Monday, November 29, 2010

Lottie Moon: Get five times the bang for your mission buck

It's that time again - Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions. The IMB has some "fast facts" on their LMCO website.

Here are some of my own fast facts:

While many state conventions are declaring a move towards a 50/50 split for Cooperative Program receipts, there will be no significant increase in CP monies forwarded to the IMB for years. If states follow through on this (an enormous "if") we are still talking about a protracted transition period with an end result that is not hugely significant for global missions. Call me a pessimist here.

The CP contributes about one third of the IMB's budget. That figure has been declining.

Correspondingly, the LMCO contributes about 54% of the IMB's budget.

A dollar in my church's offering plate that goes to the Cooperative Program yields about twenty cents to the International Mission Board.

A dollar in my church's LMCO offering envelope yields a dollar to the International Mission Board.

The LMCO goal for 2010 is $175 million. Last year's goal was the same. I suppose it is unrealistic to (a) lower the goal from last year, and (b) expect that the goal will be reached.

The LMCO theme of "Are We There Yet" is underwhelming.

The LMCO materials are very good. We will feature one of the videos each Sunday from now until into January.


My hope and prayer is that the LMCO exceeds last year's total.

[And, do you think someone could photoshop that old Lottie photo?]


David R. Brumbelow said...

But another way of looking at it, is that all money sent through the Cooperative Program goes to missions. There are missions other than the International Mission Board. As we strengthen missions at home, we will continue to have a strong base that keeps on giving to the IMB.

Yes, things could probably be streamlined in the state conventions. The same could be said for the IMB, all our agencies, and our local churches.

I fully support the IMB, but I’m also supportive of our state convention, seminaries, NAMB, ERLC, etc. I get a bang for my buck, whether someone is led to Jesus in Chicago, or Zimbabwe.

And I will also be supporting and giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the IMB.
David R. Brumbelow

William Thornton said...

I appreciate your comment and points; however, the subtle assertion of equivalence between Cooperative Program giving and Lottie Moon giving ("I get a bang for my buck, whether someone is led to Jesus in Chicago, or Zimbabwe") is not a valid expression of priorities, IMO.

While none of our entities are beyond waste, the CP is far the greater destination of our dollars that are spent on lesser priority things.

We cannot exist without the Cooperative Program but we can exist quite well if CP utilization better expresses mission priorities. I'm with Bryant Wright in saying that state conventions can do with half of their revenue. I suspect in that case mission activity would not be lessened.

Thanks again for the comment.

David R. Brumbelow said...

My state convention keeps 45% of their CP funds, and forwards 55% to the national SBC, of which the IMB gets 50%. 50% is a good goal for at least established state conventions. Of course state conventions will never be equal for a host of reasons - money, population, strength and number of churches, travel, etc.

Should local churches, like state conventions, send 50% of their undesignated offerings to the CP? If so, it could possibly cripple them and reduce mission giving in the long run.

I would just say CP and Lottie Moon giving are two different categories that cannot be easily compared. Kind of like the local church and the IMB. The IMB gets a large percentage of the CP and all of the Lottie Moon Offering; and I‘m glad of that. Other than the NAMB, the others generally do not get an exclusive offering. Sometimes a less obvious or exciting need is very important. When was the last time someone put a plaque over a septic tank? Yet that too, can be very important for missions. I just think we can push both the IMB and the CP, without pitting one against the other.

Seems like they used to say Lottie Moon funds were all spent overseas, because the CP took care of the IMB administrative cost (and of course more than just the administrative costs). But someone has to pay the administrative costs, and administration is also important.

But I suspect you and I agree much more on this subject than it might appear in these comments. These are just some of my random thoughts. I have them every so often.
David R. Brumbelow

PS - No, I’m not going to say which agency or ministry is the “septic tank.”

Anonymous said...

I have often expressed pessimism that the old line state conventions will every make it to 50/50. The steady revenue stream, the staff positions, the in-state money that the administrative machinery gets to dispense, these are too great to voluntarily give up.

