Halfway through the fiscal year, giving through the Cooperative Program (CP) by Southern Baptist churches remains above budget as churches continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are very grateful for the positive report of how our giving increased through the Cooperative Program in March 2021,” Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) President and CEO Ronnie Floyd said in a statement. “This growth compared to a year ago demonstrates our churches’ commitment and consistency to participate in supporting our Great Commission ministries, statewide, nationally and internationally.
“Once again, I appeal to all of our churches, pastors, and church leaders – the world is lost and we need to advance the gospel to every person across the entire world. Together, we need to meet this great need and prioritize this grand task.”
The total amount given through the national CP Allocation Budget in March 2021 was $15,773,386.18, which was $623,726.17 (4.12%) more than the $15,149,660.01 received in March 2020 and $200,469.51 (1.29%) more than the monthly budgeted amount of $15,572,916.67.
As of March 31, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget totaled $96,052,739.32. This is $5,085,947.11 or 5.03% less than last year’s budget contribution of $101,138,686.43. However, the amount given is ahead of the $93,437,500.02 year-to-date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $2,615,239.30 or 2.80%.
Designated gifts received in March amounted to $28,357,456.05. This total was $3,138,624.44, or 12.45%, above gifts of $25,218,831.61 received last March. Also, this year’s designated gifts through the first six months of the fiscal year amount to $113,457,865.08, which is $2,489,128.63, or 2.15%, less than the $115,946,993.71 given through same period in the previous fiscal year.
Total CP giving includes all monies given by churches through state conventions to be used for Great Commission ministry and missions within the respective states, across North America and around the world.
The convention-adopted budget for 2020-21 is $186.875 million and includes an initial $200,000 special priority allocation for the SBC Vision 2025 initiative. CP funds are then disbursed as follows: 50.41% to international missions through the International Mission Board, 22.79% to North American missions through the North American Mission Board, 22.16% to theological education through the six SBC seminaries and the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, 2.99% to the SBC operating budget and 1.65% to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. If national CP gifts exceed the $186.875 million budget projection at the end of the fiscal year, 10% of the overage is to be used to support the SBC Vision 2025 initiative with the balance of the overage distributed according to the percentages approved for budgetary distribution. The SBC Executive Committee distributes all CP and designated gifts it receives on a weekly basis to the SBC ministry entities.
Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the timing of when the cooperating state Baptist conventions forward the national portion of CP contributions to the EC, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions, the number of Sundays in a given month, and the percentage of CP contributions forwarded to the SBC by the state conventions after shared ministry expenses are deducted.
Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief, Disaster Relief and other special gifts. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
CP allocation budget gifts received by the EC are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state convention offices, to the state Baptist papers and are posted online at sbc.net/cp.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Jonathan Howe is vice president for communications at the SBC Executive Committee.)