No surprise about that; nothing new, nothing different. Latest CP figures released by the Executive Committee have this as a headline:
Nat’l CP 2.67% over YTD budget projection
Savvy CP watchers will appreciate that the 2018-2019 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget was a conservative budget and that the Executive Committee has sufficient revenues to meet the budgetary expectations of the mission boards, seminaries, and other national CP recipients. The national CP is roughly 40% of all CP revenues. State conventions keep the bulk of it, always have, though less now than in earlier years. The EC distributes about $194 million, a mammoth sum, to our entities. No one sniffs at the total amount and the SBC is the envy of other denominations in this regard a fact which enables us with some contortion to pat ourselves on the back.
Here’s the problem: CP giving is down from the same period last year.
As of April 30, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget totaled $116,186,117.28, or $800,406.94 below the $116,986,524.22 received through the first seven months of the 2017–2018 fiscal year.
About $800k down, not a lot. Maybe by the end of the fiscal year in September, this small deficit will be eliminated but as of the first seven months of the fiscal year CP receipts by the EC are down slightly, less than one percent.
A bit more concerning is the drop in designated giving, mostly Lottie Moon and early Annie Armstrong giving.
Meanwhile, year-to-date designated giving of $129,118,217.28 was 2.80 percent, or $3,724,925.68, below gifts of $132,843,142.96 received in the first seven months of last year’s fiscal year.
The drop is as of now a little under three percent. Lottie and Annie are more volatile and subject to upswings and downswings than the CP. Both are very healthy and are at or near record offerings.
I always appreciate the Executive Committee faithfully reporting the numbers on a monthly basis.
The current budgeting and giving totals show one thing: no one in Southern Baptist life is expecting the Cooperative Program overall to show any appreciable increase. We expect about the same, maybe a little less from year-to-year. When SBC leaders talk of grand plans and great increases, consider that to be just Baptist pie-in-the-sky talk. When SBC leaders make up an actual budget, that’s the figure to watch. We’re budgeting for slightly less CP revenue.
Can this be changed? Can something be done to motivate churches to give measurably and appreciably more to the Cooperative Program?
I’m not seeing any ideas, plans, programs, or people that can move that needle. I doubt that Ronnie Floyd, by the force of his energetic and charismatic personality, can do much but we will get to see him in action in a month or so. Frank Page implemented promotion programs that likely slowed the decrease.
Frankly, the best chance for a quick infusion of dollars into the Cooperative Program comes from the state conventions selling their expensive and underutilized real estate. When my state, Georgia, sells our magnificent HQ which is in a very desirable Atlanta surburban location, there will be tens of millions of dollars on the table to be used. Depending on how greedy my state convention leaders are (and I don’t think they are greedy at all) the CP could get a $20-$30 million one-time boost. Or, the state could give a meager “tithe” of $5-7 million. My numbers are rank conjecture on this but we’ve got a very valuable piece of property.
We will see.
The energy in SBC life is in designated giving. Has been for some time.
But you tell me: do you and your church have plans to greatly increase CP giving? Keep it about the same? Retrench downward a bit? Redirect your mission priorities altogether away from CP an to other causes? And, why?