Monday, October 11, 2010

What hasn't been said about 2009-2010 Cooperative Program giving

Things are tight. Budgets are being cut. Our entities are downsizing and slicing expenditures. Nothing new in all that; but it seems that when one looks at denominational giving, more churches are choosing to hold back on their Cooperative Program giving rather than on their designated, mainly Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong, offerings.

At least that's what I get from trying to sort through the latest stats. If I'm looking at this incorrectly, some astute reader may certainly correct me.

When I look through the Executive Committee’s figures for the 2009-2010 fiscal year (ended September 30th) and note that while Cooperative Program giving for the period is down 4.03%, whereas designated giving is down only about 1.5%.

Neither the Executive Committee nor Baptist Press reports the figures this way. You have to figure it out for yourself. Perhaps, long about the time when pigs fly, someone at the Executive Committee and/or Baptist Press will make this analysis and report it to us on their own.

It is no surprise to me that when pastors, church committees, and congregations take a good look at their budgets, they are less likely to cut their gifts to the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Boards than they are to the Cooperative Program.

I appreciate the way Frank Page chooses to look at reduced CP giving. He thanks God for what has been given rather than blame the churches for not giving more.

Bryant Wright has notably called for radical prioritization of our giving, that is, less to the state conventions and more to the mission boards.

Looks to me like when churches are forced to choose, they are already choosing to do just that.


foxofbama said...

If you are right about churches choosing than you make a strong point in some ways a done deal.
In Alabama, for instance it can easily go the other way. I think most folks there if they had to choose between Shocco Springs and playing Ronnie Floyd's expense account, or Al Mohler Francis Schaeffer fund for ideological expansion, when it registers with them in a couple years, they will keep the money instate cause they like Shocco Springs.
When you and Frank Page can answer not Stephen Fox, but Howell Scott's articulate concerns at his fromlaw2grace blog, then maybe you will have the winning argument in the current latest crisis in the SBC. You may have strong start but it's kinda like the Vols and Dawgs football program.
In about three years the Volswillhave the stronger Program, same as HowellScott and the state conventions.

Anonymous said...

I thought designated giving was down 2.52 percent. That's how I read the story.

Seminary tuition is going to skyrocket if CP giving continues its downward spiral. That's not good for us poor preacers out there.

Anonymous said...

In most churches pastors and committees do not have decision making power over AA and LM. Those offerings are determined by individuals when they give designated funds over and above the tithe or budget.

William Thornton said...

Since the CP is a budget item in most churches and LM and AA are not, it is a valid point to say that church leaders are not "in control" of the amounts given; however, church leaders are instrumental in setting and meeting those goals.

That CP is down between two and three times the rate of designated giving has some meaning for Southern Baptists.