The "1% Challenge" is simply a request to every Southern Baptist pastor and every Southern Baptist church to increase their Cooperative Program gifts by one percent of their church's undesignated contributions.
Frank S. Page, president of the Executive Committee, issued this challenge during the Executive Committee report at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. He said, "To do better what we're doing together, we're asking you… we challenge you, we encourage you to raise your Cooperative Program support. Would you do that? One percent? Next year?"
During his report, he noted that though the dollar amount contributed through the Cooperative Program has increased fourteen of the past twenty years, a twenty-year decline in percentage of funds forwarded by local churches through the Cooperative Program was a reflection of a much larger cause for concern. He said, "We've been headed in the wrong direction in several ways. In 1989 our gifts to total missions expenditures were 16.5 percent of our total receipts [average per church]. Twenty years later, in 2009, our gifts to total missions expenditures had declined to 12.3 percent. That's a 4.25 percent drop in missions giving. Did you hear me? I'm not even talking about the Cooperative Program, I'm talking about missions expenditures… that is not right!
"Added to this is the individualistic mindset of twenty-first-century churches where everyone assumes they can do what they do best on their own rather than in cooperation with others. We have before us a great challenge and I believe we need to recommit to the principle of unified ministry. What we do best, we do together! To accomplish this, we request that our churches raise their Cooperative Program support by one percent next year."
In the three months since the SBC annual meeting, many pastors and churches have stepped forward to accept the "1% Challenge" for CP. Many state Baptist conventions are adopting this simple plan for their cooperating churches and will present this challenge at their upcoming annual meetings. To view the "1% Challenge" video, go to www.SBC.net and click on the "1% Challenge" video on the home page.
Here's how it works. If your church gave four percent of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program last year, consider giving five percent in the coming year. If your church gave two percent, or perhaps six percent, or even ten percent, consider giving an additional one percent through the Cooperative Program in the coming year. The impact of this simple plan could generate almost one hundred million dollars more to fund the Kingdom enterprises of Southern Baptists. Some churches may see this "1% Challenge" as a starting place to increase the total missions expenditures in their church, accepting a "1% or more" challenge!
No single church alone can reach every unreached and unengaged people group; no individual church can plant churches across North America to reach our nation for Christ; no isolated congregation can accomplish the work of a cooperating state convention; no solitary church can, by itself, equip a new generation of pastors; no single voice alone can sway the direction of our culture. But, together, we can accomplish much! Truly, we can do more together than we can do alone! Pastors and church leaders are encouraged to accept the "1% Challenge"—for the sake of the Gospel!