While challenges due to the COVID-19 global pandemic continue for churches across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), giving through the Cooperative Program (CP) remains above budget through the first two months of the budget year.
“The ongoing challenges of the pandemic create many uncertainties for all of us,” SBC Executive Committee (EC) President and CEO Ronnie Floyd said in a statement. “This is the exact reason we planned and adopted an SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget that is five percent less than the previous year’s budget. Therefore, after the first two months of giving in this fiscal year, we rejoice that we are above our budget goal.
“As we press forward together, let us do all we can to keep our eyes on advancing the Gospel to every person in every town, every city, every state and every nation. This vision will help every church, every association, every state convention and every SBC entity work cooperatively to advance the Good News of Jesus Christ to the whole world.”
The total amount given through the Cooperative Program in November 2020 totaled $15,699,035.69, which was $1,664,609.40 (9.59%) less than the $17,363,645.09 received in November 2019 but $126,119.02 (0.81%) more than the monthly budgeted amount of $15,572,916.67.
As of Nov. 30, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget total $31,746,061.68. This is $825,234.85 or 2.53% less than last year’s budget contribution of $32,571,296.53. The amount given is slightly ahead of the $31,145,833.34 year-to-date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $600,228.34 or 1.93%.
Designated gifts received in November amounted to $4,149,646.12. This total was $145,447.96, or 3.63%, above gifts of $4,004,198.16 received last November. Also, this year’s designated gifts through the first two months of the fiscal year amount to $9,278,196.20, which is $1,420,744.96 or 18.08% more than the $7,857,451.24 given through same period in the previous fiscal year.
The Cooperative Program 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, CP allows local churches to contribute to the ministries of their state convention 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 2020-2021 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
State and regional conventions retain a portion of church contributions to Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program 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 2020-2021 is $186.875 million and includes an initial $200,000 special priority allocation for the SBC Vision 2025 initiative. Cooperative Program 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 remainder 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 Cooperative Program 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.)