NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — Year-to-date contributions to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries received by the SBC Executive Committee are 7.01 percent below the same time frame last year, according to a news release from SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Page. The total includes receipts from state conventions and fellowships, churches and individuals for distribution according to the 2011-12 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
As of Dec. 31, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget totaled $44,269,203.77, or $3,334,711.13 behind the $47,603,914.90 received at the end of December 2010.
For the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, the year-to-date total of $44,269,203.77 is 95.20 percent of the $46,500,000 budgeted to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America.
Designated giving of $11,700,343.07 for the same year-to-date period is 3.04 percent, or $367,237.99, below gifts of $12,067,581.06 received at this point last year. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
“It is a great blessing to witness the faithfulness of God’s people to give to God’s work even in difficult times,” Page said, citing the lingering impact of the economic crisis that has affected so many churches. Noting that consumer confidence continues to lag, he said, “Our confidence in God’s gracious provision has not wavered. The promise of Philippians 4:19 remains true — our God ‘will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.'”
The Cooperative Program is a program of giving through which a local church is able to contribute to the various ministries of its state convention and to the various missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention with a single contribution.
Traditionally, state and regional conventions have acted as collecting entities for Cooperative Program contributions. They retain a portion of church contributions to the Cooperative Program to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to Southern Baptist national and international causes. The percentage of distribution from the states is at the discretion of the messengers of each state convention through the adoption of the state convention’s annual budget.
A key facet of the Cooperative Program is the commitment of each state convention to comply with the SBC Business and Financial Plan. It states, “By agreement, all sums collected in the states for the causes fostered by this Convention will be forwarded at least monthly by each state office to the Executive Committee of this Convention, which shall act as the disbursing agent of this Convention.” In turn, the Executive Committee complies with the Business and Financial Plan by remitting “weekly to each of the entities of the Convention the funds, distributable and designated, belonging to each entity.”
CP allocation budget receipts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state offices, to the denominational papers and are posted online at www.cpmissions.net/CPReports.
December’s CP allocation receipts for SBC work totaled $15,841,476.75. This is the first month in the new fiscal year that contributions have exceeded monthly budget projections. Designated gifts received last month, meanwhile, amounted to $4,442,071.94.
The end-of-month total represents money received by the Executive Committee by the close of the last business day of each month. Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the number of Sundays in a given month, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions and the timing of when state conventions forward the national portion of their CP contributions to the Executive Committee.
During the last fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2010 – Sept. 30, 2011), Cooperative Program receipts for the year were up 0.06 percent — the first increase since 2007. Combined CP and designated giving for the year, meanwhile, were up 0.17 percent.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff.