Monday, September 8, 2014

Cooperative Program gifts that bypass state conventions

One of the eyebrow raisers about David Platt's selection as the new president of the International Mission Board was the fact that his church gave a considerable amount ($100,000) directly to the SBC Executive Committee Cooperative Program Allocation Budget. In doing so his church bypassed the Alabama Baptist State Convention which would have lopped off more than half of that amount.

The usual routine is for a church to send their CP gifts to their state convention which keeps most of the money (varies by state but well more than half on average) and sends the remainder to the Executive Committee which by an approved allocation formula keeps a tiny slice and sends the rest to the mission boards, seminaries, and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Churches have always had the option of handling their CP gifts by sending them directly to the EC but not many have availed themselves of it.

This may be changing.

Shown below is the percentage of direct gifts to the Executive Committee CP allocation budget (those that bypass state conventions) as a percentage of total Executive Committee CP gifts:

2011-2012                 2.2%
2012-2013                 2.4%
2013-2014 (YTD)    3.0%

The route Platt's church has taken is not followed by many churches nor for much CP money, about 3% of the total for the eleven months of this fiscal year; however, the proportion is growing. The total amount of CP monies given directly is small, a little over $5 million so far this year. The EC hasn't released the number of churches who give in this manner.

The popular younger SBC minister website, B21, has an article by Jon Akin, CP: Another Way? In this article Akin suggests sending that CP check to the Executive Committee with the instruction that they send 50% back to the state convention for the sending church.

I judged that alternative to be too unwieldy to gain much traction (mainly because of the kickback from EC to the state, makes no sense to add that step) but the option of sending money directly to the EC is growing. Because of his election as IMB president, David Platt's former church is now the poster church for that methodology.

You can like it. You can dislike it. It is part of 21st Century SBC reality.

There are some things growing in Southern Baptist life, brethren. Here are three:

1. Direct gifts to the Executive Committee CP allocation budget, small amounts but growing.
2. Great Commission Giving (see my piece, UPDATED: Great Commisstion Giving vs Cooperative Program Giving, How's That Working Out?). GCG is growing fast but we haven't had much in the way of data reported, just three year's worth.
3. Designated giving received by the Executive Committee, mainly Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings which show slight increases. The EC now receives more in designated giving than in CP giving.

This is where we are. I see nothing that will change it.

1 comment:

Tom Parker said...


I was 22 years old when the TAKEOVER began in 1979 and now I am 57. I wonder often will those that took over this great denomination ever admit the TAKEOVER was a disaster. 35 years is long enough in my opinion for things to get better and from where I sit the SBC is worse off money wise, baptisms, membership, number of missionaries, etc. in great part due to the negative consequences of the TAKEOVER. William, you write honestly about where the SBC is headed, but I think for many others they just can not face the truth.