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FBC Springdale trades TV for CP

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP)–First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., is suspending its national and international television broadcast to increase contributions through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program by 25 percent.

Ronnie Floyd, First Baptist’s senior pastor and chairman of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force that completed its work in June, made the announcement in worship services June 27.

“For a few months, God has really been working in my life about what actions I need to take and our church needs to take to get the Gospel to the nations in a more effective manner,” Floyd wrote in a June 28 post on his website, www.ronniefloyd.com. “Serving as the chairman of Southern Baptists’ Great Commission Resurgence Task Force has so changed my life and ministry perspective.”

The reallocation will bring the congregation’s Cooperative Program giving to $500,000 for the church fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, Floyd said. That represents a 25 percent increase over the 2009-10 budget and more than doubles the $243,000 the congregation gave just two years ago.

Floyd said the congregation “will continue to have a weekly reach into our region and perhaps our state” through television but that “for a season of time, two or three years or perhaps for a long time beyond, we are suspending our national and international television ministry in order to allocate more money to seeing the nations come to Christ through the work of Southern Baptists.”

In making the decision to suspend the weekly broadcast on the Dallas-based DayStar Television Network, Floyd said “… I had to ask myself several hard questions: Is the pure Gospel being preached on this channel by someone besides me? The answer is yes. Is this the best way to appropriate monies so the Gospel can go where it has never been before? The answer is no. While exceptions to this might be justifiable on a secular network, I felt the answer was no on this network, even though we had witnessed many come to faith in Christ. I felt for us to allocate more monies so that more missionaries could go to North America and to the nations of the world would at this time be more beneficial for Kingdom work. Therefore, on Sunday, July 18, we will have our last national and international television broadcast for this season of our lives.”

The GCR Task Force’s recommendation, endorsed by messengers to the June 15-16 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Orlando, to establish a broader giving category called “Great Commission Giving” had been criticized by some who said it “jeopardizes the Cooperative Program,” Floyd noted, adding that the criticism “never made sense to me at all” because “I knew our own growing commitment to the Cooperative Program.”

First Baptist’s Cooperative Program giving increases the past two years were made “in the worst of economies,” Floyd noted, in spite of the fact that “last year our own church cut our budget $600,000 and our staff team is closing in on year two without any raises.”

The increased Cooperative Program allocation “will come from the source of our budget alone, be consistent annually and become our base commitment in years to come,” Floyd added. “This will also allow more monies in the future to be allocated through our ‘Reaching Our Mission Offering’ for Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong” [the special missions offerings, respectively, for the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board].

“With Internet technology, television is changing anyway, and we will engage in new ways to connect through the Web around the world,” Floyd said. Calling the Cooperative Program “our financial priority as Southern Baptists to see the nations come to Christ,” he added: “We believe this strategic and financial move for our ministry will result in placing the Gospel into our state, nation, and world in a more effective long-term way. Please pray for God’s blessing and financial provision for our ministry. We must do so much more in years to come to get the Gospel to the nations.

“I thank God for this GCR process that has so changed my life and perspective,” Floyd concluded. “Thanks for walking with me through this GCR journey. May we truly see a Great Commission Resurgence. May the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Glory of God be extended to the nations!”

Using figures for 2009, the $500,000 Cooperative Program contribution would have represented 3.7 percent of First Baptist Springdale’s $13.37 million in undesignated receipts, and $79.23 per capita for the church’s 6,310 primary worship attendance, as reported that year through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Church Profile.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.

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