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As active members of the Greater Orlando Baptist Association, churches are to submit Annual Church Profile (ACP) each year. These may be completed on the website of www.sbcworkspace.com.
Annual Church Profiles (ACPs) are records of the life of a congregation. They also provide data to assist churches, our association, and state/national offices as we plan for the future by observing the trends of the past and present. GOBA funding and services for church programs and local missions work are coordinated by studying ACPs. Records are also stored in the state Baptist historical archives to preserve the history of each church.
If churches in the Greater Orlando Baptist Association need assistance with access to the ADX web site their ACP contact person may contact the Florida Baptist Convention State Board of Missions office at: 1-800-226-8584 ext. 3052 and ask for Lonnie Wright or email Lonnie at lwright@flbaptist.
The Southern Baptist Conventions Annual Church Profile
The Southern Baptist Convention Annual Church Profile (ACP) seeks to preserve Southern Baptist history while collecting data on the ministries occurring in Southern Baptist churches. Another goal of the ACP is to allow individual Southern Baptist churches to examine their own progress of ministry and growth. Church clerks for Southern Baptist churches compile information, including church membership, Sunday school, discipleship, finances, and mission data.
Data come from self-report forms, which are completed by church clerks, for all Southern Baptist Convention churches. The forms are collected at the end of each associational year and are used to assess individual church, associational, state and SBC-wide records.
Historically, the local association was tasked with the collection of the ACP’s when the associational staffs were employees of the state conventions. Today however there are no associations in the SBC who are employees of the state conventions and this responsibility falls back to the individual state conventions that require this data. In 1993 during the Home Mission Board era is when the change of association leadership being employees of the state convention shifted. We here at the Greater Orlando Baptist Association, while we believe in the importance of the ACP, have given back this responsibility to the State Convention where it rightfully belongs.
Take a look at this wonderful article written by Roger S. Oldham relating to the history and life of the annual Church Profile:
The Annual Church Profile: Vital and Reliable
by Roger S. Oldham
Pastors and churches should feel “very confident” in the trends the Annual Church Profile numbers indicate, according to Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research.
“When we get together with other statisticians, Southern Baptist participation in the Annual Church Profile (ACP) is the envy of other denominations,” he said in a May 19 telephone interview with SBC LIFE. “Even denominations that have a top-down authority over their churches cannot get the level of cooperation that we, with autonomous churches, get in the Southern Baptist Convention.” The Annual Church Profile is an annual statistical report churches voluntarily submit to the Southern Baptist Convention. The reported numbers provide an annual snapshot of the impact Southern Baptists are making through their local churches in penetrating their communities with the Gospel.
In 2012, the last year on record, Southern Baptists recorded a record number 46,034 churches, with an additional 4,992 church-type missions, for a total of more than 51,000 congregations. The numbers for 2013, set to be released near the end of May, were not available at press time for this issue of SBC LIFE.
“Every SBC congregation has an ID number that is used by the denomination at the local, state, and national level so we can all work from a single identifier for a congregation,” McConnell said.
Value to the Church
The ACP gives pastors an annual “report card” to give themselves “a clearer picture of where they are,” Frank S. Page, long-time pastor and current president of the SBC Executive Committee, said. “Pastors are well-known for guessing and wondering and, yes, sometimes exaggerating. The ACP gives real, clear information” that helps the local pastor to “make changes in programming, staffing, and budgeting that better reflects where they want to go.
“For example, I remember one year, we saw a deep need in our singles ministry and we were able to move financing and staffing and programming to help fill that niche, meet that need,” Page said.
Another year, “I was able to say, ‘Look, we’re baptizing our children. We’re not doing a very good job of reaching the population,’” he said. It would “help me in evaluating the various programs and ministries in the church.”
McConnell agreed. The ACP provides churches, associations, state conventions, and the SBC “a health scorecard,” he said.
“Things tracked in the ACP should be part of the picture that church leaders consider when they are looking at the health of their church,” McConnell said. “They represent disciples, and the church exists to make and teach disciples.”
It also provides the church “an invaluable record” that helps a new pastor and staff get up to speed quickly about the church’s priorities, key moments in the church’s history, as well as some challenges the church might be facing, he said.
In addition, the ACP establishes “annual accountability” and gives independent credibility to financial institutions when the church may need to borrow money for construction, McConnell said. “The bank would much rather see a print-out of a time-series report from the ACP than numbers the church might type into a blank spreadsheet and bring into the bank.”
