July 24, 2002
Reversing a year-long trend, Missouri Baptists’ gifts through the Cooperative Program rose by nearly $100,000 in July, the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) announced Aug. 1
Churches gave $1,454,111 in July compared to $1,355,152 for July 2001. The increased giving in July snaps a string of two straight months in which CP gifts dropped below last year’s pace.
"This increase (July) was definitely impacted by July 2002 having five Sundays," said David Waganer, co-interim executive director. "We are still anticipating being around 15 percent below budget for the current year."
Through the first seven months of 2002 CP giving increased in April and July over the same two months in 2001, while gifts dropped in the other five months compared to the same time last year, leaving the convention at about 13 percent below the current budget need of $19.2 million.
Through the first seven months Missouri Baptists have given $9,380,675, compared to $10,828,710 for the same period in 2001. Normally about 200 of the MBC’s almost 2,000 churches do not contribute to the Cooperative Program. So far in 2002 about 400 churches have not contributed, said Carol Kaylor, MBC controller.
Leaders have speculated as to why CP giving is down, but no one really knows for sure. Theories range from confusion over the controversy between the theologically conservative leaders of the MBC and disgruntled moderates who have lost their political power to a sagging economy in some regions of the state.
Some MBC leaders suggested that churches have withheld because they do not want their money to lay dormant in escrow. The MBC Executive Board addressed that issue in July, announcing that 2003 CP gifts normally funneled to the five renegade agencies, where trustees voted to become self-perpetuating, would be shifted to institutions – like the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, Southwest Baptist University, Hannibal-LaGrange College and The Pathway — that have remained loyal to the MBC.