For those with a surfeit of election year political stuff, I humbly offer some calming and pacifying (some may say ‘mind numbing’) information on our beloved Cooperative Program. Watch out for the high weeds, though.
The money collected under our venerable Cooperative Program, now in its tenth decade, is divided into two parts: the first part is the money kept by the state conventions, the second part is forwarded to the SBC Executive Committee, most of which is divided among the mission boards and seminaries.
Of interest to those who pay attention is the “split”; how much stays in each state and how much gets to SBC seminaries and mission boards. A few data points on this:
- Historically, state conventions keep most of the money. There has never been a year that state conventions divided the money equally or Have ban anywhere in the neighborhood of a 50/50 split. In nine decades of CP collections only twice (1949-50, 1950-51) have state conventions kept less than 60%
- The most recent data show that of every CP dollar, the state conventions kept 61.25% and the SBC received 38.75%.
- In the past half century the percentage kept by state convention has ranged between 61.29 and 66.56.
- Since the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report was adopted by the SBC in 2010 and called for a “return to the historic ideal of a 50/50 Cooperative Program distribution between the state conventions and the SBC”, the state conventions have kept between 61.25% and 62.20% of CP dollars.
- The most recent statistical year, 2014-2015 showed states reducing their percentage about a full point to 61.25%
- The Florida state convention made a drastic change that put their split at 49/51 making them the only legacy state forwarding a majority of CP dollars to SBC causes.
- Southern Baptists of Texas, the conservative state body in Texas, has been at 45/55 for a few years.
- Two smaller state conventions, Iowa and Nevada, are at 50/50.
- My state, Georgia, is moving to a 58/42 split, a move made much easier as a result of a $25 million gift to the convention to retire the mortgage on the headquarters building. It is unclear how much progress will be made to move from 58/42 to 50/50.
- The Alabama convention, which gives the largest amount in CP revenues to SBC causes, is at 55/45.
- The Tennessee convention, third largest CP giver, is at about 57/43.
- The Louisiana and Mississippi conventions have the least favorable splits among the legacy states (not counting the more moderate conventions in Texas and Virginia) at about 63/37.