SBC number nerds may download the 2023 Book of Reports here. It is 215 pages of reports, charts, and information. I’ve already seen that folks will use information in the BOR as a club to bash the other party. I still hold to the naive idea that we are all on the same side for Jesus, for the Gospel to the nations. But here you are.
Average Cooperative Program church giving as a percentage of undesignated gifts: 4.59%. This has slightly declined for several years. Bart Barber’s church gave over 12% CP. Mike Stone’s church, zero percent (they decided to give direct, bypassing the CP. You can argue for the latter but you can’t call it CP. Individual churches may give as they wish. No denominational people should criticize them for their giving but bloggers and Twitter people may. I would not have made Stone’s choice but neither do I think that CP is worth 1 out of every 8 church offering plate dollars, as Barber’s church gives. In my state, Georgia, the state convention sucks up most of every CP dollar.
International Mission Board’s CP receipts top $100,000,000. I like nice round numbers with lots of zeros for IMB. While CP isn’t their main funding source, it’s great that they got nine figures from the Executive Committee Allocation budget. The North American Mission Board received around $45 million, second largest. Past surveys of SBC pastors showed that they are satisfied with the EC allocation percentages.
IMB reports 3,521 missionaries and NAMB reports 2,961 missionaries. IMB is trying to permanently increase that number. Retirements and resignations are making that difficult. NAMB rotates out most missionaries after five years of the missionary’s church plant.
The SBC Executive Committee spent $4,168,697 on meetings for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Some call that “unsustainable.” I call it “nuts.” We have too many EC members. Southern Baptist churches and their members shouldn’t be paying an average of over $11,000 per day for 365 days so members of the EC can travel, meet, eat, and sleep. I don’t know how many days the EC actually met during the year. Say it is 20 days of meetings where expenses are paid. That would average over $200,000 per day. Put 86 Southern Baptists in a room together and what do you get? Huge bills and not much work. Bah! Humbug! If the EC would like to explain these expenses in a more palatable way, I invite them to do so.
IMB gets about 62% of their $291,754,000 budget from the Lottie Moon offering. Give more this year. It’s our most important entity and task.
NAMB showed a deficit of $31,220,381 in investment and interest income. I don’t know exactly what this means. They have healthy reserves. I bet Kevin Ezell gets asked during question time.
The EC lists an allocation amount for “SBC Vision 2025 Initiative” of $ 250,000. The line item has an asterisk that explains, “Priority will be given to Vision 2025 Strategic Action #6 with anticipation of receiving a request and recommendation from the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force.” That is a small amount based on past expenses for the sex abuse task forces. This is an area where funding is not easy to predict nor the source of funding is always obvious. Watch and pray.
NAMB has an ugly chart showing church plants, replants, affiliates, and campuses from 2000-2022. Observers should always keep in mind that the first half of the chart is made of really funky numbers. But NAMB critics are not slowed down by any facts.
Combined seminary enrollment (FTE) is down about 4% over the past three years. Still 12,356 is a large FTE. Seminary data are among the most difficult to comprehend. There are a lot of ways to look at them.
It’s amazing that people actually read this stuff. I’m retired and it doesn’t take away from any more profitable activity.