What wrong with CP (SBC's Only Please)

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by BCF Jeff, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. BCF Jeff

    BCF Jeff
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    This past June I attended the SBC annual meeting and heard a lot about the dropping support for CP. However, special missions offerings seem to be doing quite well (ie Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong.)

    So what wrong with CP? Why are Southern Baptists giving proportionally less now than the past?
    :tear:
    If you or your church is giving less chime in a let me know why.

    I do have a theory but would first like to hear what others think. I willpost my theory tomorrow.

    P.S. This is not an invitation to trash SBC or the CP. Constuctive critism is welcome tho.

    :type:
     
  2. Jack Matthews

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    The Southern Baptist church I now attend is a relatively new church plant with at least half of the congregation coming from a non-Baptist background. Educating people about what the Cooperative Program is all about is probably part of the problem. The missions offerings are easy, because they are designated to specific causes that people can identify. The overall monthly percentage giving to such a variety of different things doesn't have the same appeal, especially when the perceptions of many of the Southern Baptists in the congregation is that there is too much secrecy and personal kindgom building among the various boards and agencies. There isn't a lot of trust there.

    Also, we have two very noted and well known Southern Baptist megachurches here in town who give very little to the CP. Perhaps that sets a bad example.
     
  3. NateT

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    I can tell you the vibe I get from my fellow seminary students. A lot of us are tired of the beuracracy(sp?) The fact that Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings are high tends to show that people are not giving less. They, instead, are giving to what they feel like is a worthy cause. Those 2 offerings give 100% to home and foreign missions, but the money my church designates for associational giving will end up have ~63 % given to the state and ~37% given to the national convention. Of that, a smaller percentage is given to the IMB and NAMB. Of that a smaller percentage is given to the actual missionaries. So the thought is "why give money to agencies to funnel down to the missionaries, when I can give money directly to the missionaries."

    I don't know the statistics for sure, but it would be interesting to see if there has been little or no decline in actual giving, but only decline in giving to the CP.
     
  4. BCF Jeff

    BCF Jeff
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    If there is a lack of trust then how do we fix it? I have on accation heard fellow SBC's comment that they don't trust either the executive board or IMB or NAMB but is it really that wide spread?
     
  5. SBCPreacher

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    Our church gives about 9% each to our state convention and association. Of those $$ we give to the state convention they forward on somewhere around 34% (I think) to the SBC. I am considering about asking aour church to gove about 4% through the state convention and send the other 5% directly to the SBC. I'm not real happy with the work of our state convention - a lot of CBF support in our state convention personnel.

    Our association is doing a great work, so we'll keep on supporting at about the same level.

    I am very pro-CP, mainly because of the support of the IMB and NAMB.
     
  6. BCF Jeff

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    I too, think that total giving hasn't droped all that much but CP giving itself has been.

    CP is also supposed to support ministries that are not traditional missions work such as seminaries, childrens homes, etc.
     
  7. SBCPreacher

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    I came across an article just yesterday that compared '04 with '05 giving, and CP gifts were up in '05 along with AAEO and LMCO. Total missions giving was up by 2.82%. It was in the most recent copy of "Facts and Trends."
     
  8. BCF Jeff

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    Maybe our annual meeting was infiltrated by alarmist.

    Well... it happens. ;)
     
  9. Jack Matthews

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    The total giving figure is up this year because it includes extra money given through the CP to disaster relief.

    The perception among the people from a Southern Baptist background in my church is that the leadership is a tight little clique that won't let anyone but a select group of their inner circle into the leadership. It doesn't do them much good to have two high profile local pastors who are part of that inner circle, including one who was nominated for president of the convention, lead churches that give extremely small amounts of money to the Cooperative Program. We are a relatively new church start that is seeing some real growth, and we have some needs for resources to help accomodate that. It is hard to convince people to give 8 or 10 percent of our budget to something that the inner circle of leaders won't support at that level.

    In addition, several of our people are aware of some problems regarding extravagant spending at the North American Mission Board. The head of the board had to resign as a result. That doesn't make for good PR.

    We are a congregation of people mostly in their 20's, 30's and 40's. We don't have very many people who can take a week off and go attend a series of meetings that are cut and dried as far as the outcome is concerned. It is hard to get people excited about participating in something about which they do not feel they have a voice.
     
