The Southern Baptist Convention ended the 1996-97 fiscal year with record Cooperative Program gifts, nearly $155 million, surpassing last year's record by about $7 million and the budget by almost $10 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, CP gifts totaled $154.9 million, compared to last year's record amount of $148,185,076, an increase of $6,789,124, or 4.6 percent.
"Southern Baptists continue to demonstrate their love for missions and our cooperative efforts in sending missionaries, planting churches, and educating ministers," Chapman said. "This fourth record year in a row is a testimony to the health of our convention and will allow our continued witness to people all over the world of the Good News of Jesus Christ."
For the SBC's Program Allocation Budget, the comparison is even more astounding. The budget figure of $145,739,489 has been surpassed by nearly $10 million, or an increase of 6.3 percent.
"As a result of exceeding the budget by nearly $10 million, our two mission boards will receive an additional $3.5 million 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.
Designated gifts for this fiscal year also broke a record at $141,544,046, compared to last year's $138,446,505, an increase of more than $3 million or 2.24 percent.
The SBC Cooperative Program total includes receipts from individuals, churches, state conventions, and fellowships for distribution according to the 1996-97 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 foreign missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for home missions, world hunger, and other special gifts.