JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptists are giving more to missions through the Cooperative Program so far in 2013, according to just-released figures from the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).
For the first nine months of the year, CP giving from MBC churches totaled $10.7 million, compared with $10.59 million for the same period last year, an increase of 1 percent.
CP giving during the same period is running 2.7 percent behind budget, however.
“Missouri Baptists are staying faithful to the concept of sacrificial giving and the pooling of resources to advance the gospel, despite an economy in the doldrums,” says Rob Phillips, who leads statewide efforts to promote CP. “We value the proven commitment of Missouri Baptists to the Great Commission as they give themselves first to God and then to others through biblical stewardship.”
50/50 by 2020
MBC Executive Director John Yeats is leading an effort to send more CP dollars outside the state through the 50/50 by 2020 initiative. “Our goal is to achieve a 50/50 share of CP giving between the MBC and the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) by 2020,” he says.
Currently, more than 60 percent of CP funds stay in Missouri, but CP giving above budget is automatically split 50/50 between Missouri and the SBC beginning this year.
Yeats adds that some Missouri Baptist churches are joining other SBC churches across the country in taking the 1% Challenge, increasing the percentage their churches give through CP by one percent this year. According to a recent study by LifeWay Research, 15 percent of SBC churches have already embraced the 1% Challenge.
“This enables our state convention to make a greater impact on missions in Missouri, while assisting the North American Mission Board with its church planting initiative,” he notes. “Further, it allows the International Mission Board to keep a larger number of missionaries on the field, and it helps our seminaries do an even better job of training the next generation of pastors and church leaders.”
Free CP resources
The Cooperative Program is the funding process Southern Baptists have used since 1925 to support missions and evangelism. Through CP, the mission of one church is extended to ministries that reach the lost, hungry, hurting, sick and displaced. In addition, CP helps keep more than 10,000 full-time missionaries on the field.