Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Changing Ethnic and Racial Landscape of Denominations in America

This week, I am in New Orleans for the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. This year's gathering will be a historic one as Southern Baptists are poised to elect our first African-American convention president – Dr. Fred Luter. A denomination birthed with a racially-tinged history is now electing a descendant of slaves as its leader.

This is quite a story for the largest protestant denomination in America. So much so that both the New York Times and USA Today have run profiles on Dr. Luter. It also comes at a time when the SBC is more diverse than ever, seeing dramatic growth in ethnicity over the past 20 years. The percent of non-Anglo churches has moved from 1-in-20 to 1-in-5 in just two decades:

Southern Baptist Convention

1990 - 95% Anglo
2000 - 85% Anglo
2010 - 80% Anglo

The SBC is not alone, however.

I recently returned from speaking at the Foursquare convention in Phoenix. While there, I was consulting with them on what a "global eldering community" looks like. The meeting included leaders from around the world and was simultaneously translated in multiple languages. It's not just global for Foursquare. In the US, they are truly becoming a multi-ethnic denomination as well. They shared with me.... Read more

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