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.