Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Feet to the fire: Plodder's 2011 Predictions

Last December, I made some predictions for 2011: Plodders predictions, er, conjectures for 2011

I am hereby holding myself accountable for the rash things I offered then. Here's a look at them one year later.

1. International Mission Board. I predicted that trustees would settle on "a known SBC figure rather than an obscure missions-driven person" to be CEO. I further specified that the individual "will either be a megachurch pastor or have strong mega connections."

I was right by a circuituous route, it turns out. Tom Elliff is a former mega pastor.
I also predicted that there would be continued funding shortfalls. Lottie Moon was down over $3m for 2010.

Plodder hits prediction paydirt on this one (though I wish I had been wrong on the LMCO).

2. North American Mission Board. I predicted that the new CEO would "make some major policy changes, including direct funding to some megachurches." I rate myself as half-right on this, the former true, the latter not true, yet.

I predicted that "the Annie Armstrong offering will yet again fall far short of the goal." Although the totals haven't been released, the goal will almost certainly not be met. I said that "declining Cooperative Program giving will force more staffing cuts." NAMB has stopped funding some positions, mainly as part of the shift in the kickback funds to state conventions.

I give myself a "half-right" on these.

3. Cooperative Program. I predicted that "the decades long decline in the percentage of church offering plate dollars devoted to the CP will continue." Well, the stats aren't in on that. The CP did show the tiniest increase for the fiscal year ending in September which, coupled with an overall decline in church revenues, may actually show an increase in CP church percentages.

I am still not optimistic that the percentage has hit its floor yet.

I rate my prediction "Undetermined."

4. Great Commission Resurgence Recommendations. I predicted that "Even though a number of state conventions declared they would move towards a 50/50 state/national CP split, little movement in this direction will actually occur."

Some state conventions made what I would term major moves in this direction. The South Carolina Baptist Convention made substantial and significant cuts to in-state stuff and even budgeted to send funds directly to the IMB, bypassing the Executive Committee. Overall, state conventions are still in the mode of making declarations. The checks haven’t been written.

I give myself a "undetermined" on this one.

5. Assorted odd stuff.

An SBC megachurch pastor will be involved in a major scandal. Nope. Not that I am aware of. Plodder strikes out on this one.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will continue to eke out an existence but will not find their ‘revisioning’ sufficiently visionary to infuse new life into an organization that still has the identity of being the anti-SBC. I’ll renew this one for 2012. They’re still working on it.

The Southern Baptists of Texas convention will surpass the Baptist General Convention of Texas in revenues. Nope. Didn’t happen. The BGCT has stabilized somewhat and in 11 months has received more than the SBTC’s entire budget. It will happen one day but I'm Texas toast on this one.

GuideStone, recognizing that their health insurance product is struggling, that their pool of insured is older and sicker, and that they will soon to be priced out of the market, will make changes to keep it from total collapse. Premiums will nonetheless go up. Yep. Premiums up. Benefits cut. Same old story.

Frank Page will prove to be less hands-on with Baptist Press than his predecessor, even though he made BP part of his PR office. I don’t know about this prediction although BP has noticeably avoided certain stories.

OK, so I picked the low hanging fruit from last year's predictions. Next week I'll promise to go out on a limb with predictions for 2012.


Anonymous said...

There was a small article in the SC Baptist Courier last week announcing that overall CP giving was down 11% this year. You should check it out. I've been surprised more people haven't been speaking about it.


Bill Pfister
Taylors, SC

William Thornton said...

A slight increase in CP receipts, 0.06%, was reported for fiscal 2010-2011 which ended Sep 30th.

The courier article (from Baptist Press) noted the steep decline of CP gifts for the first two months (Oct, Nov) of the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

I am almost certain that overall church offering plate receipts were down for 2011. If the same period is used to figure the % of these given through the CP, which was up, then the overall % might be up for the first time in decades. If so, it will be mainly because churches received less in offerings.

I don't think that the general longrunning downward trend has been stopped or reversed.

Christa Brown said...

Re: "An SBC megachurch pastor will be involved in a major scandal"

I'd say you got this one right, though I wish it were otherwise. Quoted from 11/9/11 ABP, this scandal saw the light of day in 2011:

"... a Mississippi minister indicted on eight counts of sexual abuse of five boys was fired by Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas over similar allegations in 1989, but church leaders -- including then-new pastor and future Southern Baptist Convention president Jack Graham -- did not call the police."


Jeff said...

"GuideStone, recognizing that their health insurance product is struggling, that their pool of insured is older and sicker, and that they will soon to be priced out of the market..."

What other option does the average SBC pastor have? Just curious, in case somebody knows.

Anonymous said...

The Plodder is prophetic -- do you see things? :)

Thanks ... I enjoyed this!