CP giving exceeds expectations for 2003
By Bob Baysinger
January 20, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptists wrapped up the year 2003 with a big “vote of confidence" for the Cooperative Program (CP).
Southern Baptists throughout Missouri contributed more than $1.94 million to the CP in December, pushing the 2003 year-ending total to $16,596,166, a 2.75 percent increase over 2002 CP contributions.
The December offering was the highest monthly CP contribution by churches during 2003. The previous monthly high was in April when CP giving was $1.66 million.
Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) leaders were ecstatic about the year-end figures.
“When I came to this job, we were three-quarters of a million dollars in debt and not able to pay our bills," said David Clippard, MBC executive director. “There were many designated accounts with nothing in them.
“We have now replenished all our accounts and have a positive cash flow. I really feel great about this. It has brought us full circle. Some people were saying that everything in the Missouri Baptist Convention was going to fold. It just hasn’t happened."
Kenny Qualls, MBC associate executive director, said God deserves the glory.
“Jeremiah said in chapter 4, verse 2 that ‘in Him they will glory.’ In the midst of all the important changes in the MBC these past years, a small number held a view this convention would not survive," Qualls said.
“By God’s grace, the MBC is not going backwards and not content to stay the same. We are going and growing forward with the Gospel of King Jesus.
“I join Jeremiah in saying that “in Him we glory!"
Mike Dennis, MBC CP specialist, said the increased giving is an indication that God blessed Missouri Baptists in 2003.
“And we can only be looking for more great things in 2004," Dennis said. “Missouri Baptists are people of ‘The Book’ who are partnering in touching the world for Christ."
The 2003 CP picture in Missouri resembled a roller coaster.
Bad weather in January, forced many churches to cancel services, leaving CP giving 23.5 percent behind the previous year after one month. More bad weather in the spring hampered the ability of some Baptist families to give.
Continued steady giving, however, helped CP to catch up and pull ahead of the previous year’s performance in September. Reduced giving in November left CP .06 percent behind going into December. The huge offering in December, however, lifted the final CP figure well above the 2002 level and in excess of the MBC’s $16.2 million budget for 2003.
Dennis said the increased giving means more than just a larger pool of money.
“It means that the Southern Baptist Convention and the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) will be able to impact more lives," Dennis explained. “If every state were able to increase CP giving as Missouri has, it means the International Mission Board (IMB) would be able to increase the number of missionaries that waiting to be sent out.
“It also means that needed ministries are going to be supported in a greater way in our state."
For example, Dennis said, there will be:
- More new churches started;
- More people reached for Christ;
- More training and strengthening in churches;
- More new Bible study units; and
- More support for the MBC family ministry.
“This puts a very positive note on what has been a tough financial year," Dennis said. “It also reminds us that we must continue to educate our people on what CP has done historically and what might be done in the future."