NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Year-to-date contributions to Southern Baptist national and international missions and ministries received by the SBC Executive Committee are 5.02 percent above the year-to-date budgeted goal and are less than 1 percent (0.82 percent) behind contributions received during the same time frame last year, according to a news release from SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Frank S. Page. The total includes receipts from state conventions and fellowships, churches and individuals for distribution according to the 2011-12 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
As of Jan. 31, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget totaled $65,113,287.64, or 105.02 percent of the $62,000,000 year-to-date amount budgeted to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America. The total is $539,172.53 less than the $65,652,460.17 received through the end of January 2011.
"Nonprofits typically rebound from economic crises at a slower pace than the general economy," Page said. "In light of giving trends over the past three years, the SBC reduced its 2011-2012 budget by 6.9 percent and the SBC Operating Budget by 13.6 percent from the 2010-2011 adopted budgets. Given where our cooperative giving is at this point, these seem to be wise and prudent moves."
The convention-adopted budget is distributed 50.2 percent to international missions through IMB, 22.79 percent to North American missions through NAMB, 22.16 percent to theological education, 3.2 percent to the SBC operating budget, and 1.65 percent to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "While we celebrate every gift to each area of our cooperative missions and ministries," Page said, "we are especially grateful that more than $47.5 million in Cooperative Program contributions have gone directly to missions through IMB and NAMB in the first four months of our fiscal year."
According to the budget adopted by the SBC at its June 2011 annual meeting in Phoenix, if the convention exceeds its annual budget goal of $186 million, IMB's share will go to 51 percent of any overage in Cooperative Program allocation budget receipts. Other ministry entities of the SBC will receive their adopted percentage amounts and the SBC operating budget's portion will be reduced to 2.4 percent of any overage.
Designated giving of $40,729,354.48 for the same year-to-date period is 8.72 percent, or $3,267,717.60, above gifts of $37,461,636.88 received at this point last year. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
"We continue to thank the Lord for His great blessings through His people," Page said. "These faithful and sacrificial gifts enable Southern Baptists to maintain a vibrant missionary force deployed across our nation and around the world and to provide low-cost, quality theological education to thousands of ministerial students and other church workers.
"We are grateful for the positive numbers we have witnessed this month, but we must not lose sight of the vast lostness all around us. I encourage our pastors and churches to remain committed to our cooperative efforts to train ministers and other church leaders, plant churches and engage the thousands of unreached peoples in our own country and around the world with the saving Gospel of our Lord Jesus."
The Cooperative Program is a program of giving through which a local church is able to contribute to the various ministries of its state convention and to the various missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention with a single contribution.
Traditionally, state and regional conventions have acted as collecting entities for Cooperative Program contributions. They retain a portion of church contributions to the Cooperative Program to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to Southern Baptist national and international causes. The percentage of distribution from the states is at the discretion of the messengers of each state convention through the adoption of the state convention's annual budget.
A key component of the Cooperative Program is the commitment of each state convention to forward all sums collected in the states for the causes of the convention to the Executive Committee each month. The Executive Committee, as the disbursing agent of the convention, remits both budgeted and designated funds to the SBC entities each week.
CP allocation budget receipts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state offices, to the denominational papers and are posted online at www.cpmissions.net/CPReports.
January's CP allocation receipts for SBC work totaled $20,844,083.87. This is the second successive month that contributions exceeded monthly budget projections. Designated gifts received last month, meanwhile, amounted to $29,029,011.41.
The end-of-month total represents money received by the Executive Committee by the close of the last business day of each month. Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the number of Sundays in a given month, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions and the timing of when state conventions forward the national portion of their CP contributions to the Executive Committee.
During the last fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2010 - Sept. 30, 2011), Cooperative Program receipts for the year were up 0.06 percent -- the first increase since 2007. Combined CP and designated giving for the year, meanwhile, were up 0.17 percent.