Regional Focus: South
Some 13.7 million Southern Baptists live and worship in the South Region—what's been called for years the old "Bible Belt." Seemingly, there's a church—either Baptist or otherwise—on almost every corner.
So does the South need new churches? Absolutely.
Despite a legacy of evangelical fervor in the South, new generations and new immigrant populations will make the need for new, contextual, gospel-centered churches—even in the Bible Belt—forever present.
Although the South's old tag as the Bible Belt was perhaps true at one time, it's a myth today. Two out of three Southerners are considered lost—without Christ. That's despite more Southern Baptist congregations in the region—by far—than anywhere else in North America.
Even considering the growing lostness in the South, no other region in the Southern Baptist Convention has the potential to provide more much-needed missions resources for the underserved and under-reached areas of the world. The South remains the financial engine driving Southern Baptist work worldwide. Just look at the Cooperative Program, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®—where they give at least 85 percent of the total receipts.
To reach the most unreached regions of the continent through Send North America, church planters in the Northeast, Midwest, West and Canada will need the support of churches in the South. Today, to fulfill its own Great Commission mandate, God is calling a new generation of Southern Baptists in the South to demonstrate the same passion for missions that propelled their forefathers to start new churches throughout North America in the convention's early years. History tells us they'll be up for the task.
Meet the South
SBC Congregations: 39,586
Population Per Congregation: 2,826
White: 59% African American: 19% Hispanic: 18% Asians: 3%
Number of Lost: 69 million
Percentage of the Population Lost: 64 percent
Population unaffiliated with any religious body: 48.1%
Population affiliated with an evangelical church: 27.2%
Based on 2012 statistics.
In the South Florida area— including Miami—96 percent of the population is lost or unchurched.