Friday, February 3, 2012

Cooperative Program or the Designated Offerings?

Are Southern Baptist Churches showing a trend which increases designated gifts to SBC entities and lowers gifts to the Cooperative Program?

The latest CP giving statistics for the current year are reported by Baptist Press in the story headlined, "CP moves ahead of budgeted goal."

Perhaps this is a good subject for positive reporting, given that not much in the way of good news is available on budgets and giving these days. Although year-to-date CP giving is slightly down, the SBC YTD budgeted goal has been covered.We're in the black. Good.

Not to be missed is the fact that total CP YTD gifts were down from the same period last year by over one-half million dollars, a decrease of about one percent.

Note this paragraph:
Designated giving of $40,729,354.48 for the same year-to-date period is 8.72 percent, or $3,267,717.60, above gifts of $37,461,636.88 received at this point last year. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
CP giving is down a half million, about a percent. Designated giving is up over three million, almost nine percent. Is there a trend here? Time will tell.

It is not lost on pastors and churches that if they want to support the International Mission Board and North American Mission Boards the strongest and most efficient way to do this is by the mission offerings or other designated channels. A dollar designated is a dollar to NAMB or the IMB. A dollar to the CP is about twenty cents to the IMB and a dime to NAMB.

Many, most, of the state conventions have made declarations of intent to move towards a CP division that keeps less in-state. The pace is glacial for this. The difference in allocations is minimal.

There is an alternative and churches are well aware of it: increase designated giving. NAMB and the IMB instantly and significantly benefit.

The Cooperative Program is our wonderful, aggregate denominational giving system. It works well enough to underwrite our vast panoply of institutions and entities. It doesn't work well in adjusting to changes over the decades.

Some among us decry going back to the societal plan. We're not going back to it. We never left it. Since the creation of the CP, we've always had a combination of the two.

Part of a single fiscal year doesn't make a trend but it's looking like the scales are tipping towards societal a bit.


Howell Scott said...


Interesting data that you share. Of course, the trend could change even more in the coming years as many churches (including perhaps mine) reduce our giving to the designated offerings -- particularly Annie Armstrong -- and redirect that to our State Missions offerings and/or through CP via the State Conventions.

Yet to be determined is how NAMB will go about planting churches. If they do begin to fund "sending" churches with NAMB money and those sending churches then go into states to plant new churches without so much as giving the states a heads up as to what they are doing, you will begin to see churches in those states defund NAMB. It's unfortunate, but money seems to be the only thing that will get the attention of some of the national leaders. Hope you have a great weekend. God bless,


William said...

Kevin Ezell has the hardest job in the SBC these days (although some state convention CEOs whose revenues are plummeting would argue with me on that). It's looking like his 16 months as NAMB leader have been a distinct improvement, although I recognize that there are some land mines out there for him.

Note my 2012 prediction that the 2011AAEO will show a definite increase.

Anonymous said...

In periods of high stress, values tend to be enacted with higher levels of consistency. We will see if SBC will have a Cooperative Program or a Competitive Program, although GCG seeks to redefine the latter as the former.

Stephen Fox said...

Anybody with a conscience should desginate since Richard Land is even less shameless than ever being a tool for karl Rove and his narrative for power. See Diane Rehm show of Feb one on Slime and the discussion of how Rove's oil pockets work then consider the history and connections of Pressler and Land.
It's a mockery of the Best of the Baptist tradition and Biblical themes of justice as conservative scholar Ross Douthat will point out in an upcoming book on the hijacking of evangelical tradtion in America