Cooperative Program Giving

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Jimmy C, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
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    Interesting article in Baptist Press (the pravda of the SBC executive committee.) Seems that cooperative program giving is way down since the 1980s. Lets see what has changed since the 80s, oh yeah the fundy takeover of the SBC. SBC presidents coming from mega churches who give little to the cooperative program (prestonwood in dallas (prestonworld to those of us who have seen the new complex!) gives much less than 10%, Bellvue Baptist when Adrian Rogers assumed the presidence of the SBC gave a whopping 2%. Looks like SBC churches are following their lead.

    the artilce follows:
    Study committee reports: SBC financial 'crisis' looms unless giving improves
    Sep 24, 2003
    By Michael Foust
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--An increase in biblical giving and an understanding of the value of the Cooperative Program are necessary if the Southern Baptist Convention is to avoid a financial crisis in the near future, according to a report adopted by the convention's Executive Committee Sept. 23.

    The report by the SBC Funding Study Committee lists seven recommendations to reverse what it found to be a gradual decline in both the money given to churches by Southern Baptists and the percentage of a church's offerings passed along to the Cooperative Program. At the core of the recommendations is a better-educated constituency.

    "[T]he factor that appears to be emerging as the most plausible explanation for the declining support for the Cooperative Program is a serious neglect of Cooperative Program education and promotion in the churches," the report says. "Rather than widespread negative feelings about the Cooperative Program, there appears to be widespread ignorance about the Cooperative Program."

    Moreover, many of those who know something about the Cooperative Program "view it as a 'necessary mechanism' for funding the denominational bureaucracy but not the 'key methodology' for comprehensive world evangelization," the report says.

    The Cooperative Program, formed in 1925, is the method by which Southern Baptists fund missionaries as well as the seminaries that train future missionaries, pastors and fulltime Christian servants. It also funds state Baptist convention ministries and such SBC entities as the Ethics & Religious Commission. Ninety-five percent of CP money received by the SBC goes to the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board and the six seminaries.

    The report finds that churches have been sending less and less to the Cooperative Program since the 1980s, during which they set aside an average of 10.5 percent. That figure fell to 7.39 percent last year. Additionally, giving by church members as a percentage of income has declined steadily in the last 30 years and stands at 2.03 percent -- far below the biblical standard of the tithe.

    A decline in giving already has led to the delay in the deployment of missionaries, a layoff of employees and an increase in seminary tuition.

    "It is the opinion of the Committee none of the entities are in a financial crisis at present," the report says. "However, all of them are experiencing trends in their fiscal health that could degenerate into a crisis in very few years."

    Two obstacles, the report says, must be overcome if the trend is to be reversed. The first obstacle is the "lack of commitment to biblical giving by large numbers of Southern Baptist members." The second obstacle is the lack of knowledge about the Cooperative Program.

    "Southern Baptists, especially the younger generations, must be taught the value of the Cooperative Program," the report says. "CP's image must be re-envisioned from a 'necessary but stodgy bureaucratic finance system' to a 'dynamic, comprehensive, effective, missions strategy for Southern Baptists.'"

    The report recommends:

    -- That Southern Baptists pray about the situation.

    "This issue needs to be on the front page," the report says. "While the SBC Funding Study Committee does not wish to be seen as alarmist or to evidence a lack of trust in God to provide for Southern Baptist mission work, it may be time to alert the constituency to a pending crisis.

    "Celebrating incremental gains in income when real giving is dropping rapidly fails to properly challenge Southern Baptists to do what is required of stewards."

    -- That the entities receiving funds from the Cooperative Program reaffirm its purpose, evaluate its effectiveness and seek ways to strengthen CP partnerships.

    "The SBC Funding Study Committee believes it is important for these entities to give leadership together, express mutual support, and practice openness and accountability if there is to be Cooperative Program renewal in the churches," the report says.

    -- That any additional offerings be discouraged in favor of making biblical stewardship and CP giving top priorities.

