JC's Atoti

Thank you for taking time to read about what is important (or sometimes maybe not so important) to me. I hope that you will be blessed, encouraged and entertained!


Understanding the Cooperative Program

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.


At 12/15/2005 11:27 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Of late, I worry not so much about people being concerned about people choosing to give to IMB directly rather than CP, but choosing to not give to CP because they choose to support international missions in another way.

I have heard of churches choosing to work more in supporting missionaries directly. I understand some of the benefits of this (seeing the results directly, sense of ownership, knowing how your money is being spent, etc.) and I also realize that this loses some of the benefits of the CP (missionaries not having to work to raise funds so much during their time state-side, the fact that someone with a birds-eye view can see needs and allocate money across them.)

If people shy away from IMB for any reason, including the reason missionary selection change in which the IMB refuses to accept the baptism of some Southern Baptists, the Cooperative Program may suffer.

2003 State Contributions to CP

At 12/16/2005 8:43 AM, Blogger Ashlee said...

You're right Nick. That's my concern too that churches will stop giving to CP completely. That's why it's so important that we educate people about the benifits of it. I also know that the IMB is working hard to strengthen the relationship between the missionaries and the churches. Each region now has a "personalizer" to help make it personal for the churches. Hopefully the word will get out and people will realize the benifits of CP. Maybe we all need to take a job that puts us in a place where we can see the CP dollars at work - a Baptist Student Union, WMU, NAMB or IMB missionary, etc. When I served as a NAMB semester missionary half of my support came from the state convention so I know it's important!

At 12/16/2005 12:32 PM, Blogger Nick said...

<---Maybe we all need to take a job that puts us in a place where we can see the CP dollars at work - a Baptist Student Union, WMU, NAMB or IMB missionary, etc.--->

Then ... who would... farm the land? guard the prisons, etc.

I guess you mean that if everyone worked for one of these agencies for some period of time, even a short-term mission trip with the IMB, they would better appreciate CP.

I don't think it would be good if we all worked for these agencies. In fact, we would all bankrupt them. Or we would make a salary of a penny a year or something.

At 12/16/2005 2:51 PM, Blogger Ashlee said...

Yes, I was only meaning to serve in some capacity for some amount of time so that you would understand it better. I was not suggesting all other jobs be forfeited.

At 12/20/2005 1:53 AM, Blogger Tim Sweatman said...

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a pastor is getting my church to see the importance of giving to missions in general, but especially to CP. It took a great deal of effort, but I finally talked them into raising our percentage for CP to, are you ready for this, 4%. But in reality, we haven't even given 1% because when money is tight, guess what the first unpaid item is.

I would like to eventually see the distribution of CP money in KY set at 60% for KBC and 40% for SBC, but not if it means cutting KBC ministries. (Obviously, CP giving would have to rise dramatically for this to be possible.) I don't know about other states, but I feel that here in KY our CP money is used wisely for some very worthwhile ministries.

I have actually seen a couple of people suggest that churches cut their giving to CP to protest the recent IMB trustee actions, but as others have pointed out, this will primarily hurt our missionaries in the field.

At 12/20/2005 11:58 AM, Blogger Ashlee said...

Wow, I must say 4% makes me a bit sad, but I know that it is a tough issue to educate people on.

I also think that people need to remember that it was the trustees that made those decisions and not our missionaries. We need to remember that our giving affects the work of the missionaries, not the trustees.

At 12/22/2005 11:59 AM, Blogger Nick said...

Hopefully by next year's Christmas offering these policy's will be changed and people will still be confident about the value of contributing to the IMB.

At 12/22/2005 1:56 PM, Blogger Tim Sweatman said...

I don't know how much these new policies will affect CP/IMB giving. I doubt that very few pastors, let alone laypeople, are really paying attention to what's going on. Especially if other state papers did like the Western Recorder and didn't mention that, for the IMB, baptisms are not valid if the administering church/pastor does not believe in eternal security.


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