Cooperative Program (CP) gifts from North Carolina Baptist churches rose slightly in 2015 according to a report from the Business Services office of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). Total CP funds increased $239,069.11 or .83 percent above 2014 gifts. CP gifts were $29,068,605.85 for the year. Gifts exceeded the convention’s budget by $68,605.85.
Gifts to three major offerings in the state showed stronger increases in 2015. The North Carolina Missions Offering increased from $1,877,228.99 to $2,150,208.60, or 14.54 percent, exceeding the $2.1 million goal for the first time in nine years.
N.C. Baptists increased their gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions (LMCO) in 2015 by more than $1 million or 8.14 percent. Total gifts for the year reached $13,658,811.30.
Gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions (AAEO) totaled $5,893,999.11, an increase of 1.32 percent over the previous year.
According to John Butler, BSC’s executive leader for Business Services, N.C. Baptists gave more to LMCO and AAEO than any other Baptist state convention for the SBC fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015. LMCO gifts were $1.5 million above the second highest state in the SBC. Commenting on the overall report Butler said, “After nine years of decline we feel like we are going up [in giving].” He is pleased to see gifts exceed the BSC budget and reverse the downward trend.
Baptist Press reported the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) year-to-date CP contributions are 1.26 percent ahead of the first quarter (October-December) of 2014 and 1.85 percent under the SBC CP Allocation Budget projection for the year.
The BSC will forward approximately $400,000 more to the SBC CP for 2015 than it did in 2014, bringing the CP dollars forwarded in 2015 to $10.7 million. When LMCO, AAEO and hunger funds are added to the SBC CP share, it pushes the total amount forwarded to the SBC to $1.6 million more than the previous year.
The 2016 BSC budget includes another $1.07 million SBC CP increase, which could mark a record high for the state convention.
Milton A. Hollifield Jr. executive director-treasurer of BSC said, “I am grateful that N.C. Baptist churches were able to increase their contributions to missions through the Cooperative Program in 2015.
“More of our churches are accepting the 1% Challenge from Dr. Frank Page of the SBC Executive Committee to strengthen their support of missions through the CP.”
He expressed hope that the giving record indicates churches also experienced growth in support of their missions and ministry budgets.