Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cooperative Program Sunday: Straight talk on the Cooperative Program

Cooperative Program Sunday on the beloved denominational calendar was April 10th, last Sunday. Some churches observed it. Some didn't. It should have been observed.

Here are some straight talk observations about our primary denominational giving plan.

  • CP revenues are up this year. The SBC Executive Committee is six months, half-way, through the fiscal year and are able to report that CP receipts at the SBC level are 3.09% above the same period for last year. This is an indication that this fiscal year will show a CP increase, good news for all of us. The six month report also showed designated giving (almost all of it Lottie Moon offering receipts) up a robust 8.41% meaning that we might be justified in expecting a record Lottie Moon offering when it is reported by IMB in June.
  • The Cooperative Program is still our main denominational support program. It may not generate quite what it used to but it still generates $479 million to state and national SBC causes. No one except the federal government sniffs at almost half a billion dollars in revenue.
  • The Cooperative Program is mostly a state convention program - always has been, probably always will be. State conventions keep about 62% of every CP dollar. This is roughly the historical level of state/national proportions, although the states are slightly decreasing the percentage they keep.
  • While critically important to NAMB and IMB, the CP contributes a little over one-third to the annual budget of each. 
  • At the SBC level most giving is designated giving, not CP giving. This is because we have always had a mixed system, cooperative and societal, and the amount of the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings combined is above $200 million each year.. 
  • Lottie Moon alone will exceed CP giving (at the SBC level) by the CP's centennial in 2025, unless trends change.
  • Most of the energy at the state convention level is expended on reducing the state CP percentage. If the main thrust is in reducing organizational revenues, it's hard to see a vision for a more vibrant future for state conventions but, let's be optimistic that they can do more with less.
  • The state convention that leads in total CP dollars, average CP percentage of the churches and per capita CP giving is....[hint: the state's main football program generates about four times as much revenue as the budget of the state convention]

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