By Jonathan Howe
NASHVILLE (BP) — Southern Baptists continue to exercise financial faithfulness as the nation recovers from the economic struggles brought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Along with the continued faithful giving from churches, two state conventions presented special one-time gifts that boosted giving totals to begin the fiscal year.
Mississippi Baptists voted last month to give $1 million to the 2020-21 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Designated giving for October totaled $5,128,550.08. Additionally, California Southern Baptists earmarked $221,185 from the sale of Jenness Park, a Christian conference center in central California, for the national Cooperative Program Allocation Budget. Both gifts are reflected in October totals and fuel Great Commission work by Southern Baptists around North America and the globe. National CP giving totaled $16,047,025.99 for the month.
“The churches of our Southern Baptist Convention are coming together to support the vision of the Great Commission,” said SBC Executive Committee president and CEO Ronnie Floyd in a statement.
“This inspires all of us to continue moving forward with the compelling vision to reach every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state, and every nation. Southern Baptists pastors, leaders, and churches always respond positively and generously when we are committed to focus together on advancing the Gospel to every person regionally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. Therefore, our hearts are overflowing with gratitude to our churches and to God. May the Lord continue to bless our churches in every way.”
As of Oct. 31, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America total $16,047,025.99. This is $839,374.55, or 5.5%, more than last October’s budget contribution of $15,207,651.44 and ahead of the $15,572,916.67 year-to-date budgeted projection by $474,109.32, or 3.04%.
Designated gifts received in October amounted to $5,128,550.08. This total was $1,275,297.00, or 33.10%, above gifts of $3,853,253.08 received last October.
The Cooperative Program is the financial fuel to fund the SBC mission and vision of reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state, and every nation. Begun in 1925, local churches contribute to the ministries of its state convention and the missions and ministries of the SBC through a unified giving plan to support both sets of ministries. Monies include receipts from individuals, churches, and state conventions for distribution according to the 2020-2021 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
State and regional conventions retain a portion of church contributions to Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to SBC national and international causes. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of each state or regional convention.
The convention-adopted budget for 2020-2021 is $186.875 million and includes an initial $200,000 special priority allocation for the SBC Vision 2025 initiative. Cooperative Program funds are then disbursed as follows: 50.41% to international missions through the International Mission Board, 22.79% to North American missions through the North American Mission Board, 22.16% to theological education through the six SBC seminaries and the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, 2.99% to the SBC operating budget and 1.65% to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. If national CP gifts exceed the $186.875 million budget projection at the end of the fiscal year, 10% of the overage is to be used to support the SBC Vision 2025 initiative with the balance of the overage distributed according to the percentages approved for budgetary distribution. The SBC Executive Committee distributes all CP and designated gifts it receives on a weekly basis to the SBC ministry entities.
Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the timing of when the cooperating state Baptist conventions forward the national portion of Cooperative Program contributions to the Executive Committee, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions, the number of Sundays in a given month, and the percentage of CP contributions forwarded to the SBC by the state conventions after shared ministry expenses are deducted.
Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief, Disaster Relief, and other special gifts. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
CP allocation budget gifts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state convention offices, and to the state Baptist papers and are posted online at sbc.net/cp.
Jonathan Howe is vice president for communications at the SBC Executive Committee.