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SBC Cooperative Program year total sets 5th consecutive record


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Southern Baptist Convention ended the 1997-98 fiscal year with record Cooperative Program gifts, nearly $160 million, surpassing last year’s record by about $5 million and the budget by more than $11 million, according to Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee.
For the SBC’s fiscal year, Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, the $159,583,743 total for 1997-98 is $4,578,020, or 2.95 percent, above last year’s record of $155,005,723. The SBC’s Cooperative Program Allocation Budget for the year of $148,185,077 was surpassed by $11,398,666, or 7.69 percent.
The increase in total gifts is the fifth year in a row the SBC Cooperative Program totals have set a record.
“This fifth year record is a testimony to the health of our convention,” Chapman said. “Southern Baptists love for missions and our cooperative efforts in sending missionaries, planting churches and educating ministers continues to be a vivid testimony of our love for Jesus Christ. This will help us be a witness to people of the good news that Christ brings to a lost world.”
Chapman said one of the results of another record total in CP gifts is the two mission boards will receive $5,249,085 more than called for in the regular budget.
“This is an amazing story reflecting the heartbeat of Southern Baptists, their love for missions,” Chapman said.
Chapman referred to the policy adopted by the convention which calls for CP gifts above the budget in a year to be divided 50 percent according to the regular budget formula and the remaining 50 percent divided according to the Capital Needs Budget. As a result, the International Mission Board will receive $76,942204 and the North American Mission Board $36,170,798 from 1997-98 SBC Cooperative Program gifts.
The $5.7 million distributed according to the Capital Needs Budget is part of a ten-year project, 1990-91 through 1999-2000, to fund capital needs at the six SBC seminaries and the North American Mission Board. There was $8.8 million left to fund in that Capital Needs Budget at the start of the 1997-98 fiscal year, thus leaving about $3.1 million left to fund in succeeding years.
Designated gifts also set a record, topping last year’s designated gifts by more than $9 million. The 1997-98 designated gifts total is $150,593,868 compared to last year’s total of $141,547,993. The 6.39 percent increase for 1997-98 makes it also a record for the fifth year in a row.
Adding the record Cooperative Program and designated gifts for the 1997-98 year, Southern Baptists gave more than $310 million last year through regular channels for the mission and education enterprise of the Southern Baptist Convention.
For the month of September, the CP total was $12,470,453 compared to September 1997 of $13,512,684, a difference of $1,042,231 or 7.71 percent. Designated gifts for the month were $2,549,247, or $100,553 more than the $2,448,693 in September 1997.
The September 1998 total was $121,697 more than the required monthly budget amount of $12,348,756, or an increase of .99 percent.
The SBC Cooperative Program total includes receipts from individuals, churches, state conventions and fellowships for distribution according to the 1997-98 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. Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions, world hunger 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.

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  • Herb Hollinger