  10. BCF Jeff

    BCF Jeff
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    Jack,

    Do you think yhere are any solutions for these problems?
    Maybe you might share what you'd do if you were part the convention leadership.
    With the NAMB problem willthe resignation fix the problem or is this a institutional problem.
     
  11. Jack Matthews

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    I guess, if I were in charge, I would do two things. One, I would cut back on the bureaucracy that seems to consume large quantities of resources without being really productive. Do we really need a large executive committee that meets four times a year, with all the associated travel and lodging expense, just to administer the receiving and disbursing of Cooperative Program money? The authority in the SBC is supposed to reside with the convention meeting once each year, that should be enough administration. The seminaries, mission boards and other agencies function independently anyway, with their own trustees and administration. Why do we need the executive level?

    Second, I would want the denomination to be open, honest and clear about its intentions to the people in the churches. The perception, at least among people in the church I attend, is that the leadership is unaccountable to the convention itself, and represents far too narrow a segment of the denomination. One local church has ten of its members on various trustee boards, yet it gives far less to the Cooperative Program than my church does, and we have no members on any board. The issue at the North American Mission Board was partly over extravagant expense accounts of the top leaders and nepotism in negotiating expensive contracts for services with the companies of relatives. That's just not good PR.

    It seems difficult enough to get people in the churches to think in terms of the broader mission of the church in cooperative ministry to reach others for Christ. When you throw in what appears to be carelessness and desire for control on top of that, it is hard to get people to volunteer to pay the bills.
     
  12. Karen

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    I think that part of it is that many churches simply have less missions education than they used to.

    The core activity for girls in the church of my youth was GA's. It was mostly studying about missionaries and doing some projects.
    Boys had RA's. The WMU would sponsor dinners based on recipes from various regions. Sometimes a missionary would speak.
    This is not true in many SBC churches now. Although it can certainly be argued that the overall package of training for youth is better.
     
  13. mcdirector

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    This is very true. In addition, we used to use assembly time in the two week VBS to educate about the cooperative program. (I'm in no way advocating the return to a 2-week VBS BTW :tongue3: )

    As to what Jack said about the perception that the leadership is a tight knit group -- That is also the perception within many of our churches. It is in fact more than perception. I'd like for that to change at the local level too. Although, it is human nature to ask people we know to work with us and take on jobs. I'd just like to see circles expanded. We never know what people and talents we have left out of the loop.
     
  14. BCF Jeff

    BCF Jeff
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    As promised I am going to post me theory as to the drop in CP giving.

    First let me say that you have already stated some of the same things I thought but here it is.

    1. Jack is right convention leadership (primarily the executive committee and the agencies' execs) appear to be unaccountable. For example the IMB was conducting meetings and trying to withhold the content of the those meetings. When one the board members published what was going on they overreacted and exceeded its authority.

    2. Extravagant Salaries- Lifeway execs, seminary presidents and profs., and other support make much more than the average SBC missionary and pastor. The argument is often that they could make more in the secular world doing the same level of work. But that shouldn't matter. I left a good paying job to spend all my saving on Bible college and now taking loans to pay for seminary, and for what, my church to help pay for an exec's six figure salary. Don't get me wrong I want those who serve to make a comfortable living but no one should be getting rich off of cooperative program funds. Also know that seminaries are administered separately but by raising the salaries of profs and admins they have also raised tuition beyond what the CP can do. In the 80's a seminarian from and SBC church paid fees and for books, tuition was covered by CP. Now tuition is so high that CP only covers half.:(

    3. Nondisclosure of actual amounts paid to employees. Have you ever tried t determine what Jerry Rankin makes? (he is just an example I don't mean to single anyone out as worse than any other.) You can't if you are reading the budget reports. Eve if you were looking at the entire IMB employees their salaries are lumped together in one place, their housing in another, and their expense account in another. It gives the appearance that they hope we aren't looking to closely (as if they were ashamed that they are receive such generous funds.)

    4.Karen and Bitsy are right. We don't churches emphasize missions as they once did. I remember RA's and GA's. I remember watching a biographic movie of Lottie Moon. I remeber VBS being all about learn the Bible and supporting missions.

    With all these problem I still think that the CP is the best way to fund missions and agencies. I believe that transparency is the most important change we need to see in SBC life. I also believe that as church leaders we have a resposibilty to continue supporting missions at every level including the CP.
     
  15. RandR

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    Jeff,

    Good thoughts all.