    "The Convention and its entities will be better served by an aggressive stewardship education emphasis, perhaps as a part of Empowering Kingdom Growth, and a re-invigoration of the Cooperative Program," the report says.

    -- That a pastor-led strategy be created with the goal of "re-invigorating stewardship and the Cooperative Program in the churches."

    "The SBC Funding Study Committee believes Southern Baptist pastors are God's called leaders for the local churches and, by extension, for the work of the conventions," the report says. "As such, their leadership in stewardship education and their confidence in the Cooperative Program methodology are critical."

    -- That the six seminaries expedite the implementation of a CP education course that is already funded.

    "This addition to the core curriculum can become a stack pole for a comprehensive emphasis on SBC identity and methodology for the students," the report says.

    -- That the SBC Funding Study Committee work with LifeWay Christian Resources to put together Sunday School and discipleship literature with an annual Cooperative Program emphasis.

    "LifeWay is an invaluable ally in the task to re-educate Southern Baptists about our great opportunities in cooperative missions," the report says.

    -- That the mission boards work together with the Cooperative Program department in a joint "Cooperative Program/missions education process."

    "The SBC Funding Study Committee envisions jointly produced and coordinated multimedia resources, as well as the intentional training and coordinated utilization of missionary personnel in promoting the Cooperative Program in the churches," the report says.

    "Reminding the churches that the mission offerings and the Cooperative Program are complementary, not competitive, is one opportunity of this effort. Also, furloughing missionaries are already great teachers and motivators in the churches. Maximizing their effectiveness through a coordinated effort has tremendous potential."

    The convention was founded in 1845 by a group of people who believed that the task of worldwide missions is "so large no congregation can accomplish it alone," the report notes, adding that unless recent trends are reversed, that goal is in jeopardy.

    "Unless Southern Baptist churches are led to see Cooperative Program as a tool they need and want in order to fulfill the Great Commission, CP will lose support to other initiatives that appear attractive but are likely to be less effective than Southern Baptist Convention ministries," the report says
     
  2. ScottEmerson

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    I know of at least three Baptist churches who are members of the SBC but give less than 2% of their offerings to the Cooperative Program. I honestly think that the SBC should locate those churches and then, if they refuse to give, ask them to leave the fellowship of the SBC. Unless there are specific circumstances, I would question their desire to spreading the gospel to all nations.

    That said, one of the main reasons I remain Souhter Baptist is because I think that the Cooperative Program is the best program in sending and providing for missionaries that the world has ever seen. It is a shame that its funding is going down because churches are deciding to give less. To me, it sounds like poor stewardship on their parts.

    But that's just me...
     
  3. Gunther

    Gunther
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    NEWS FLASH

    The SBC does not dictate to churches what they do with their money. Now, if a church pushes for things that the SBC directly opposes, they will reject their money, and eventually, them.
     
  4. blackbird

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    Here's the "skinny" on how I see it! My church gives 13.5% to the CP--are you with me??!! Stay with me!! Of course, if you stay with me--one of us will be gettin' in trouble in just a little while!!! Here's why!

    Ok--my church gives 13.5%---that money is sent to the Mississippi Baptist Convention who then "pledges" to give it to the SBC up in Nashville---BUT---not all of the CP money given through the MBC actually goes to the CP---only a certain percentage---see, while the total CP giving appears "Down"---the cow gets milked too many times on the way up to Nashville!!

    Overall CP giving probably isn't down---its just that the states are holding more for themselves!

    Understand??

    Your buddy,
    Blackbird
     
  5. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
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    Blcakbird

    States have always kept a good deal of the total CP giving, and they do many great things with that money. Here in texas we support Buckner Childrens homes, Texas Baptist Men, RAs and GAs, many baptist colleges and hospitals. The breakwaway group sends more money as a percentage to the executive board, but then they do not have as many ministries to support as the BGCT does. The breakaway groups main focus is starting churches, which is also a great thing. States keeping a portion is not the problem, the problem is churches have followed the lead of the leaders of the SBC and have cut the perentage that they give to the cooperative program - as a result we are laying off people and not able to send as many missionaries - BIG PROBLEM.

