By Dr. Ryan Strother

(Infographic) 

As we start 2024, our staff compiled some data to see if we’re truly connecting for Kingdom advancement. The short answer: Yes!  

The state convention is our churches. We’re an organized system of serving the churches who comprise the SCBI. So, when we compiled the data shown in this infographic, it is a picture of 420 churches working together—connecting for Kingdom advancement! 

You can celebrate every number, and it was challenging to know what to include. Everything in this graphic is important, and other important things are happening too, but let me add commentary on a few items. 

  • We added 18 new churches to the SCBI family in 2023! The social media narrative often reports on the demise of the Southern Baptist Convention, but we are still planting churches and seeing established churches affiliating with us because they see our shared mission. For various reasons, four churches left the SCBI/SBC, so we had a net gain of 14 churches in 2023.  
  •  We currently have 12 candidates in the pipeline with the International Mission Board (IMB)! We have been talking about fueling the pipeline with more Hoosier candidates and we’ve strategized with the IMB to encourage this fueling around the state. It’s working! When I received this number, I was told that this number is up from recent years. Praise the Lord! 
  • $41,000 has been given to the newly formed Highland Lakes Legacy Endowment fund—a good start! The goal of this fund is to sustain HLBC until Jesus comes, and to use this endowment to fund some of the operating costs of HLBC, therefore reducing the Cooperative Program dollar investment into HLBC.  
  • We’re seeing an increase in participation in multiple ways: Annual Summit attendance; Midwest Leadership Summit preregistration is the highest it has been in ten years; and Disaster Relief Volunteers are massively growing. Connection! 
  • The 98 conversations between pastors and our new Next Step Connectors represent the start of what we will see more of long term. This process has been in place for about seven months of 2023. These conversations encourage the pastors and some of the conversations lead to practical ways we can partner with the church to help them take their next step. Kingdom advancement! 
  • Finally, salvation decisions should always excite us! We saw decisions made during our camps and the new Next Gen Evangelism Tour that happened in 2023. We know that there are salvation decisions happening through the ministries of our churches and there will be more coming through the work of the 11 new church plants from 2023. 

We’re connecting for Kingdom Advancement. Let’s keep it up!