MBC board makes bold CP statement
No litmus test intended, just raising its profile
By Don Hinkle
April 18, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – In one of the most audacious acts ever by Missouri Baptists directed at the Cooperative Program (CP), Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board members unanimously passed a statement April 11 affirming the MBC’s commitment to CP and offering sweeping recommendations for affiliated churches – including their own – to increase CP giving.
In its statement, the board recommended churches contribute at least 10 percent of their annual budget receipts through the CP. It went even further, recommending the election of state and national convention officers, trustees, board and committee members whose churches give at least 10 percent of their annual budget receipts through the CP.
The statement also calls for members of the MBC Executive Board to set an example by encouraging the churches they attend to increase their percentage of giving through the CP.
“These are not litmus tests, they are only recommendations,” stressed Executive Board President Ralph Sawyer, pastor, First Baptist Church, Wentzville. “But the board wanted to make a strong statement designed to raise the Cooperative Program’s profile.”
The recommendations come on the heels of similar ones recommended by state executive directors and adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee.
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ method of supporting missions and ministry efforts of the MBC and SBC. It is separate from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund of which 100 percent of monies go to aid the needy in the general public and the Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering (MMO) of which 100 percent of monies go only to Missouri ministries.
The Cooperative Program total includes receipts from individuals, churches, state conventions and fellowships for distribution according to the messenger-approved MBC budget and to the 2005-06 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget. Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund and other special gifts.
The MBC retains a portion of church contributions to the SBC Cooperative Program to support its ministries and forwards a percentage to the SBC for Southern Baptist national and international causes. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of the MBC.
At its April 11 meeting at the Baptist Building, the board approved 2007 CP offering goals, recommending a budget of $16.5 million, down slightly from the approximately $17 million 2006 budget. CP allocations for 2007 will be 36 percent for SBC causes and 64 percent for MBC ministries, up slightly from 2006. Specific allocations within the MBC’s portion may still face some changes before the entire budget – in final form – is presented to messengers for approval at the annual meeting in Cape Girardeau Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
“We are asking Missouri Baptists to increase the percentage of their giving through the Cooperative Program,” said David Tolliver, MBC associate executive director and Cooperative Program specialist. “Leading by example, the Executive Board has chosen to increase the percentage of the Cooperative Program that we send on to Nashville and the SBC missions and ministry agencies.”
The proposed 2007 budget sets a goal of $4 million for Lottie Moon (up from $3.75 million in 2006), while the Annie Armstrong and World Hunger offerings remain unchanged at $2 million and $325,000, respectively.
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