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SBC Cooperative Program year total sets 6th consecutive record

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–For the sixth consecutive year, the Southern Baptist Convention ended its fiscal year with record Cooperative Program gifts, nearly $168 million, surpassing last year’s record by more than $8 million and the yearly budget by nearly $13 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 $167,996,385 total for 1998-99 is $8,412,641, or 5.27 percent, above last year’s record of $159,583,743. The SBC’s Cooperative Program Allocation Budget for the year of $155,005,723 was surpassed by $12,990,662 or 8.38 percent.
“The Lord has been mighty good to Southern Baptists,” Chapman said during his report to the SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville in September. Chapman anticipated an $8 million increase. “Southern Baptists have been faithful in giving their tithes and offerings.”
The increase in total gifts for the sixth year in a row means the remaining $3.1 million of the SBC’s Capital Needs Budget will be paid, finishing a 10-year capital needs budget a year ahead of schedule. All gifts over the regular budget have been distributed 50 percent to the capital needs budget and 50 percent according to the regular percentage of the allocation budget. Now that the capital needs budget has been completed, all gifts over the regular budget will be forwarded to convention agencies according to the regular CP funding formula, which entails, for example, a 50 percent allocation to the International Mission Board and 22.79 percent to the North American Mission Board.
The 10-year capital needs budget, 1990-91 through 1999-2000, was actually a continuation of the original 1985-1990 capital needs budget of $31.7 million and has funded capital needs at the six SBC seminaries and the North American Mission Board. SBC agencies’ capital needs hereafter would have to be funded from their regular Cooperative Program budget receipts.
“We have every reason to praise the Lord and to thank Southern Baptists across the country,” Chapman said. “We have reason to commend state conventions for working with the SBC in forwarding as much as possible to the SBC for world mission, seminary education for our young ministers and a strong voice for religious liberty, ethics and morality in Washington and beyond.”
Designated receipts also set another record, topping last year’s $150,593,868 by $1,143,328, or .76 percent. The 1998-99 designated gifts total of $151,737,197 set a record also for the sixth year in a row. For September, designated gifts totaled $2,380,033 compared to $2,549,247 a year ago, a decrease of $169,213 or 6.64 percent.
For the last month of the SBC fiscal year, September, the CP gifts totaled $13,586,054 compared to the same month last year of $12,470,453, an increase of $1,115,600 or 8.95 percent. The monthly budget requirement of $12,917,143 was surpassed by $668,910, or 5.18 percent.
Adding the record Cooperative Program and designated gifts for the year 1998-99, Southern Baptists gave $320 million, nearly $10 million more than last year, through regular channels for the mission and education enterprise of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The SBC’s upcoming 75th anniversary celebration of the Cooperative Program — “Partners in the Harvest,” with a goal of $750 million in giving for all Baptist causes during the 2000-2001 fiscal year — can be reached, Chapman said, “with God’s help and the cooperation of loyal Southern Baptist leaders everywhere” — to “literally launch our witness into the next millennium.”
The Cooperative Program is the unified funding plan begun in 1925 through which Baptists cooperate in support of missions and ministries. Three goals have been set for the anniversary celebration:
— Baptize 1 million people in the year 2000.
— Sign up a record number of Baptists for volunteer missions projects.
— Give $750 million in 2000-2001 through CP and special offerings for international, North American and state missions, which would entail an additional $60 million in CP gifts through local churches across the country.
The SBC Cooperative Program total includes receipts from individuals, churches, state conventions and fellowships for distribution according to the 1998-99 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.

    About the Author

  • Herb Hollinger