NASHVILLE (BP) — Contributions to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries received by the SBC Executive Committee in October were 6.72 percent below the same month last year, according to a news release from SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page. The total includes receipts from state conventions and fellowships, churches and individuals for distribution according to the 2012-13 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
As of Oct. 31, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget totaled $13,602,300.64, or $979,228.28 below the $14,581,528.92 received in October 2011.
“This shortfall in the opening month of the fiscal year follows a historical pattern when both August and October are four-Sunday months,” Page said. State conventions typically receive their August church contributions in early September and forward their September gifts to the SBC in early October.
“This is the fifth time in the past nine years that the opening month of the new fiscal year followed this pattern,” Page said. “When we compare these October-to-October giving patterns from other four-Sunday years, the decline averaged 8.8 percent, so this is a slight improvement. Thankfully, in each instance, we have also seen a significant rebound through the first quarter of the fiscal year. We anticipate we will see the same thing this year.”
Meanwhile, designated giving of $3,057,007.79 during October was 21.45 percent, or $834,657.37, below gifts of $3,891,665.16 received last October. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
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.
For the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, the October total of $13,602,300.64 is 86.82 percent of the $15,666,666.67 monthly budget to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America.
During the last fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2011 – Sept. 30, 2012), Cooperative Program receipts for the year ended 3 percent over budget and at 99.41 percent of the previous year’s contributions. Page noted at that time that “those who research these things tell us that church giving usually lags one to two years behind the general economy.”
“The Executive Committee has sought to achieve a balance between faith and realism when setting its budget projections for the year just ended and the one just beginning,” Page added. “Given the sacrificial spirit of Southern Baptists, I fully anticipate they will continue to give of their substance to support the vital missions and ministries of their state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention.”
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 2012-13 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.