June 17, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – Cooperative Program (CP) receipts continued an upward trend in May.
According to tabulations in the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) financial office, May contributions were $1,322,700. The total exceeded May 2002 giving ($1,294,557), marking the fourth consecutive month CP contributions have outdistanced the year-ago figure.
“There does seem to be some signs that perhaps we are turning the corner,” said Mike Dennis, MBC cooperative program specialist. “I think this should be an encouraging word to all of us. From these figures, however, I’m still having a hard time saying that we’re out of the woods, but it is still encouraging.”
May giving increased the 2003 Missouri CP total to $6,628,715. This total is only 2.7 percent short of the 2003 five-month budget goal of $7,239,726.
CP giving the first month of 2003 lagged 23.59 percent behind the budget goal. That gap has steadily narrowed since, dropping to 13.32 percent in February, 7.41 percent in March, 3.84 percent in April and down to the 2.7 percent in May.
Dennis said he has researched trends on the Barna Research Report Online and found that the number of those tithing nationally has dropped.
“The proportion of households that tithe their income to their church has dropped by 62 percent in the past year,” Dennis said. “In 2000, 12 percent of all born again adults tithed. The percentage rose to 13 percent in 2001, but dropped to only 6 percent in 2002.”
Dennis said Barna Research did mention that the highest proportion of those tithing are 55 and older and that the highest proportion of households tithing are evangelicals.
“Certainly Southern Baptists fit this mold,” Dennis said. “We are all concerned about what will happen as these 55 year olds reach the age where their incomes are fixed.”
Dennis said Baptists shouldn’t roll over and wait for the inevitable.
“People still give to causes they believe in,” he said. “When our vision is based on joining God in His mission, our worldview changes dramatically. If we are to be mission-minded and commit our resources to carrying out this view, we will see God’s people begin to join God in His mission and partner with others of like-mind in seeing the lost world come to Christ.”