Thursday, December 2, 2010

50/50 no incentive for greater Cooperative Program giving?

I like Norman Jameson and think what happened to him in NC was a travesty. He knows the SBC landscape as well as anyone.

His Dec 1 article in the Biblical Recorder, Illusion of 50-50 drawing power expresses his view that moving to a 50/50 Cooperative Program split will not do anything to attract new or greater church offering plate dollars to the CP.

He might be right. Jameson:

Those who support the GCR mantra of de-emphasizing state convention work in favor of the national and international ministries of the SBC feel that if state conventions would forward at least 50 percent of the CP gifts from churches, then churches would be inspired to send more money.

This perspective gives great weight to the idea that Baptists want more of their gifts to reach “the nations,” and they are not being as generous as in the past because they feel too much of their money stays in the state for local ministries, when there already are enough churches to take care of local needs.

Is that perspective accurate?

He offers the example of the Oklahoma convention doing just that 25 years ago. They moved to 50/50 and, as he put it:

…in a time of unity within the state convention; when Southern Baptists nationally were unified behind Bold Mission Thrust goals; when state conventions were committed to increasing CP gifts nationally; when 10 percent CP giving from churches was more the norm than the exception, state conventions that adopted a 50-50 CP division could not maintain it.

Churches simply did not respond.

They were neither impressed nor moved by their conventions’ commitments enough to increase their own.
While I do not argue the example, I would argue that churches should not be blamed for state conventions not being able to exist on half of the CP funds that they receive. Jameson's statement that the Oklahoma convention "could not maintain" the 50/50 should be read that they didn't have the pressure, incentive, or will to maintain it. We can always do what we have to do or what we think is right to do.

I understand the motivation that makes state convention executives condition a move to a 50/50 split on churches giving more. "Give us more and we can do with less," they say.

The execs would like to keep as much money as they can to fund as many of the state staff jobs and ministries that exist now. They would like to avoid more program, staff, and budget cuts. But the whole point of moving to 50/50 in my opinion is that more of each CP dollar should go to higher priority destinations and that the present two-thirds of CP gifts shouldn’t be kept in heavily churched states like Georgia, Alabama, Florida and other Bible Belt states.

If churches don’t give an additional nickel to the CP, it is a better use of CP dollars to send more to Nashville and on to the seminaries, IMB, and NAMB.

But, all the 50/50 talk is somewhat of an empty exercise, IMO. I doubt states, even those who have made some declaration of intent about moving to 50/50 (and one notes the usual caveats: “will take a protracted period of time”, “if churches give more”, etc.) will ever get there.

The Great Commission Resurgence didn’t cause the problems that the CP now faces. It may prove significant in putting more money in authentic Great Commission activities.

We will see.


Anonymous said...

"The Great Commission Resurgence didn’t cause the problems that the CP now faces. It may prove significant in putting more money in authentic Great Commission activities. "

Maybe a list of all the ministries and then putting each ministry under an AGCA heading or a non AGCA heading. The when this is done, do away with all non AGCA.

do we start with the local church, the state convention or the national convention? I say do the local church last so we who pay the bills can really see what is AGCA.

Who gets to decide what is AGCA or not?

Jon L. Estes

Anonymous said...

In a time of declining giving all of us are deciding what our priorities are. One notes that state conventions are making fairly draconian cuts. Are these areas, staff, or ministries that we can live without? Evidently so...they're gone.


Anonymous said...

And what cuts are being made at the national level? All we have seen are the immediate cuts at NAMB from the new president. Within the makeup of the national convention is anyone going to follow?

How about the mass of money spent in trustee meetings, like from IMB? That figure of expenses is greater than most SBC church budgets... probably by double or more.

Would comment more but I am out the door to set up for our senior Christmas banquet which is gifted (for each senior) by caring church members and using no budgeted monies.

Of course, as a local church we could use some of the CP dollars given to meet our budget this year. does anyone have a form to fill out to get some of our money back? ;-)


Anonymous said...

The IMB cut some trustee meeting expenses last year and their cuts in programs have been well publicized. The XComm just consolidated and eliminated some stuff, though Bobby Welch and Ken Hemphill are evidently still on the payroll with their programs.