…and I’ll raise a toast to that. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.
ALASKA chose the worst possible way by trashing the entire concept of the Cooperative Program. How Alaska Baptists would destroy the Cooperative Program and blame it on NAMB, was my article of a month ago. The somber Alaska Baptists actually voted to excise NAMB from the CP. They will keep that money in-state. Bad leadership. Bad decision. Deplorable reaction to NAMB which has spent more per capita in Alaska than any other state. Maybe brains will thaw and that action will be reversed. Until then, Alaska Baptists have a CP Cafeteria going.
In contrast, The Wyoming Southern Baptist Mission Network voted to become financially independent, that is, to pay their own bills. “Wyoming Southern Baptists remain committed to the Cooperative Program,” said their Executive Director, Quinn Williams. They are able to do so because they increased the amount of CP funds they would keep from 67.25% to 90%. That’s fairly drastic but eliminates dependency on NAMB and LifeWay. I would have supported the action if I lived in Wyoming and had a cowboy hat, something I’ve never owned. I expect that other states will follow Wyoming.
The Iowa state convention actually increased the percentage of CP receipts they are sending to Nashville for distribution to the national entities, and I don’t think missions money grows on corn stalks even in that state. They moved from 50% to 60%. Good for them, though I don’t see how the finances work for them long term.
Many, perhaps most, states kept the percentages the same. Let the autonomous bodies decide how they want to handle our venerable flagship funding scheme. The CP is almost a century old. Needs a new look, I think.
On average, state conventions are heavy consumers of Cooperative Program dollars; that is, they keep most of what they collect even in the “rich” southern states. I surmise that is part of the reason CP has had a long run of years where the percentage of church offering plate dollars devoted to it have declined. It’s been under 5% for some years.
Are you satisfied with your state’s opportunity cost decisions?
“Opportunity cost” is a fancy way of saying that there are alternatives available when we have money to spend. Churches are the ultimate and most important decisionmakers in the spending of mission dollars.
I’m a degreed Southern Baptist but not a pedigreed one. Maybe that’s why I’m not seeing a clear vision for the role of state conventions in the 21st century. The local association has a logical role. The national convention has a natural role. States? I dunno. I hear churches from Nevada have joined the Iowa convention. Maybe a wish for cold weather.