Cooperative Program (CP) giving from North Carolina Baptist churches totaled slightly more than $29 million in 2019, which was a 5.2% increase from 2018, but still about 6.2% below last year’s budget amount of $31 million.
Despite the approximate $1.9 million shortfall, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) still finished 2019 in the black by approximately $29,000, convention officials reported to the BSC board of directors at a regularly scheduled meeting held Jan. 27-28 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.
However, giving to special offerings for state, North American and international missions were all up by a combined total of more than $3.3 million in 2019.
“It is concerning that CP gifts in the state are not significantly increasing as we see increases in other areas,” said John Butler, the BSC’s executive leader for Business Services. “There is good news, but there is certainly a lot of work to do.”
Since 2014, Butler said CP giving by N.C. Baptist churches is relatively flat with the exception of a slight increase in 2017.
The BSC budget for 2020 is $30.5 million, a $500,000 reduction from 2019. The 2020 allocation to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) missions and ministries is 42 percent, a 0.5% increase from 2019.
“I do believe North Carolina can do more in supporting our Cooperative Program together,” Butler said.
When combining Cooperative Program receipts with gifts received from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, North Carolina ranks third among all state conventions in total support of SBC causes, Butler said.
“I’m proud of how N.C. Baptist churches support SBC causes through the SBC special offerings,” Butler said. “But the most effective way for us to do missions together is through churches supporting the Cooperative Program.”
In 2019, North Carolina ranked first among all state conventions in giving to the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings.
North Carolina Baptists gave more than $14.4 million to Lottie Moon in 2019, which was more than 25%, or more than $2.9 million, greater than in 2018.
Those figures represented the highest percentage increase to Lottie Moon giving in a one-year span, and the second highest dollar amount contributed by North Carolina Baptists.
N.C. Baptist giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering totaled more than $6.3 million, which reflected an increase of more than 4%, or $253,000, year over year.
“All of this tells me that North Carolina Baptists are generous and committed to the Great Commission,” Butler said.
Moreover, giving to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) totaled more than $2.2 million in 2019, eclipsing the offering goal of $2.1 million and setting a new record for gifts. NCMO giving was up more than 5.7% in 2019, or more than $122,000.
NCMO supports a variety of ministries including disaster relief, N.C. Baptist Men, church planting, mission camps, missions mobilization projects and more.
In other business, the board adopted a policy which sets forth criteria and a process by which certain convention officials could be removed from their place of service for instances of “serious misconduct.”
(EDITORIAL NOTE – Chad Austin, BSC Communications.)