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CP, up 6.05 percent; suggests strengthening cooperation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–With year-to-date contributions through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program now 6.05 percent ahead of the same time frame in 2006, SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Morris H. Chapman noted, “This surge in giving through the Cooperative Program can be seen as nothing less than God’s extended blessing upon the work of Southern Baptists to extend the Gospel to the world.

“I think what we are seeing from Southern Baptists is a resurgence of attention to cooperation among us,” Chapman said. “It is too early to tell, and the Cooperative Program is just one indicator of the health of our convention, but an important one.

“We need to see continued focus on cooperation if the convention is to grow spiritually, and I believe that revival among Southern Baptists is essential if we are to see revival in America,” Chapman said.

As of Feb. 28, the year-to-date total of $87,085,551.85 for Cooperative Program (CP) missions is $4,969,398.67 ahead of the $82,116,153.18 received at the same point in 2006. For the month, receipts of $19,736,793.81 were 21.50 percent, or $3,493,131.70, above the $16,243,662.11 received in February 2006.

Designated giving of $93,466,830.74 for the same year-to-date period is 17.22 percent, or $13,732,516.17, above gifts of $79,734,314.57 received at this point last year. The $56,430,564.51 in designated gifts received last month is $15,238,554.21 above the $41,192,010.30 received in February 2006, an increase of 36.99 percent.

For the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, the year-to-date total of $87,085,551.85 is 106.66 percent of the $81,645,176.06 budgeted to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America. The SBC operates on an Oct. 1-Sept. 30 fiscal year.

Bob Rodgers, vice president for Cooperative Program & stewardship with the Executive Committee, said the CP report reflects “SBC churches and state conventions committing themselves afresh to reaching the lost on a global scale.”

“This is evidence of the power of cooperative and sacrificial giving,” Rodgers said. “The Holy Spirit multiplies these gifts to accomplish His purpose on a scale much greater than what we can do individually.”

During the Southern Baptist Convention’s last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, Cooperative Program gifts topped the $200-million mark for the first time, with the 2005-06 fiscal year’s total of $200,601,536.29 marking a 2.37 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ method of supporting missions and ministry efforts of state 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.

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