As of Feb. 29, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget totaled $81,622,100.78, or 105.32 percent of the $77,500,000 year-to-date budgeted amount to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America. The total is $1,270,968.69 less than the $82,893,069.47 received through the end of February 2011.
The convention-adopted budget is distributed 50.2 percent to international missions through the 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. 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.
"Given the state of the economy the past several years, we set a conservative convention budget goal for this fiscal year," Page said. "I am delighted that for each dollar we receive over the annual budgeted goal, a higher percentage will end up on the international fields through the ministry of IMB.
"It is such a blessing to see God's hand at work through His children," Page noted. "For example, I recently had the privilege of preaching at one of our African American churches. During the offertory, I was fascinated as all the tithers stood. When I asked the pastor about this, he pointed to the church bulletin."
According to the second of seven principles about the tithe printed in the bulletin, "ll tithers are expected to stand during the offertory period even if it is not your pay period." The principle continues, "We stand to present to God our tithes and offerings (worship), reflect on the Word of God relative to giving, engage in warfare praying and bring the tithe and place our gift in the tithing box."
"I thank the Lord that almost $41 million in CP contributions has been forwarded to the IMB since Oct. 1 through the gifts of the hundreds of thousands of faithful tithers represented by those who stood in that service," Page said. "Other gifts have been distributed for pastoral preparation through our seminaries, to NAMB and ERLC for evangelism, church planting and moral advocacy across our great nation, and to the operating budget of the convention. It is a special joy to be part of a convention that has such a vision for reaching the nations with the Gospel of our Lord. We must never take our privilege and responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission for granted."
Designated giving of $87,179,931.73 for the same year-to-date period is 1.21 percent, or $1,044,244.19, above gifts of $86,135,687.54 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.
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 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 fostered by SBC 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.
February's CP allocation receipts for SBC work totaled $16,508,813.14. This is the third successive month that contributions exceeded monthly budget projections. Designated gifts received last month, meanwhile, amounted to $46,450,577.15.
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.
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