Cooperative Program (CP) gifts from North Carolina Baptist churches through the first quarter of 2009 are slightly ahead of the same period for 2008. Total mission gifts, including special offerings, are up almost $600,000.
The budget figures were released as significant economic distress continues to hit North Carolina, which has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the nation.
“Cooperative Program giving by our churches seems to have found its footing,” said Baptist State Convention Executive Director-treasurer Milton A. Hollifield, Jr.
According to information compiled by Baptist State Convention (BSC) Comptroller Robert Simons, undesignated CP giving through March 31 was $ 7.7 million, up $46,418 over the first quarter of 2008.
Giving is 15 percent behind the $9.1 million budget for this period adopted in 2007, but the BSC is operating on a reduced internal budget based on 2008 actual gifts that is keeping operations in the black.
“I am confident that our staff will manage expenditures to keep us there for the remainder of 2009,” Hollifield said.
Giving Plan A, the largest of the four giving plans that will continue to be used through 2009 before reverting to a single giving plan in 2010, is up 5.4 percent to $5.2 million. Plan A is 67 percent of the total.
Hollifield noted the “marked increase” in Plan A and said, “There is no question that many churches have already begun shifting to Plan A following the Convention’s decision to return to a single giving plan for 2010. Gifts to special offerings are so seasonal that it is hard to draw valid conclusions at this point in the year; but with total mission receipts up almost $600,000 versus last year, I am enthusiastic about the future and both grateful and humbled by the sacrifices being made for the Kingdom in such difficult economic times.”
Plan B is down 2.9 percent to $613,121.
Plan C is down 14.4 percent to $312,215.
Plan D, which for several years had shown significant growth, is down 5 percent to $1.3 million. It is likely that some Plan D money has moved to Plan A, in anticipation of reversion to a single giving plan.
Special offerings are not faring as well, with the exception of the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions, which is up $653,339 or 8.3 percent to $8.5 million. Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions is down 9.2 percent to $441,041 to date.
The North Carolina Missions Offering is down 10.8 percent to $211,888.
The Southern Baptist Convention reported April 1 that Cooperative Program receipts nationally through the first quarter were 3.7 percent below the same period in 2008.