These two charts give an overview over a sixty year time span of the two major funding sources that support the International Mission Board.
Chart #1 – CP Giving Received by the Executive Committee from States
The first chart shows COOPERATIVE PROGRAM funds received from the churches, via the state conventions, by the Executive Committee. About 50% [actually 50.41%] of the CP funds received by the executive committee are forwarded to the IMB. The blue line of the chart is CP dollars received by the Executive Committee. The red line is the blue line dollar amount adjusted to “constant 2014 dollars” based upon the Consumer Price Index issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI is a pretty good measure of spending power of dollars as viewed by consumers in the United States. It is based upon price changes of a typical market basket of items that consumers buy such as housing, transportation, utilities, food, and clothing.
As it relates to the Cooperative Program, the blue line indicates that the 45,000 churches in the SBC, and hence the people in the pews, have generally been giving less and less each year since the mid 1980s in real terms. In real terms the amount given to the CP by the churches was about the same in 2012 as it was in the mid 1970s.
It should be noted that the red line is based upon an inflation index as viewed by the guy in the pews. The inflation index relating to the spending power of dollars by the IMB is likely different than this since the “market basket” of items that the IMB “buys” is significantly different that those that a typical consumer buys. I do not have available any “producer price index” that would model the spending power of the funds that the IMB receives over time in US dollars that are spent both in the USA and abroad.
About 30% of the income received by the IMB comes from the CP funds given by the churches and routed to the IMB via the Executive Committee.
About 59% of IMB’s funding comes from the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The LMCO giving trends are shown on the next chart.
Chart #2 – Lottie Moon Christmas Offering Giving Received by the International Mission Board
The second chart shows LOTTIE MOON CHRISTMAS OFFERING dollars received by the International Mission Board. The biggest item that stands out on this chart is that in terms of CPI adjusted dollars LMCO giving has been on a generally declining slope since 2003. There have been a few years where the red line is horizontal from year to year but overall the best straight line fit for the red line from 2003 to 2014 is a downward sloping line. In terms of “constant dollars”, as measured by the CPI, the 2014 LMCO giving was about the same as it was in the mid 1990s.
Setting aside any “inflation adjustment” the blue line shows that LMCO giving has trended more or less “flat” since 2006.
Again I want to stress that the red line inflation adjustment looks at inflation as seen by the typical US consumer – i.e. the guy in the pew. It may not be the best gauge, over time, of the IMB’s spending power for such things as missionaries’ salaries, travel and living expenses, and the cost to run the Richmond headquarters operations or the Rockville training center.