Just the act of submitting the ACP demonstrates cooperation with a broader group, Page said. “It helps churches understand who they are as a family of Baptists. It’s helpful in the local area to say, ‘Do you know this about Baptists, do you know this is happening?’ It gives a lot of validity and affirmation of a local ministry to say we are part of a broader group and here are some statistics about that group,” he said.
Value to the Convention
Page brings a unique perspective to the value of the ACP, having served as a pastor, SBC president, vice president for evangelization at the North American Mission Board, and president of the SBC Executive Committee.
“As president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the ACP helped me in making appointments to various committees,” he said. “I said at the beginning of my tenure as president there were several criteria I would use for appointments. One was, were they soul-winners? Well, the ACP helped me know. . . . Are you a Cooperative Program champion? Well, if they were, I saw it. If they weren’t, I saw it,” he said.
As NAMB’s vice president for evangelization, ACP data helped in developing God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS), “a ten-year multi-faceted, flexible ministry of evangelism,” Page said. “It showed us areas of great evangelistic need across the country. We used a lot of mapping information that was based on the ACP to see where we were, where our strengths were, and where our weaknesses were,” he said.
“Now in my role as president of the Executive Committee, we live and die by good information,” Page said. “It is extremely important as we deal with our entities that we have good information as we look toward the future, to see the trends, to know the average CP gift from the churches. It shows us where our strategies need to be.
“I love this quote I recently read. ‘If you see a fish go belly up in a lake, you try to find out what’s wrong with the fish. If you see a thousand fish go belly up in a lake, you better take a look at the lake.’ When you get good ACP information, you look at the lake,” he said.
The ACP requests two types of information, McConnell said. “Some items on the ACP indicate long-term relationships with a church, like membership. We consider that relationship exists until either the church or the individual says the relationship has been broken. So if the church skips reporting in a given year, we will carry forward total membership numbers from the previous year in our totals for the Convention,” he said.
“Other questions, though, represent one-time events. Baptisms are things that only happen once. We do not carry forward information from one year to the next because we do not know if a similar number occurred in the next year or if it was higher or lower,” he said.
So the greatest challenge the ACP faces is keeping the response rate as high as possible each year, McConnell said. “A lot of the value individual churches get from doing the ACP really comes from them doing it every year. . . . Each year, when we see some churches not reporting, the vast majority of them do report the following year.”
Annual ACP response rates remain very high, McConnell said, and Southern Baptists can be confident of the trends they show and the summaries they represent. “Given the large response every year frankly makes response rates to any other survey that you see in the newspaper put to shame. This is a very good indicator of what is going on in the Convention.”
Annual Church Profile Questions and Answers
Every Florida Baptist Convention church and mission is asked once a year to complete an Annual Church Profile (ACP).
The Q&A below is designed to answer the most frequently asked questions.
What is the ACP?
Every church and mission is asked to complete a statistical survey once a year called the Annual Church Profile (ACP). This survey is where items like baptisms and church membership are collected. Many churches also use this opportunity to update information on church leadership. Staff & church leadership information also may be updated at any time by contacting by going online at www.sbcworkspace.com
Where does the information go and who uses it?
It’s important for the Florida Baptist Convention to know what’s happening statistically in our churches and missions. The data we gather each year through the Annual Church Profile (ACP) enables the FBC to better serve our churches, and it helps entities of the Southern Baptist Convention fund church resources in the most effective way.
Some examples: The statistics are used to prioritize areas of the state where evangelism and new churches are most needed; to help us look for trends in membership, worship attendance, giving, etc.; and to identify churches that are doing a good job in certain areas so we can see how they are doing a particular ministry at that church.
Where do I get my church’s user name and password?
That information should be on the form that was sent to you with your survey instructions from the Florida Baptist Convention. If you do not have that form, please contact Lonnie Wright at the phone number or email address listed below and they will send it to you.
When is my ACP Due?
The ACP deadline for your church or mission varies, The FBC deadline is November 1st of each year.
What time frame does the ACP cover?
Generally the period runs from October 1, through September 30, of any given year.
To whom do I return the ACP?
If you complete the ACP online, there’s no need to do anything further. If you complete a paper form, you may return it to the Florida Baptist Convention at:
Florida Baptist Convention
Technology Services Office
1230 Hendricks Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Who do I contact if I have other questions or need additional help?
Lonnie Wright email@example.com 1-800-226-8584 ext. 3052
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