I assume "request" here really means "requirement."
The story in The Christian Index is probably not fully available online but here is the link: Church Planters Assistance policy updated
Five percent is about average for all GBC churches these days and it was commented that the church plants who were required to double that figure resented it and that the ten percent requirement contributed to church plants going independent once the checks stopped coming from the GBC. The thinking is that with less requirement and less resentment on account of it, then churches will have a better relationship with the SBC and GBC and stay with us.
In order to receive funds, church plants were previously required to give 10 percent to Southern Baptist missions causes through the Cooperative Program. But that average amount has been declining for several years and should no longer be considered the benchmark, committee members said. The amount that is now requested – not required – has been lowered to 5 percent.
“We feel that giving church planters more freedom in how they support Southern Baptist missions will build far stronger relationships than dictating how they support missions. And when their funding from the Convention is eventually exhausted, we believe they will feel much better about continuing their relationship with us,” he explained.
The concern was that new church plants resented the giving level mandate and some left the Convention and became independent after the three-year funding was exhausted. The policy change is seen as a healthy way to stem the loss and to boost the number of church plants that grow into healthy Georgia Baptist churches.
Sounds like a reasonable change to me.
- Wonder why the phrase "Great Commission Giving" did not seem to make it into the article or policy?
- Wonder what the defection rate for church plants has been?
The entire policy statement is below:
Church Planters Assistance Policy
The Administration Committee recommends to the Executive Committee the following policy:
Recognizing that church plants, the local association, and the state convention are partners in ministry working toward reducing lostness, the Georgia Baptist Convention will encourage, support, and build relationships with church planters receiving financial assistance provided by the Cooperative Program gifts of Georgia Baptists.
Recognizing the autonomy of church plants, the Georgia Baptist Convention will request church planters to lead their congregations to give at least 10% to missions with gifts through the Cooperative Program at least equal to the current average percentage of Cooperative Program gifts from our Georgia Baptist churches. Understanding that we would like our church plants to be more than average in their giving through the Cooperative Program, we request that they exceed the current average which is a little over 5%. Further, we request that each church plant recognize the importance of its relationship with the Convention and other church plants by giving at least 1% to the Georgia Baptist Church Planting Fund. Any remaining mission funds up to the requested 10% is to be distributed as the new church plant chooses with the encouragement to recognize its relationship with other partners such as the local association.