Each year, Arkansas Baptist churches are asked to complete the Annual Church Profile (ACP). The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and their agencies use the data collected to be aware of trends and plan ministry accordingly.
There are 11 questions on this year’s ACP. These questions are in the areas of attendance, membership, and giving. The baptism report is broken down by age groups. The membership numbers are used to determine how many messengers each church is allotted for the annual meeting of the ABSC. The questions about offerings assist in identifying giving trends, which aid in making budget projections.
The leadership portion of the profile enables continuity of communication between a congregation and their Association and Arkansas Baptists’ state office. Please enter accurate email addresses for leadership. This helps everyone communicate effectively concerning areas of interest for leaders and saves on postage costs.
The ACP is an opportunity for every church to give their testimony. If you look in the scriptures such as Acts 2:41-47, Acts 4:4, Acts 14:27, Matt 14:19-21, you will find recorded information concerning membership, baptisms, and participation in missions. God thought it worthy for us to know of the work of the early church and how he used people to accomplish his purpose. It is important for today’s church to share its story.
Pastor Jeff Hawkins of Franklin Baptist Church spoke recently to church clerks and pastors in Rocky Bayou association about why he believes there are biblical reasons for keeping good records.
Hawkins stated that there are wrong reasons and right reasons for recording numbers. He noted that when we let numbers become a source of pride as King David did in 2 Samuel 24, that is a wrong reason. Another wrong reason is to inflate numbers to make an impression, adding that some call that “evang-elastically” speaking.
However, he reminded of several instances in Scripture where tracking numbers are mentioned positively such as when Jesus tells the parable of the shepherd who counted 99 sheep and discovered one missing. In 2 Corinthians 8: 18-22, the Macedonian believers were sending money to the church at Jerusalem. Surely, they counted the money and then they sent along more than one man for accountability.
Numbers can be very encouraging. In the book of Acts, there are several instances where it is noted how many were added to the church. A pastor recently looked back at the church’s giving record over 40 years and added up how much money that church had given to missions in that time, inspiring a new level of commitment among current members.
We appreciate the work that each church and association does in collecting ACP data. Packets are being mailed to Arkansas Baptist churches in the next week or two. However, your church clerk does not have to wait to receive your packet in the mail. Both the statistical and leadership profiles are available online at ar.sbcworkspace.com. Churches may contact their association office or the ABSC if you have misplaced your username and password.