Giving through the National Cooperative Program (CP) Allocation Budget is beginning to show increased outside economic pressure as consumer prices continue to rise. With inflation the highest it’s been in a generation, church and missions giving is seeing a downturn. For the second time in three months, CP giving failed to meet the anticipated monthly budget, but still remains more than $10.6 million ahead for the fiscal year with three months remaining.
“Families are feeling the daily economic pressures as they visit the grocery store and fuel pump,” Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) interim president Willie McLaurin said in a statement. “Yet they have been steadfast in giving tithes and offering through their local churches. Although we saw a slight decline in June Cooperative Program receipts, I am confident that our great God will provide for families and our fellowship of churches like never before.
“It is my prayer that we will finish the next three months of the Cooperative Program fiscal year strong so that we can continue to advance the Great Commission together.”
The amount given through the CP in June 2022 totaled $15,224,256.79, which was $2,210,753.07 (12.68%) less than the $17,435,009.86 received in June 2021 and $609,076.55 (3.85%) less than the monthly budgeted amount of $15,833,333.34.
As of June 30, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget total $153,154,075.37. This is $6,848,583.63, or 4.68%, more than last year’s budget contribution of $146,305,491.74. The amount given is ahead of the $142,500,000.06 year-to-date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $10,654,075.31, or 7.48%.
Designated gifts received in June amounted to $26,681,501.11. This total was $3,765,162.38, or 16.43%, more than gifts of $22,916,338.73 received last June. This year’s designated gifts through the first nine months of the fiscal year amount to $184,124,792.01, which is $11,562,433.46, or 6.70%, more than the $172,562,358.55 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, local churches contribute to the ministries of its state convention and 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 2021-22 CP 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 2021-22 is $190 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 EC 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 EC 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 EC.)