If the CP has some flawed DNA that makes it virtually impossible to ever change substantially, is there anything that will make it more attractive to SBC pastors and churches?
Asked another way, since churches have consistently, relentlessly chosen to support the CP less and less, and that for decades, what might arrest that trend?
I think that there are three possibilities for making the CP more attractive:
1. State Conventions keep less of the funds. As I said yesterday, I am not optimistic about anything significant here. Suppose the states keep, say, 57 cents of a dollar instead of 62 cents. Who is enthused about that? Not me.
There is elasticity in the "pricing" (the amount kept by state conventions) of the CP to churches but we will not see a demand change without substantial lowering of the "price." Bryant Wright talked about the states cutting their share by half, an unlikely event.
My favorite candy bar is a Baby Ruth. I love them. I buy them occasionally. Would a price drop from 62 cents for a bar to 57 drive me to go out an buy more? Unlikely. It's just a nickel but if the price went to 35 cents I might stock up.
As a factor in increasing CP revenues, I don't see any change that state conventions will be willing to make to cause it.
2. The Executive Committee significantly changes the allocation formula for the mission boards to receive more. Nothing will happen here. IMB, NAMB, and the seminaries will continue to get their historic percentages, with a tweak here or there.
3. Internal changes at our major SBC entities: IMB, NAMB, seminaries. Kevin Ezell, in the short span of a single year, has substantially changed NAMB. It is much more attractive to me and much more likely to see an increase in my support. IMB has a leader change but I don't see much institution change. I support it and will continue. The seminaries keep rocking along. I don't see anything much that pushes my button among them.
But even if our two main entities, IMB and NAMB, are made to be much more attractive, efficient, and functional in carrying out their mission, will I be motivated to express my increased support by increasing CP giving, or by increasing Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings?
This is simple. The most efficient and effective way to express support of the two mission agencies is to increase Lottie and Annie, not to increase CP support. Who is not aware that another dollar to the CP yields only about 20 cents to IMB and 10 to NAMB. It's a no brainer.
One might find support for this in the CP figures just released. Designated causes, mainly Lottie and Annie, increased several times that of the CP. The increased revenues are all small dollar numbers but I think my reading of them is accurate.
There will be a day when the economy is booming again, when church revenues are increasing and when CP revenues will increase. There will come a day when the percentage of church offering plate dollars given through the CP will stop declining and even bump up a point or so. But I don't see a day when the SBC will ever move back to anywhere near double digit percentages.
We have a new CP normal and will have to live with it.