Here's a couple of fractions for you. These are fractions of a percentage point:
The important thing about these two fractions is that they are black.
Another important thing about these two is that they are positive increases in the percentage of church offering plate dollars given through our Cooperative Program for the past two years.
Cooperative Program giving as a percentage of church undesignated receipts
2012 5.414 + .007
2013 5.500 + .086
The Executive Committee's CP VP has a story about it carried by Baptist Press:
So, no more writing that the Cooperative Program is in this long, slow, steady, relentless slide downward? Nope. If we have had two years where the percentage has ticked upward, even the tiniest fraction upward, it is not sliding downward.
I don't think we're ready for a party with fried chicken and Baptist confetti just yet...but we will take any good news.
Membership is down. Baptisms are down. We are starting churches at the glacially slow rate of about two churches, net, per state convention. Weekly worship attendance is down. The number of church-type missions are down. The number of associations are down.
But the Cooperative Program percentage is up just the tiniest bit. All the figures have not been released but I'm guessing that the CP percentage is up primarily because total church receipts declined. Sort of a back door increase. We will take whatever we can get here.
There are a few things that are up: Lottie Moon had a record offering and, to the chagrin of those who wish not to see such statistics, Great Commission Giving is up, about 4.5%.