[Note: please read through to the end for an important addendum.]
It’s 2022 and our flagship giving plan, The Cooperative Program, will be one hundred years old in three years, 2025. In my decades as an active and involved Southern Baptist – SBC church member, seminary student, pastor, and now retired – the CP has been variously termed a miracle, an act of God, the envy of other denominations, the fuel for mission work and others. My favorite is that the CP isn’t a “sacred cow” but “the sacred how.” Notice how proponents acknowledge that a significant proportion of SBCers label the CP as a sacred cow. The clever rejoinder gets print but not dollars from churches. The CP is in a long term decline.
But, here’s the news: The CP is unusually and significantly up for Q1 (Oct-Dec 2021). I think the history is that the CP gets off to a sluggish start so an increase to start the fiscal year is not to be overlooked.
CP giving finishes first quarter 10% above last year…
Is this because of the resolution of the Executive Committee squabble with the Sex Abuse Task Force that ended with multiple EC member resignations (I think all of the EC members who are CBN folks quit) and staff resignations, including top guy Ronnie Floyd?
It would be rank punditry to speculate thus but that’s what we do here.
I hate to say it but this site published How a Church Might Reallocate Funds Away from the Executive Committee. My enormous respect for Jay Adkins aside (he earned his bona fides with me a few years ago), I hated to see giving weaponized but this is in our DNA as Southern Baptists. Don’t like something or someone, try and cut the money flow.
So, with the EC cleaned up and going along with the SATF, can we attribute an increase to that? Not sure.
In our time of divisive denomination travail it ought to count for something that officially, both current SBC leadership and the Conservative Baptist Network support the CP. Does that mean smooth sailing ahead? Don’t count on it.
Hey, anonymous CBN people (and virtually nothing from the CBN comes with anyone’s name on it). Can you explain how the convention is going liberal and yet still encourage pastors and churches to support it? Or, can you think the SBC needs to be taken over and still promote the CP? Not really, I’d say, which is why I don’t recall seeing much Network CP promotion.
We will see how the rest of the CP year goes. I’d guess it depends on Anaheim.
When we have our big CP anniversary bash in 2025, we will celebrate a sensible giving plan, but one that has been declining for half of its lifetime. But, if the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be, she still yields a lot of mission milk, almost $200m annually to national SBC entities.
The CP is important but missions (NAMB and IMB specifically) will receive an increasing part of their budget from Annie and Lottie, not CP.
State conventions still keep most of the churches CP dollar. Just thought I’d throw that in.
Less than four days until the nation crowns an SEC team as football champions.