Since its organization in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has grown to over 16 million members who worship in more than 45,000 churches in the United States. Southern Baptists sponsor about 5,000 missionaries serving the United States and its territories, Canada, and the Caribbean, as well as sponsoring more than 5,000 foreign missionaries in 153 nations of the world.
The term "Southern Baptist Convention" refers to both the convention and its annual meeting. Working through 1,175 local associations and 42 state conventions, Southern Baptists share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.
One becomes a Southern Baptist by uniting with a Southern Baptist church; one in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist enterprise of reaching the world for Christ. Typically church membership is a matter of receiving Jesus as your Savior and Lord and experiencing believer's baptism by immersion. (Source: http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/default.asp - Official website of the Southern Baptist Convention)