The photo above is from the Executive Committee's publication, SBCLife. It is found leading the story, North Carolina Pastors Lead in 1% CP Challenge.
This is a very distinguished looking quintet of outstanding NC pastors who have led their churches to accept Frank Page's Cooperative Program increase plan called the "1% CP Challenge." The plan asks churches to increase their CP percentage of undesignated giving by one percent, i.e., if a church is giving the average of about 5% then increase that by 1 to 6%.
The plan is typical of past CP increase efforts in that it merely asks for more giving. While I wish the Executive Committee would be more creative, "give us more money" being limited in its cachet, I understand that their options are limited.
So, what is wrong with the photo of the five nattily attired reverends who are "leading" North Carolina Baptist pastors and whose churches are increasing their CP percentages?
What's wrong, and perhaps I should say rather, what is missing, is that these are all men of a certain age. I'd guess that the youngest is in his sixth decade.
Nothing wrong with that, it's just that if the Cooperative Program is to have a sunny future, if the CP is to stop its decades long, lugubrious slide downward, then some younger pastors must be found and persuaded to increase their giving. We who are long in the tooth are looking at retirement drawing a lot closer and will not be in position to influence CP giving any longer.
The present Executive Committee staff is relatively open and transparent about CP giving, posting revenues each month, by state, and publicizing the same. In spite of growing church receipts, increasing Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings, decreasing unemployment, and a modestly recovering econonmy, the CP continues to languish. This is cause for concern.
I appreciate the vision of the five notable pastors shown above by which they inform and lead their congregations in increasing giving to our main denominational support plan, but the solution to CP woes is found among those with less gray hair. Touting the CP to the over 50 crowd is like preaching to the choir. They are already on board but 'Amens' are nice wherever one find them.
The Cooperative Program has a problem with younger pastors and SBCers. Recent research shows a clear differential in attitudes of younger pastors relative to their older counterparts. No surprise here.
The question is what can be done about it and I'm not seeing any new ideas, any in-depth research about younger pastor's attitudes, any focus groups, any thirtysomething advisory panels, or any potential ideas floated or tested to see if they can be made to work.