Jared Wellman and the SBC Cooperation Group is doing a survey. Lifeway Research is collaborating in this and all SBC churches with an email address receive the survey. [As an aside, I get a malware notice from my security software on Windows but not on my iPad.]
Here is the survey and how I would have answered as pastor of the church from which I retired.
The survey asks for answers on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “don’t know”. I’m not a survey expert and don’t know why the choice was negatives first followed by the positives.
The Cooperative Program supports SBC entities, ministries, and missions that my church values
I strongly agree although it’s a bit of a loaded question. I value IMB/NAMB strongly but not some of the others. If the survey shows that a high percentage of SBC pastors and leaders strongly agree with this question, it doesn’t explain context.
The Cooperative Program supports state convention entities, ministries, and missions that my church values
Somewhat agree, but not most of where the money goes in our state.
The Cooperative Program protects SBC churches from direct funding appeals by entities
Strongly disagree. It simply doesn’t do that.
The Cooperative Program allows my church to support more missions endeavors efficiently than we could on our own.
Somewhat agree. What’s with the word “efficient” here? It’s a deal breaker.
The Cooperative Program allocates contributions among state, national, and global ministries, missions, and entities appropriately
Strongly disagree. States keep around 60%. Deep south states keep most of the CP dollar. It’s a scandal.
The Cooperative Program is the most effective and efficient way to support the spread of the gospel worldwide.
Strongly disagree. Really, Lifeway Research, it’s an insult to ask this question. See my answer to the previous question.
Second page of survey. Same questions as the first but the question is how important the following benefits are to your church. Answers are “not important at all” to “don’t know.”
No need to go through them again.
Third page of survey. “Please indicate your level of agreement for each statement.”
Our church is pleased with the direction of the SBC.
I would “somewhat agree.”
Our church’s satisfaction with the Cooperative Program depends on our satisfaction with the overall direction of the SBC.
Our church is concerned that liberal ideologies are influencing too much of the direction of the SBC entities funded by the Cooperative Program
So, this question frees Lifeway from being questioned as liberal? I would strongly disagree with the question.
Our church is concerned that right-wing ideologies are influencing too much of the direction of the SBC entities funded by the Cooperative Program
Somewhat disagree. Survey monkey makes the respondent choose. Phooey.
The doctrine or practices of other Southern Baptist churches is making our church question whether we should continue to be affiliated with the SBC.
Good question. The CP doesn’t make an appearance in this one.
Further pages ask for CP percentage of your church; how CP percentages have changed over the past five years.
Here’s the money page. Choose one of the following:
We have an overwhelmingly positive view of the Cooperative Program
We have an mostly positive view of the Cooperative Program
We have an mixed view of the Cooperative Program
We have an mostly negative view of the Cooperative Program
We have an overwhelmingly negative view of the Cooperative Program
Our church is unaware of the Cooperative Program.
Fill in the field: “What are the strengths of the Cooperative Program?”
Fill in the field: “What concerns does your church have with the Cooperative Program?”
Page that ask church size, attendance;
William’s overall evaluation of this survey.
- It’s a myth that churches have enough awareness to answer these questions.
- The pastor of the church will impose his personal views on the answers.
- Self-selected responses, not a random survey. Bah humbug, Lifeway. Spend the money and do a random survey of SBC pastors. They drive this bus.
- This will give cover to some people (“…but, but, survey said most churches love the CP…” “Sure, guess that’s why it’s been in a decline for almost a half century.”
We can do better. If Jared Wellman and his blue ribbon group will make all their discussions and meetings open to the public, transcribed or recorded and immediately available, then maybe we will get something valuable out of this. If they go the way of the GC Task Force, secrecy and sealed records, then it’s a waste of time.
Here’s are things that ought to receive scrutiny:
- No church has to give to the CP.
- State conventions keep most of the millions. What have they done with the money? Nothing much that has yielded results. But the Group will avoid this, the most salient fact about the CP, like the plague.
- How do we justify a mid-20th century funding scheme, one that has been declining for about half of its life, in the third decade of the 21st century?
- Six separate, resident seminaries. forty-one separate state conventions, and over one thousand local associations. How many layers and parochial interests groups do we need?
I hope Jared and the group comes up with something but I’m not optimistic.
Happy national “No Beard Day”! Calvinists take note.