CP in Missouri up in September
By Bob Baysinger
October 7, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – Cooperative Program giving by Missouri Baptists increased dramatically in September.
According to Jay Hughes, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) controller, MBC churches contributed $1,482,382 to the Cooperative Program in September, surpassing the September, 2002, total of $916,048.
September giving pushed the CP 2003 cumulative total to $12,029,744, a 2.96 percent increase over the $11,683,385 given the first nine months of 2002.
"This continues an encouraging pattern for late summer as we move to fall harvest time," said Mike Dennis, who coordinates MBC Cooperative Program efforts. "We continue to be below our 2003 budget of $17.5 million by 8.54 percent, but the picture remains positive."
Dennis said that August having five Sundays impacted September giving. But, he noted, September, 2002, is also a five-Sunday month.
Meanwhile, David Clippard, MBC executive director, has instructed staff to cut eight percent from their budgets in anticipation of the MBC Executive Board recommending a reduced $16.4 million budget – the same as 2002 — at its Oct. 9 meeting. Those cuts have been identified by staff and are not expected to have any significant impact on the convention’s ministries. Indeed, the eight percent cut is smaller than an original 15 percent reduction ordered by Clippard earlier this year. Clippard adjusted the percentage of reduction after CP giving gained steam in the early summer and the convention was better able to project CP gifts for the rest of 2002.
A report issued by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Funding Study Committee in September lists seven recommendations to reverse what it found to be a gradual decline in both the money given to churches by Southern Baptists and the percentage of a church’s offerings passed along to the Cooperative Program.
At the core of the recommendations is a better-educated constituency (see the full story on page 15).
"The factor that appears to be emerging as the most plausible explanation for the declining support for the Cooperative Program is a serious neglect of Cooperative Program education and promotion in the churches," the report said.
"Rather than widespread negative feelings about the Cooperative Program, there appears to be widespread ignorance about the Cooperative Program."