My conjecture is that churches will continue to see less value in the CP and will give lesser percentages of their dollars to it, continuing the decades long trend.


Anonymous said...


What ministries within your state would you recommend they cease doing so money can be freed up to move to a 50/50 split?

Is there a way to tell if the ones you would support dropping would actually bring the state to such a position (not just move in that direction)?

Here in NC, the ones I see could be dropped are seen as crucial to many others.

I'm willing to drop any monies going to:

* Baptist Hospital
* Any Baptist school
* Much of the needless mailings I get almost daily (of course I get just as many, if not more, from the national convention).
* Baptist campgrounds

Each of these I have a personal reason (opinion) as to why I think we could remove financial support. If my math is correct, dropping these would not move us very far in the percentage issue. Removing these would only cost us, the baptist people of NC, more money to use them.

I am still of the opinion the national convention needs to prove they can work with less money before they say the state conventions can and need too.

Jon L. Estes

foxofbama said...

Inerrancy is a Ruse, and grand a History as the IMB has had and as grand though semantic gymnastics they have to play border the boundaries of inegrity; all that, time for local churches to cut back on giving so no new blood is encouraged to make a career of something that also contributes to ERLC and the Father Coughlin world of Glenn Beck--see definitive article at

So look into your hearts, think about worthy non profits that do good work at home and abroad. Find ways to cooperate with Baptists of good will, whatever their stripe where you live possible in state.
Look at the articulate blogging of Howell Scott on the matter if you don't want to take my word for it.
Let the Takeover SBC fall of its own weight!!!

Jonathan said...

Thanks, Stephen, for putting it all into what was this post about again? :)

I'll make sure to tell the dozen or so IMB field personnel serving in dangerous areas of Asia when I travel there that their blood should be considered old and their work contributes to a mixture of ERLC, Coughlin, Beck and John Birch.

Anonymous said...

What ministries should the national convention give up so it can structure itself to reach more people for Christ? This is what they say they want more money for, right?

What ministries should state conventions give up so the national convention so it can send more to the national convention so they can do what they say they want to do and the state convention continue to do what it believes it is to be doing?

What ministries should the local church give up so they can give more to the CP so the state convention and the national convention can continue to do that which is assigned to the local church?

When I had a staff it was required that we share the gospel on a regular basis. In our weekly staff meetings we had a great time sharing these stories. This is from the secretaries and ministry staff. I liked it. We also had a book we went through with each other, Covering a chapter a week and then discussing it. Man it was fun. We did lose a few staff for not wanting to be evangelistic. They went into church planting - go figure.

The basis for this was if we are going to receive an income from the church we are going to behave like the church.

There is no transparency or accountability to those who pay the bills. I know more of what is going on in my church than the state or national convention. I know next more about the state convention and what we do. I know little about the real happenings in the national convention, yet I am helping pay the bills. Is this sane?

Jon Estes

foxofbama said...


You abuse, malign, at a minimum, distort my point. I honor your friends who are putting their blood on the line in impossible places on the planet.
That said, ask them if they feel free to dissent from the prevailing ideology of Ronnie Floyd and Richard Land here stateside when the discussion turns to matters like the Tea Party, Glenn Beck and American History.
Email them to google Jill Lepore's The Whites of Their Eyes, and Mark Lilla's recent analysis of theworld of Glenn Beck in
I imagine our friend from Dr. Thornton on whose blog we are now having this exchange will soon ask us to take it elsewhere.
Maybe early in the New Year Howell Scott will provide us that forum at his Fromlaw2grace blog.
Till then wishing you the Merriest of Christmasses.

foxofbama said...

And Jonathan, one other thought, not meant as a thumb in your eye; but the larger picture even if it is only the wider conservative fundamentalist blogging world discussion on future of CP and IMB:

"Complex systems fail in complex ways."