Dr. Ezell has said that Southern Baptists need to plant around 1,200 churches per year.
Despite spending 250% more on church planting, we have planted half as many churches.
Before the new "Strategy" was implemented, NAMB was planting between 1400 to 1600 churches. Two years after the "Strategy" began that number dropped to almost half - 769. This past year only 691 churches were planted.
In 2005 it took just over $10,000 to plant a church.
Now NAMB spends more than $100,000 per plant.
Based off the data, do you think the "Strategy" is working?
Church Planting Spending: ↑
When asked how the strategy was working, all Kevin Ezell said was, "It's working."
But is it?
- Baptisms are at a 70 year low
- Church plants are at a 40 year low
- Eight years of no positive signs
Why are we not pivoting? Why is NAMB leadership not acknowledging the truth when confronted with the facts?
Why are we not holding them accountable?
Baptisms at a 70 year low
Slashing Support for Churches
Church Planting at a 40 Year Low
Planting through Property
Despite NAMB's massive surge in their church planting budget, why are we planting half as many churches?
One possible explanation is that the Church Planting Budget is being used for purchasing "infrastructure"/property compared to the strategy from before that was focused on spending it on people.
Right now NAMB has over $6 Million dollars in just empty land, a 220% increase from 2014. If you examine the chart below, you will see that after the initial spike, NAMB spent less on Church Planting in 2017 than they did in 2013 if you take out the properties that are being purchased under the Church Planting Budget. We invite NAMB to be transparent and show how much of the church planting budget has been spent on property since 2010.
However, from a strategic standpoint, properties do not plant churches, people do. Could it be that NAMB's drive to increase Church Planting spending has not seen fruit because it is focused on buying empty land, questionable property, or nice houses for select friends?
NAMB spent over 250% more on church planting while cutting support for existing churches. Since 2010, the budgets for ministries that support existing churches was slashed 72%, they cut spending to help with evangelism by 65% and defunded all evangelism staff, including collegiate ministers, except for states in the South and the Northwest Convention.
It could be claimed that NAMB had to cut those to provide for the spike in the church planting budget. However, NAMBs contributions received, expenses and administrative budget have remained flat, and their liabilities have dropped 50%. Their investments increased $100 Million since 2008, property assets increased $22 Million since 2013, and their reserves are up $200 million. That does not include the $35 Million in cash they received from selling church loans in 2014.
Are we surprised baptisms are down 30%, when we slash support for existing churches?
NAMB could fund support ministries they have cut if they wanted too. However they have instead chosen to bury it in assets and reserves.