As I've read a lot of people talking about the Cooperative Program (CP), I felt the need to address it and present the positive side of things. It seems many people feel like it's unnecessary because "so little" goes to the IMB. Well, part of that is due to the little percentage that the churches send onto CP. Not that I am saying they need to give more because I understand that the churches also have financial needs. However, I think that there is more to see than just how much of your tithe goes to the IMB. First, it should be noted that the "so little" of your tithe that ends up at the IMB still accounts for about 36% of the IMB's total budget (these are figures from a poster I have from 2003 so the percentages could be a bit different now). So what does channel through CP to the IMB is still significant. 50% of the IMB's budget is supported by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This is a great way for us to support International Missions above and beyond our normal tithe.
Now, back to CP. Why would you want to by pass your state convention?!? I would encourage everyone to look into what the State Convention uses the CP money for. I cannot possibly study each state and explain what they do with their money, but I'll use Kentucky as an example. In KY, "64 cents of every dollar stays in Kentucky and helps support Kentucky Baptist Convention ministries. Those 64 cents includes: 21 cents for five KBC Christian education institutions, 8 cents for KBC agencies and institutions, and 35 cents for KBC team ministries" (from a brochure: How the Cooperative Program Changes Lives 2004-2005). Now, you may be wondering what all that means. That means the CP helps support the work of the Homes for Children, Kentucky WMU, Collegiate and Young Adult ministry, International collegiate Ministry, Youth Ministry and Sunday School, Baptist Men on Mission, Disaster Relief, the Joshua Project, Women's conferences, Scholarships, and operation of the KBC, just to name a few. So why would you want to stop supporting these things? Without WMU, who would help promote the missions offerings? Without collegiate Ministry, how would we support ministry on the college campuses? Without support given to Disaster Relief, how would KY be so quick to have people to help with hurricane relief?
Well, I think I'm done standing on my soap box for now. But please, take time to investigate what the rest of your money does too. Don't let the amount of money that CP gives to the IMB be your only method of measuring how important or effective it is in furthering God's Kingdom.