NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Giving through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program reached the second-highest mark in history during the 2000-2001 fiscal year, falling short of the previous year’s total by .75 percent, according to a news release from the treasurer of the SBC, Morris H. Chapman.
Designated gifts to SBC causes, meanwhile, climbed 4.7 percent during the period from Oct. 1, 2000, to Sept. 30, 2001, Chapman reported.
Southern Baptists gave $176,962,402 to support national and international missions and ministries through CP Missions during the fiscal year and another $170,947,075 in designated gifts primarily through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
The $176,962,402 in CP gifts, meanwhile, was 5.34 percent above the CP Allocation Budget of $167,996,385, a budget based on the 1999-2000 CP fiscal year.
“I know I speak for our missionaries around the world and students enrolled in our six seminaries when I say, ‘Thank you,’ to all Southern Baptists for their faithfulness in giving even in the midst of an economic slowdown nationally,” Chapman told Baptist Press.
“The recent attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have jolted all Christians into a greater sense of urgency as we have been reminded that ‘now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation’ (2 Corinthians 6:2),” he continued. “This is not an hour for a ministry pullback. It is a time for doubling our efforts to spread the gospel here at home and around the world. This will only be possible to the degree we support these efforts with our tithes and offerings through the Cooperative Program.”
Chapman reported that Southern Baptists’ gifts to CP Missions “fell just short of reaching an all-time high for an eighth consecutive year. While CP gifts were slightly under last year’s receipts, designated receipts increased 4.7 percent over last year. In addition, CP receipts for the year were over budget by 5.34 percent. Consequently, no SBC entity was forced to scale back ministries that were included in its 2000-2001 budget.
“However, the seminaries received a smaller percentage of designations (excluding Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong) going to SBC entities than would have been received had the same dollars gone through the Cooperative Program,” Chapman noted. “This is one of the downsides of societal-type designations. The Cooperative Program helps to maintain an equitable distribution of allocations to ensure that the mission boards, seminaries and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission have operational funds to carry out the assignments given them by the Southern Baptist Convention.”
For September, CP gifts of $16,369,691 were 5.97 percent above September 2000’s $15,447,337, while designated gifts of $4,115,060 for the month were 32.83 percent above the $3,098,039 received a year earlier.
For the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, September’s receipts of $16,369,691 were 16.93 percent above the budgeted amount of $13,999,698.
The SBC Cooperative Program total includes receipts from individuals, churches, state conventions and fellowships for distribution according to the 2000-2001 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ method of supporting missions and ministry efforts of state and regional conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention. In addition to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, designated contributions include the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund and other special gifts.
State and regional conventions retain a percentage of Cooperative Program contributions they receive from the churches to support work in their areas and send the remaining funds to the Executive Committee for national and international ministries. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of each state or regional convention.