With only one month remaining in the 2020 fiscal year, giving through the Cooperative Program (CP) remains steady despite challenges faced by churches and members through the COVID-19 pandemic. Gifts in August totaled more than $16 million, marking the first time that threshold has been reached in consecutive months since the pandemic began.
“This is a remarkable reflection of the commitment our churches have to give through the Cooperative Program,” Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) President and CEO Ronnie Floyd said in a statement. “Southern Baptists should be encouraged by our churches and their continued faithful commitment to giving through the Cooperative Program this year. It is their faithfulness that has carried us through this season; therefore, let us give glory to God alone and thank our cooperating churches for their giving through our Cooperative Program.
“I rejoice that even as some continue to project the future to be dismal and filled with doom, our churches continue to rise up with a strong, faithful commitment to give toward forwarding the Great Commission. One thousand ‘thank-yous’ to each of our pastors, church leaders, and churches for their faithfulness in giving!”
As of Aug. 31, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget total $178,077,541.19. This is $3,394,538.33 or 1.87% less than last year’s budget contribution of $181,472,079.52. The amount given is slightly below the $180,125,000.00 year-to-date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $2,047,458.81 or 1.14%.
The final amount received in August 2020 totaled $16,078,609.05, which was $1,388,285.48 (7.95%) less than the $17,466,894.53 received in August 2019 and $296,390.95 (1.81%) less than the monthly budgeted amount of $16,375,000.00.
Designated gifts received in August amounted to $6,173,277.47. This total was $69,794.03 or 1.12% below gifts of $6,243,071.50 received last August. Also, this year’s designated gifts through the first 11 months of the fiscal year amount to $169,508,225.40, which is $17,814,131.94 or 9.51% less than the $187,322,357.34 given through same period in the previous fiscal year.
The CP is the financial fuel to fund the SBC mission and vision of reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state and every nation. Begun in 1925, local churches contribute to the ministries of their state conventions and to the missions and ministries of the SBC through a unified giving plan to support both sets of ministries. Monies include receipts from individuals, churches and state conventions for distribution according to the 2019-2020 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
To see how the Cooperative Program supports local churches, see this month’s spotlight on Union Grove Baptist Church in Yadkinville, N.C.
State and regional conventions retain a portion of church contributions to Southern Baptists’ CP to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to SBC national and international causes. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of each state or regional convention.
The convention-adopted budget for 2019-2020 is $196.5 million and is 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 $196.5 million budget projection at the end of the fiscal year, the Executive Committee’s portion of any overage falls to 0.0% while IMB’s portion increases to 53.4% of the overage. The other entities’ percentage distributions of the overage remain the same. 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 Executive Committee, 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 Executive Committee 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.