One would think that Holy Week would be a week for NOT publishing controversial hard SBC news but since the Missouri state paper, The Pathway, chose yesterday to post a piece explaining how their state convention is undermining the venerable Cooperative Program, a timely response is needed. You don’t have to agree with my take on this. Just don’t complain about political posts being made during this, the holiest week of the Christian calendar.
State conventions are the collecting agents for our Cooperative Program. A few states offer more than one CP giving plan. Missouri takes this to its ultimate end, the result being that the Cooperative Program is not cooperative and is totally trashed. In their own words:
“Plan A” is the traditional form of Cooperative Program (CP) giving. If churches opt for “Plan A,” their funds will be sent to the SBC’s Executive Committee and distributed according to the allocation plan approved each year by Southern Baptist messengers at their national meeting.
‘Plan A’ is classic CP giving. A church collects a sum they budget for Cooperative Program with the idea that it supports their state convention and all SBC entities according to what messengers to the SBC Annual Meeting approve in the SBC allocation budget. IMB, NAMB, the six seminaries, the ERLC, and the Executive Committee receive almost all of the revenue after the state convention takes their cut. It’s the classic ‘market basket’ of mission causes and your CP dollars are apportioned among many ministries.
The Missouri state convention would like to assist churches, not in reaching the world for Christ through evangelism, education, and support but in slicing and dicing up the Cooperative Program into selfish and self-serving little chunks. This is their right and churches make their final choice. ‘Plan B’ in their own words:
If churches opt for “Plan B” giving, however, they can select which SBC entities to withhold their funds from, and the MBC will forward their gifts only to those SBC entities that are not explicitly excluded by the church.
Churches all get a voucher to send with their CP gift. The voucher lists all the recipients of CP monies. Churches check off those they want to defund.
Great Baptist system for a state convention to undertake. Assist the churches in defending our ministries.
Shame on the Missouri Baptist Convention.
To be candid, most pastors and churches are already capable of making direct gifts to entities they favor but the state convention wouldn’t be doing the work for them. This Missouri plan is a disgrace to a century of Southern Baptist cooperation.
If I were pastor of a church in Missouri I believe I’d create a box to check that eliminated the Missouri Baptist Convention and applied all of my church CP giving to SBC allocation causes.
Just a few of final thoughts.
Missouri Baptist churches didn’t vote for this plan. The MBC Executive board did it. Bet that board doesn’t want messengers from MBC churches to vote on it.
And if a church goes the ‘Plan B’ route why would that giving be considered a Cooperative Program gift? One can see the problem if a church ‘Plan B’ giving selects, say, only Southwestern Seminary or any other entity and cuts out the rest. Not cooperative. Shouldn’t be counted as Cooperative Program. It’s, ahem, Great Commission Giving.
Here’s a proposal: Examine every single individual who is serving on an SBC entity board of trustees, or who is nominated for such a board. If their church is a ‘Plan B’ church, demand an explanation and accounting for which SBC entities were defunded. Let messengers to the SBCAM know whom they are voting for.
Oh, the Missouri Baptist Convention already sucks up fully 62% of a church’s CP dollar. Maybe the best route would be to cut the MBC’s take of a CP dollar. Billions of souls lost around the globe…MBC shovels most of the CP money into a state with about 1,800 MBC churches.
The position of the MBC executive staff seems clear to me: they want to take both sides. Here’s what was said:
Yeats told The Pathway, “The MBC Executive Board encourages all churches to give undesignated Cooperative Program offerings through the state convention and to the SBC CP Allocation Budget—Plan A. We do not recommend permanently creating any other track for giving because we believe it harms the unified budget concept of the Cooperative Program.
“Our state missionary staff has steadfastly advocated for Southern Baptists staying with the traditional Cooperative Program giving method and remaining firm partners with the thousands of Southern Baptist churches in all 50 states committed to Cooperative Program missions.
“On the other hand,” Yeats added, “we recognize the autonomy of the local church to make its own giving decisions and, in good conscience, have asked our Executive Board for a temporary new Plan B, and they have approved. We have responded to this request while MBC-affiliated churches monitor upcoming events in the SBC and make longer-term decisions about their church’s cooperation.”
Why not put this CP-destroying giving option on hold for now and let the churches vote on it?
Regardless, the 1,800 churches affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention elected their own executive board. They deserve the board they elected.