Cooperative Program giving highest in three months, down only 1.47% for year
Nearly every church across the Southern Baptist Convention has been restricted in some form in the last few months from meeting in person for worship by state and local policies on social distancing and limits on gatherings, though in recent weeks many have resumed gathering while following state and local reopening plans. National CP receipts in June dropped by $647,919.55 from the June 2019 total of $15,754,420.34.
The $15.1 million given was an increase from April ($14.1 million) and May ($14.8 million), when the impact of the pandemic was most acutely felt. April marked the lowest monthly national CP total since December 2016.
"I am overflowing with gratitude to God and to our churches for their continued giving through the Cooperative Program," said SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd in a statement. "The faithfulness of our churches in their giving in the midst of this global pandemic is so very encouraging! While projections indicated that our CP giving in June 2020 may be down as much as 20 percent from June 2019, I inform you today that to God's glory we are only down 4.11 percent in June 2020 vs. June 2019. Furthermore, our giving shows a decrease of 2.92 percent after the first nine months of this fiscal year vs. a year ago, but our actual giving to date is only 1.47 percent below our projected budget for the first nine months of our fiscal year.
"Southern Baptist churches and pastors are seeing the need to keep our missionaries on the mission fields in America and all over the entire globe. Giving through the Cooperative Program is demonstrating to everyone a display of God's goodness, because together we are continuing to support and send missionaries, plant churches, advance evangelism, equip pastors, promote life and religious liberty in the public square, as well as extend compassion across America and the entire world.
"Let's continue to reach the world for Jesus Christ! Together, let's do all we can to keep our missionaries on the mission fields across America and the entire world."
As of June 30, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget total $145,213,356.17. This is $4,366,664.78 or 2.92 percent less than last year's budget contribution of $149,580,020.95. The amount given is slightly below the $147,375,000 year-to-date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $2,161,643.83 or 1.47 percent.
The final amount received in June 2020 was $1,268,499.21 (7.75 percent) less than the monthly budgeted amount of $16,375,000.
Designated gifts in June amounted to $14,475,402.31. This total was $9,053,073.76 or 38.5 percent below gifts of $23,528,476.07 received in June 2019. Also, this year's designated gifts through the first nine months of the fiscal year amount to $153,844,979.86, which is $16,788,279.67 or 9.8 percent less than the $170,633,259.53 given through the same period in the previous fiscal year.
Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and other special gifts. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
The CP is Southern Baptists' channel of giving, begun in 1925, through which a local church can contribute to the ministries of its state convention and the missions and ministries of the SBC through a unified giving plan to support both sets of ministries. Monies include receipts from individuals, churches and state conventions for distribution according to the 2019-2020 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
State and regional conventions retain a portion of church contributions to Southern Baptists' Cooperative Program to support work in their respective areas and forward a percentage to SBC national and international causes. The percentage of distribution is at the discretion of each state or regional convention.
The convention-adopted budget for 2019-2020 is $196.5 million and is disbursed as follows: 50.41 percent to international missions through the International Mission Board, 22.79 percent to North American missions through the North American Mission Board, 22.16 percent to theological education through the six SBC seminaries and the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, 2.99 percent to the SBC operating budget and 1.65 percent to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. If national CP gifts exceed the $196.5 million budget projection at the end of the fiscal year, the Executive Committee's portion of any overage falls to 0.0 percent while IMB's portion increases to 53.4 percent of the overage. The other entities' percentage distributions of the overage remain the same. The SBC Executive Committee distributes all CP and designated gifts it receives on a weekly basis to the SBC ministry entities.
Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the timing of when the cooperating state Baptist conventions forward the national portion of Cooperative Program contributions to the Executive Committee, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions, the number of Sundays in a given month, and the percentage of CP contributions forwarded to the SBC by the state conventions after shared ministry expenses are deducted.
CP allocation budget gifts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state convention offices, to the state Baptist papers and are posted online at sbc.net/cp.