    I would add that there are three phenomena that also contribute to an overall decline in CP

    1) Churches in "survival" mode. Resources formerly given to CP become diverted to pay bills, salaries, ministry expenses, etc.

    2) Mega-churches. How many of our so-called flagship churches give the least by percentage to the CP?

    3) Sending churches. Some churches have begun seeing themselves as God's mission-sending agent by design and are using a higher percentage of their financial resources to send their members on short-term and long-term missions.

    Of the three, I find the first to be an unfortunate reality, the last to be an understandable opportunity cost, and the second to be a lamentable travesty.
     
  16. Tom Bryant

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    These are some good ideas.

    I think you've hit on many reasons why.

    One important way to begin to bring it back up is for IMB and NAMB missionaries to get out into the churches during their home time. I understand that they are tired and badly in need of down time... but churches are not having world missions conferences like they used to, so very few churches know a real live breathing missionary.
     
  17. mcdirector

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    I guess I've been very fortunate to know living breathing missionaries. Ron and I have had several sets of friends over the years called into the ministry or the mission field after they had already established other careers.

    Our current church is very good at getting missionaries up front and before people by having missionaries give testimonies or having teleconferences during services. I've got to think that missionaries would do these things. They, of all people, know how vitale CP support is.

    I do think that we need some disclosure. I don't, however, want to beat people over the heads with their salaries. Of course, since I don't know what those salaries are, maybe a few need to be smacked around about how much they make. I do know that church members seem to think that those of us who work for churches should be able to survive on less. Our church budget is reported with some "lumping" too. I don't know how hard it would be to figure out those salaries. I don't really have a desire to know. I give my financial support and feel it is up to the budgeters to use it in ways that God would have them. I hate to say that I've washed my hands of it, but it is out of my hands so to speak. I've got other jobs to do. I've got to trust that they are following God's financial plan and that God will convict them if they aren't. I feel the same way about the CP.

    I also want to touch on RandR's mention of the megachurches looking after themselves. This breaks my heart. Since all the money in the world is under God's control, I believe there is enough to give first and live on second. God is so very faithful to those who give.
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    Jeff, Others are better qualified to speak to your comments, but I want to address the quote.

    I don't know if all those execs are overpaid or not, but comparing with the salaries of missionaries and pastors is the least effective way to make your point. This is the "class warfare" tactic.

    Several things get plugged into the salary decisions. Among them skills and the good 'ol marketplace--supply and demand. Not only what the employer has to pay to get him, but also what he may be forced to pay to keep him.

    Lifeway is close to being a 500-million-dollar-a-year business. Let's imagine this scene with the Lifeway trustee chairman and Thom Rainer: "Thom, we know you can make more in the secular world, but if we pay you the normal salary which the president of a half-billion-dollar comany can command, you'll be making more than the average pastor out there, or the average missionary. That won't do. Besides, this is a Christian enterprise, and you ought not to be in this for the money. Hey, where are you going? Come back."

    The principles of economics and the marketplace are not annulled because we're Christians and Baptists. Oh, we've tried, how we've tried. You know, let's keep our pastor poor so he can stay humble. Thankfully, more and more churches no longer feel that way.

    By the way, are the salaries of the agency heads, seminary presidents and faculty easily obtainable? If they are, that's a bad practice. If they're not, I'm a little mystified as to how anyone can make a judgement that they're overpaid.

    Two stories to end. Someone once said, if you want to start a riot, stand up in the middle of an airplane flight and tell how much you paid for your ticket.

    And, a fellow walked into his boss's office one day and said, "Boss, I know you're already paying me more than I'm worth, but I can't live on it."
     
  19. NateT

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    Also, based solely on what the school pays, often times 1st year profs make less than 1st year pastors. Especially when you factor in housing allowances etc. I'm not sure how the scale changes as time goes by, but I've talked to a few profs and soon to be profs. Further, a lot of the profs that have been around for a while make money writting books. I had one prof say when Dr. Rainer was here, he was one of the wealthiest profs (probably because he wrote so many books).
     
  20. RandR

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    Tom,

    I think there should be a happy median.

    I doubt anyone expects the presidents of our entitites to take a salary comparable to a pastor of a church that runs fewer than 500. (Which is the majority of our churches, no?) BUT...when the salary of a denominational "servant" runs into the hundreds (plural) of thousands of dollars (not including travel, etc. that comes from the entity budget) then perhaps there are stewardship issues at play that do not constitute "class warfare."
     

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