Check the crude line graph below. The red line is the Cooperative Program giving received at the Executive Committee and the green line is the Lottie Moon offering. (SBC geeks will find some slight differences in the figures due to slightly different calendars and how the Executive Committee reports figures).
The Cooperative program is $14.6 million less than five years ago. These have been tough years. In contrast, the Lottie Moon offering has almost recovered to the giving amount of five years ago.
Southern Baptists have increased their giving to the LMCO for three of the past five years while gifts to the Cooperative Program showed decreases each year except for one where there was a very slight increase.
Any reasonable projection of the trend lines comparing these two offerings would have them growing closer and closer together. The Cooperative Program is declining. The Lottie Moon offering is increasing.
Here's a striking factoid: At the SBC level giving is now distinctly more designated than cooperative. While the total for Cooperative Program gifts and designated gifts have been about equal for some years, at the close of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, designated giving was $2.7 million greater than Cooperative Program giving.
It seems clear that Southern Baptists are having to prioritize their giving and North American and international missions are being increased, though slightly, while the Cooperative Program continues is slow, steady slog downward.
It's a lot tougher to promote a market basket of ministries than it is to zero in on church planting in North America or reaching the billions who need Christ around the world.
I see nothing on the horizon that will change these trends. I expect when the Lottie Moon 2013 figures are in next June that it will have surpassed $150 million again.