NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Year-to-date contributions through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program are 4.31 percent above the same timeframe in 2005, according to a news release from SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Morris H. Chapman.
As of June 30, 2006, the year-to-date total of $151,274,474.46 for Cooperative Program (CP) Missions is $6,257,350.56 above the $145,017,123.90 received at the same point in 2005. For the month, CP receipts of $17,182,506.07 were 36.86 percent, or $4,627,305.54 above the $12,555,200.53 received in June 2005.
The 4.31 percent year-to-date increase is the largest growth trend seen at this point in the year during this decade.
A push to increase support for the Cooperative Program has been a recurring issue in 2006. Messengers at the annual meeting adopted a report calling for churches “to give an increasing percentage of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program” and for Southern Baptists to elect leaders whose churches “systematically and enthusiastically lead by example in giving sacrificially and proportionally through the Cooperative Program.” Leadership in CP support was a much-discussed topic in the SBC presidential race.
Southern Baptists’ designated giving of $172,936,738.13 for year-to-date is 1.19 percent, or $2,038,720.70, above gifts of $170,898,017.43 received at this point last year. The $25,155,142.47 in designated gifts received last month is $11,615,755.58 above the $13,539,386.89 received in June 2005, an increase of 85.79 percent.
Contributions to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering fueled the upsurge in designated gifts, with receipts of $21,760,758.73 for the month, compared to the $11,698,464.18 received in May. Year-to-date giving to the offering reached $45,007,315.83, exceeding by $1,305,514.18, or 2.99 percent, the $43,701,801.65 received at the same point last year.
Chapman expressed gratitude to Southern Baptists for their faithfulness and sacrifice.
“The recent upsurge in Cooperative Program giving demonstrates once again the incredible heart of Southern Baptists to carry forward the greatest missionary efforts since the early church,” Chapman said in a statement to Baptist Press. “Also, in spite of recent uncertainty, Southern Baptists gave generously to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering to support our efforts to reach North America with the Gospel.
“It is not only a tremendous encouragement to witness the incredible consistency of Southern Baptists in their support for the Cooperative Program,” he added, “but also to see the current increase in giving toward North American missions.
For the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, the year-to-date total of $151,274,474.46 is 106.23 percent of the $142,398,941.22 budget, or $8,875,533.24 more to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America.
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ method of supporting missions and ministry efforts of state and regional conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Cooperative Program total includes receipts from individuals, churches, state conventions and fellowships for distribution according to the 2005-06 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund and other special gifts.
State and regional conventions retain a portion of church contributions to the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to Southern Baptist national and international causes. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of each state or regional convention.