JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptists value the Cooperative Program (CP) but want to be better informed about how their CP contributions support missions.
That’s the bottom line of a recent CP survey offered online and at the MBC Annual Meeting held recently in St. Louis.
About 200 Missouri Baptists weighed in, testing their knowledge of CP and sharing their thoughts about how CP communications could be improved.
The Cooperative Program is the funding process Southern Baptists have used since 1925 to support missions and evangelism. Giving through CP in Missouri has been on the decline over the last decade but has shown an uptick so far in 2012.
Overall, results showed that Missouri Baptists attending the Annual Meeting have a good understanding of CP. For example, nine out of 10 know that CP supports more than 10,000 missionaries around the world, and that CP enables every giver to make a global impact. However, fewer respondents – eight out of 10 – understand that CP funds come back to local Missouri churches in training, events and other ministries.
“We were pleased to visit with so many Missouri Baptists at the CP booth at the annual meeting,” said Rob Phillips, communications team leader for the MBC. “The survey results showed a high level of interest in CP, and respondents were clear that they value our cooperative effort to fund missions. At the state level, we learned we can improve our communications by showing where CP funds go and telling more stories about lives changed for the glory of God.”
Other survey results:
• Only half know that more than 60 percent of CP dollars stay in Missouri.
• Only one respondent expressed the view, “I do not think CP is important.”
• Six out of 10 said CP was discussed in their local church in the last month (October was CP Promotion Month).
• Seventy-one percent said they know the percentage their church gives through CP, and 77 percent know that their congregation decides the percentage the local church sets aside for CP.
• Six out of 10 said they would be stronger supporters of CP if they could hear stories about how CP makes a difference.
• When asked, “How would you prefer to receive information about CP?” 70 percent said through The Pathway; 54 percent through web-based communications such as mobaptist.org; 54 percent from the pastor; and 38 percent through an e-newsletter like mbConnect.
In a breakdown by demographics:
• Pastors form the largest group preferring to receive information via the web and social media, but trailed other groups in knowing that CP supports more than 10,000 missionaries worldwide.
• One hundred percent of lay leaders (deacons, Bible study leaders, etc.) said they value CP most because “CP changes lives.”
• Seven out of 10 church members (non-pastors and non-lay leaders) said they would be stronger supporters of CP if they could hear stories about how CP makes a difference.
• Lay leaders and directors of missions tend to favor The Pathway and other mailed resources as their preferred way to learn more about CP.
• Only two-thirds of respondents under 30 years of age know that CP supports more than 10,000 missionaries around the world; yet 100 percent value CP for its global reach.
“We will continue to evaluate results to improve CP communications,” said Phillips. “And we are very grateful for each person who took the time to complete the survey.”
To view an overview of the full results, visit mobaptist.org/cp.