Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cooperation Gap

A lot of people (like yours truly) are Southern Baptist for one reason. Sure there are things like a total belief in the Bible, a purely evangelical doctrine, and an understanding that every Christian is responsible for hearing individually from and obeying God. Those things can all be found in churches outside the Southern Baptist tradition though. The one thing that tips the scale in favor of the SBC is a concerted, collective, commitment to the Great Commission—a cooperative effort to do missions. Unfortunately, that cooperation is eroding and in danger of dying.

Last year, 12 Billion… TWELVE BILLION dollars came into the offering plates of Southern Baptist churches. Unfortunately, only 2.1% of those dollars went to fund the efforts of Southern Baptist missions through the imb. You might say that it was due to the economic climate, but that would be wrong. 12 Billion dollars is a lot of money for people going through tough times to be giving. The last time this country was “hurting” this bad (actually far worse) was the Great Depression and in those days 6%, nearly three times as much as now, was given to missions effort.

Where is the problem? Well, the way the cooperative program works is as follows: Every church that is a member of the various Baptist conventions across the states gives a certain part of their budget to the state conventions that in turn send a percentage on to the national convention and entities. The problem recently is that state conventions are giving less and less to missions and instead keeping more and more for themselves. Unfortunately, not many churches are concerned with the way the state conventions operate anymore and few send delegates to the meetings, where change could be effected. Some have begun to favor sending money straight to the mission boards rather than give to the CP, but that is sad as it means the death of the one thing that drew so many people to this denomination.

It is very troubling that even IF your church gives as much as 10% to the CP, and few do, still less than a penny of every dollar you give goes to cross-cultural missions. Something needs to change.

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