NASHVILLE (BP) – The financial upturn much of the country has seen as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down is becoming evident though an increase in giving across the Southern Baptist Convention. Both Cooperative Program giving and designated giving reports for May 2021 showed strong year-over-year increases, and CP giving continues to run above budget for the fiscal year.
“The financial rebound in giving through the Cooperative Program is very encouraging,” SBC Executive Committee president and CEO Ronnie Floyd said in a statement. “As we go into the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting in Nashville, this financial report after eight months into our fiscal year is outstanding. As we face the many daily challenges before and around us, churches are demonstrating they are committed to advancing the Gospel across America and around the world.
“We are a people who believe in sending missionaries, planting churches, advancing the Gospel, equipping God-called ministers, and reaching our communities, our states, our country, and the world. To all of our churches who give to that end, we say ‘Thank you!’”
The total amount given through the national Cooperative Program Allocation Budget in May 2021 was $16,981,098.18, which was $2,178,754.16 (14.72 percent) more than the $14,802,344.02 received in May 2020 and $1,408,181.51 (9.04 percent) more than the monthly budgeted amount of $15,572,916.67.
As of May 31, gifts received by the EC for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget totaled $128,870,481.88, which is $1,236,373.50 or 0.95 percent less than last year’s budget contribution of $130,106,855.38. However, the amount given is ahead of the $124,583,333.36 year-to-date budgeted projection to support Southern Baptist ministries globally and across North America by $4,287,148.52 or 3.44 percent.
Designated gifts received in May amounted to $21,992,396.81. This total was $8,726,263.81, or 65.78 percent, above gifts of $13,266,133.00 received last May. Also, this year’s designated gifts through the first eight months of the fiscal year amount to $149,646,019.82, which is $10,276,442.27, or 7.37 percent, more than the $139,369,577.55 given through same period in the previous fiscal year.
Total Cooperative Program giving includes all monies given by churches through state conventions to be used for Great Commission ministry and missions within the respective states, across North America and around the world. Begun in 1925, the Cooperative Program is the financial fuel to fund the SBC mission and vision of reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state and every nation. Monies are distributed according to the 2020-2021 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 2020-2021 is $186.875 million and includes an initial $200,000 special priority allocation for the SBC Vision 2025 initiative. Cooperative Program funds are then 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 $186.875 million budget projection at the end of the fiscal year, 10 percent of the overage is to be used to support the SBC Vision 2025 initiative with the balance of the overage distributed according to the percentages approved for budgetary distribution. 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.
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, 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.
CP allocation budget gifts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly and posted online at sbc.net/cp.
JONATHAN HOWE is vice president for communications of the SBC Executive Committee.