    We have had an interesting time here in texas with the CP issue between the state and the national convention the last couple of years. The BGCT got mad at the SBC over seminaries and decided to cut seminary funding (stupid idea as most every pastor in the state graduated from SWBTS, not to mention youth, education and music ministers) Many if not most churches revolted, voted with their pocketbooks and told the BGCT in no uncertain terms what a stupid idea they had. as a result BGCT revenue plummeted. Fast forward to the beginning of 2003, BGCT asks on the CP form for churches to designate 71% of CP funds to them, as opposed to the traditional 67%, and they would restore seminary funding. At the same time Morris Chapman sent a letter to all BGCT churches showing a sample of the form, and on it he has the churches giving 50% to BGCT and 50% to nashville. I dont know what the actual is, but my guess is most BGCT churches (and that is most Texas Baptist Churches) continue to split 67-33.

    The 67-33 has been in effect as long as I can remember, but the BGCT does have many ministries they support and do a great job at it.

    Do as I say dont do as I do works about as well with churches as it does with our children!

    So Blackbird, the answer is Total Giving is in fact down - if it were not so Baptist Press would not say it - as they are the official PR/News arm of the SBC executive committee.
     
  6. blackbird

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    Jimmy---so here's the cause--again--as I see it---

    If indeed giving is down---the long arm of that is this---disobedience from the people in the pew--when in all actuallity---I've traced my church's giving over the last five years---as well as in its entire history---and this year--we gave more to total tithes and offerings--we gave more to the CP--this past year than we've ever given in our history!

    Here's how I view the tithe and offering---I'm gonna keep giving to the CP--regardless of who is moanin' and groanin'---because one day I'm gonna stand before the judgment seat of Jesus and will have to reckon for every dime I funneled up to Nashville--or didn't funnel as pastor of my church!

    I'm thankful for the leadership of the SBC--Morris Chapman, Jerry Rankin, OS Hawkins and all the others---but I would give even if those guys weren't there---I don't give to the SBC President Jack Graham---I give to the SBC!

    Blackbird
     
  7. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
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    Here is where we disagree,

    It is not the people in the pew, they are continuing to give. It is the churches who are making decisions to cut their cooperative giving from 10+ on average to 7% on average. Why they are doing it is anyones guess - mine is churches like PrestonWorld are building these huge complexes and dont have money for cooperative ministries. The SBC has been electing pastors from these megachurches as thier president, while they are politically pure, they set bad examples.

    People can say what they want about the moderates, but they are committed to missions and the CP.

    Oh by the way, go check out the WMU at a cross section of the "conservative" churches - for the most part the fundy's hate them, but they have been a driving force in the SBC for the CP and missions.
     
  8. Gunther

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    Peddling worthless theology is not missions.
     
  9. GODzThunder

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    I have to admit that we just voted to give a percentage less for the new Church year to the cooperative program. The reason being though is because we wanted to give a percentage more to the Association. Our associational missionary is a man of God and works hard to help others. He commissioned a crisis work team to help in emergencies such as floods, fires, earthquake, etc. They supply work and food towards rebuilding lives and areas. Right now that team has gone up to Virginia to help with the victims of the hurricane. We also have a certian percentage going towards our community for the same causes out of our Church.
     
  10. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
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    ____________________________________________
    Posted by gunther
    Peddling worthless theology is not missions.
    _____________________________________________

    IN your world salvation only through the blood of Jesus is worthless theology?

    Praise the Lord I do not live in that world.
     
  11. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Jimmy,

    What do you think the SBC should do about this trend that you have cited?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  12. Gunther

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    Salvation found exclusively in Christ (if moderates even agree as to which Christ they worship today), isn't the only doctrine in the Bible.
     
  13. Jimmy C

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    Good question Joseph, I'm sure that none of us have all the answers or we would not have the problems!

