or 350 of 646 churches responded. Of those churches, there were 2,104 baptisms! It’s now time again to collect that information.
HOW TO FILL OUT THE ACP
Every Southern Baptist congregation is given an SBC ID number by LifeWay Christian Resources, along with a password. The SBC ID and password is used to log onto www.sbcworkspace.com. Please submit your ACP data by January 31, 2018.
The Baptist Convention of Maryland Delaware is available to assist any church with their ACP survey. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 460-2950 x202 for assistance and/or questions.