Monday, September 9, 2013

Why is the Cooperative Program down this year?

Surely there are folks at the Executive Committee who analyze such things.

Baptist Press reports "CP slightly above budgeted goal for year" which is the positive way to spin the figures that show the Cooperative Program to be running about $2.4 million behind the total give for the same period last year. SBC entities budgeted conservatively so the budgets needs have been met with the amount given and are running every so slightly above budget needs, about $153,000. It is good to meet a budget.

The budget year has one more month to go. Maybe there will be some 'catch-up' giving by the state conventions and the CP will be up for the year.

The stock market is up. Unemployment is down. Are church finances less stable than last year? Is there still a heavy pall on future finances for churches that churches are reluctant to increase their CP giving?
I don't see significant numbers of churches cutting their CP giving over any SBC issues.

Slice the giving any way you wish, the CP is still a huge funding engine and the $188 million budgeted for SBC entities should be achieved. Add to that the majority of CP giving which stays with state conventions and you have close to half a billion dollars in funding.


Unknown said...

Needing some clarity here. Are you saying that CP giving is down because State Conventions are keeping too much money? I know this has been a line of thinking put forward by some in national leadership (ref. Dr. Akin, "bloated bureaucracy").

"Slice the giving any way you wish, the CP is still a huge funding engine and the $188 million budgeted for SBC entities should be achieved. Add to that the majority of CP giving which stays with state conventions and you have close to half a billion dollars in funding."

Bennett Willis said...

I was a church treasurer for several years. It was amazing how it worked out that if you made a accurate guess about what might come in for the coming year--and then budgeted to this--that it was an easy year financially.

The years that we messed up on the estimate were difficult.

William Thornton said...

States aren't keeping significantly more or less in 2013 than last year. The percentage kept is in the low 60s.

Since many of the legacy SBC states have plans to move to a 50/50 split, I think it safe to say that Southern Baptists generally believe the states are keeping too much.

Tom Parker said...


Do you think folks are designating more of their SBC offerings and thus less is going into the CP program?

Anonymous said...

Lottie and Annie are showing slight increases while CP is still dropping.


Unknown said...

What are your thoughts on the impact of GCR on CP giving? It seems that a number of the larger churches are bypassing state conventions altogether and are giving directly to the entity of their choice. Is this a contributing factor in CP giving numbers decreasing?

Just trying to get a firm grip on the tail of this tiger. ;-)

William Thornton said...

Don't know about GCG. Haven't seen any suggestion that it has changed anything but reporting the numbers.

One state convention, SC, bypasses,the Executive Committee and sends some, a small part, of their CP money direct to IMB. Since churches already give directly to IMB and NAMB, it is a simple extension of that to give monthly or quarterly to those instead of just the week of prayer seasons. I don't have figures on whether or not this method is significant.

Jonathan said...

"The stock market is up."

Well, yes and no. The index numbers that the financial media uses to track the stock markets (Dow XXX, S&P XXX, etc...) are near record highs in terms of absolute numbers. But since the FED has been "printing" money (i.e. increasing the nation's money supply) in huge amounts monthly, the value of each dollar has been in decline. So the market is up, relative value is in decline. Oh, and as soon as the FED started talking about someday slowing this increase in the money supply, interest rates have started back up (bringing another set of problems).

"Unemployment is down."

Not really. The drop in the unemployment rate is now driven by part time jobs (which all have an Obamacare target on them) and the people who have just stopped working. If we measured unemployment the way we did during the 1930s, unemployment in 2012 would have been higher than during any year during the Great Depression.

So average wealth is down, average incomes are down, and the average age at which attenders/members become serious tithers seems to be rising. Add to this the fact that loyalty, to local church, to denominational institutions, etc... is shrinking in the 30 and under crowd, and you have a recipe for an ongoing SBC funding concern.

Jonathan said...

As CP continues to decline (and it surely will), we will need to continue questioning/evaluating how we, as SBCers, spend money.

Last week, Russell Moore was inaugurated as the latest President of the ERLC. Two quick questions: 1) How much is the ERLC annual budet - including salaries, 2) What does this spending actually do for SBCers?