    But I would start with the churches that the leadership of the SBC and ask them to up thier giving to at least 10% to the CP. I would then make a require that the president of the SBC comes from a church that gives at least 10% to the SBC. I think that leadership starts at the top, if our leaders will commit thier churches to at least 10% they can then begin to ask other churches to follow their lead. If they dont they have no ground to ask smaller churches to make up the difference.

    That is my opinion, what do you think the answer is.
     
  14. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
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    Gunther

    I dont think that I have ever had a pleasant exchange with you. In our last two exchanges you have slammed seminary professors without basis and now missionaries and SBC churches just because they have not made the political decision that you agree with.

    I will ignore your posts in the future until I see some thought behind your posts and not just a knee jerk reaction.
     
  15. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Are you talking about the SBC president? If so, I would probably argue that this is improper as our local churches are autonomous, as the "moderates" have been arguing for 2-3 decades now. What if the churches say no? Should they then be cut out of decision making and leadership positions? And what is the difference between that being the criteria and asking people to sign Patterson's creed?

    I would then make a require that the president of the SBC comes from a church that gives at least 10% to the SBC. I think that leadership starts at the top, if our leaders will commit thier churches to at least 10% they can then begin to ask other churches to follow their lead. If they dont they have no ground to ask smaller churches to make up the difference.[/QUOTE]

    What about local Church autonomy? Are you sure you are not part of the SBC Fundamentalist take-over? Again, What is the difference between asking leaders to support a convention's theological creed or financially support the CP as a litmus test for leadership, professorship, or to be a missionary?

    That is my opinion, what do you think the answer is. [/QUOTE]

    Don't know all of the answers. But, I think I would probably start with prayer and Bible Study. I think most true and meaningful revivals have usually begun with prayer and Bible Study. If the churches are not willing to support the work of God, I would say that is a spiritual problem and requires a spiritual, not political, solution. This next part might be a bit controversial, but I would also say that if the Churches don't think the CP is a work of God, then perhaps it should be dissolved and mission work should become the responsibility of the local Church and not a national convention. This sure would do away with problems of political power struggles within the National convention. Also, if God is in it, he will provide for the needs for the ministry of the church whether it is through the CP or the local Church.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  16. Jimmy C

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    Joseph,

    You make some great points.

    I would agree with you that to require the SBC Presidents church to give 10% to the CP does go against what I believe about the autonomy of the local church. But to encourage, not require, the leading churches of the convention to give at least 10% of thier non designated contributions to the CP would not go against the autonomy of the local church. I think it would show leadership on thier part regardless of how many churches followed thier lead.

    The CP is one of the distinctives of the SBC, and one of the main reasons that I am Southern Baptist. One of my brother in laws was with a mission group that required him to raise his own support. As he is not very good in front of people, he had a hard time raising support. Unfortunately for him, the SBC did not have the type of mission work that God had called him to.

    To allow our missionaries the opportunity to spend thier time in the field with out having to worry about raising money, or contributors dropping out his a great advantage that SBC missionaries have.

    Beyond missionaires, SBC seminaries are able to provide baptist men and women the best seminary educations possible at a fraction of the cost that it would cost without the CP
     
  17. Gunther

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    Jimmy, the Peace commitee that was BOTH conservative and moderates BOTH agreed that the problem was theological, and not political.

    No knee-jerk, but the "seriousness" of the moderates and towards missions is a joke.
     
  18. Jimmy C

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    Joseph,

    One more comment - the Fundy's won, there can be no disputing that. But with the victory comes responsibility to be good stewards of the CP. It looks to me like they are falling down on the job!
     
  19. Hardsheller

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    Could it be that this present day generation of Southern Baptists is just not interested in reviving Grandpa's 78 year old program?

    Maybe a new name and a new vision by the SBC Leadership is in order?

    And Blackbird, could it be in this day and age of fast communication and fast transportation that we don't really need three levels of cooperative missions endeavor any longer?

    If so which is expendable - The association? The State Convention? or the National Convention?
     
  20. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Jimmy,

    Is the Godly solution going to be spiritual or political? I maintain that the solution is a spiritual one since the problem is ultimately a spiritual one.

    Joseph Botwinick
     

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