October: Cooperative Program emphasis

October: Cooperative Program emphasis

NASHVILLE (BP) – October is “Cooperative Program Emphasis Month” in the Southern Baptist Convention, when churches are challenged to study CP – to learn about it, see what it does, pray about their part – and perhaps use the “1% Challenge” video as a catalyst.

The 1% CP Challenge “is a succinct way to do something more – an understandable way to say, ‘Yeah, we can do that,'” said Frank S. Page, SBC Executive Committee president. “It is understandable, is easily acted upon, and can be done without shifting major sections of a church’s finances.”

In 2012, 7 percent of cooperating Southern Baptist churches reported they had accepted the 1% CP Challenge in support of missions and ministries led by their state conventions and the SBC, according to a study by LifeWay Research for the Executive Committee.

In their 2012 Annual Church Profile (ACP) reports, 3,192 churches – 6.93 percent of Southern Baptist congregations – showed an increase in the percentage of their missions giving through the Cooperative Program by at least 1 percent.

One tangible result is that the average percentage of undesignated gifts given through CP moved up by an encouraging one-tenth of a percent from the previous year (5.4 to 5.5 percent).

After many years of decline in average CP gifts from churches of about .2 percentage points per year, the decline leveled off in 2012 (5.4 percent), rising slightly to last year’s 5.5 percent.

The Executive Committee commissioned another survey this spring, asking church leaders the same set of questions they were asked in 2012. Another 8 percent of pastors indicated they plan to lead their churches to accept the 1% CP Challenge in the coming year. If this trend continues, millions of additional dollars will become available for missions and ministry entities to fulfill the tasks Southern Baptists have assigned them.

“The Cooperative Program is not a reservoir that we hold; it’s money that we send through the CP to missions and ministries,” Page said. “It’s exciting to see … pastors say, ‘You know, it’s time to put more emphasis on the Cooperative Program.'”

CP fuels Southern Baptists’ global vision for reaching the nations with the gospel while sustaining a strong home base of ministry, reflecting the driving passion of Southern Baptists since the Convention was formed.

If every cooperating Southern Baptist church raised its contributions through CP by 1 percent, the resultant gifts would increase by nearly $100 million.

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