Winter weather is killing the budgets of western North Carolina churches and it is reflected in Cooperative Program giving through the first two months of 2010.
Through Feb. 28 gifts of $4,538,597 are $824,237 or 15.4 percent below 2009 giving through the same period.
Gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering are up 30.1 percent for the period to $197,087 but all other special offerings are down.
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., Baptist State Convention executive director-treasurer, said such a report naturally is cause for concern, but the figures represent “the same financial situation that many North Carolina Baptist churches are experiencing.”
While Hollifield has always said Baptists speak loudly through their giving, he does not believe the dramatic drop through two months is “a voice being raised.” He was encouraged when early January gifts were up.
“Then the weekends of snow Sundays began to wreak havoc on church budgets,” he said. “I feel for our churches in how they are struggling to reach budgets and make payroll. My prayer is that North Carolina Baptists and all believers will fulfill their Christian responsibility to give back to God what He has asked each of us to do.
“At BSCNC, we operate by faith and I am confident that as our churches receive those tithes and offerings, they will faithfully support our Cooperative efforts to reach the lost and grow the Kingdom for God’s glory.”