The resolution I sent to the SBC Resolutions Committee
ON ENCOURAGING INCREASED COOPERATIVE PROGRAM PARTICIPATION
Whereas, we are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19); AND
Whereas, we as Southern Baptists are blessed to cooperatively support over 11,000 missionaries through the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board; AND
Whereas, we have seen some missionary appointments delayed due to budget constraints; AND
Whereas some of our North American Missionaries are faced with the risk of shortfalls in their individual fund-raising; AND
Whereas, our international missionaries are faced with a weakened dollar; AND
Whereas the number of people and people groups that need the Gospel is not shrinking; AND
Whereas, even in our weakened economy, we cannot abandon the Great Commission; Be it
RESOLVED, that the Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, June 23-24, 2009, express their appreciation for the faithfulness of churches have supported missions through the Cooperative Program since 1925; Be it further
RESOLVED, that we ask each Southern Baptist church to consider increasing their support of the Cooperative Program by 1 percent of the total annual church budget; be it further
RESOLVED, that we encourage each Southern Baptist to prayerfully and actively increase their individual participation in spreading the Gospel to all people.
I also know one objection will be that throwing more money into the CP without adjusting the formula isn't the answer. It's not a long-term answer, that's certain. Each SBC agency that is CP funded needs to determine if they are using those funds to the fullest extent they can. And then they should report back to the churches of the SBC what they're doing. Then, the messengers of the SBC can utilize their votes on trustees and directors to make sure the leadership of these agencies is doing what they should, either as endorsement or correction, whichever is needed.
But, in the meantime, we have missionaries on the field, and missionaries to get to the field. Based on what was reported in the 2008 ACP information, 1% of total giving would have been approximately $111 million dollars. Based on the general complaint that only 20 cents of every dollar gets to the IMB, that would have been a $22.2 million increase over what the IMB did receive last year, which would have covered the estimated $10 million rise in the cost of supporting those already on the field.
So what will we do? Will we take up the challenge to at least consider it? Many of our convention leaders also lead churches that give less than 5% of their budget to Cooperative Program ministries, while smaller churches give higher portions of their budgets. Will those leaders undertake the challenge of committing at the same level? Or are they prepared for those of us who lead the smaller churches to follow their lead? To move the bulk of our missions giving to other programs and reduce our support of the CP?