Missouri Baptists are giving more to missions through the Cooperative Program (CP) so far in 2013, according to just-released figures from the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).
In January and February, CP giving from MBC churches totaled $2.527 million, compared with $2.423 million during the same two months in 2012. That’s an increase of more than 4 percent.
In addition, CP giving in the first two months of the year is running nearly 5 percent ahead of budget.
Several factors are contributing to the fast start, according to John Yeats, executive director.
“I believe Missouri Baptists have captured a biblical vision of how global missions are advanced through sacrificial giving and the unique and primary Southern Baptist funding plan called the Cooperative Program,” he said.
“Unselfishly, our people and churches are supporting the effort to send more CP dollars outside the state where we can impact the lostness of the world. Our goal is to achieve a 50/50 share of CP giving between the MBC and the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) by 2020.”
Currently, more than 60 percent of CP funds stay in Missouri, but CP giving above budget is automatically split 50/50 between Missouri and the SBC beginning this year.
“Missouri Baptists are seeing the need to impact the world for Christ, and they are responding with open-handed generosity,” Yeats noted. “With our 50/50 emphasis, missions allocations are significantly changing toward greater support of our national and international ministries through the SBC.”
Yeats added that he believes some Missouri Baptist churches are joining other SBC churches across the country in taking the 1% Challenge, increasing the percentage their churches give through CP by one percent this year. According to a recent study by LifeWay Research, 15 percent of SBC churches have already embraced the 1% Challenge.
“This enables our state convention to make a greater impact on lostness in Missouri, touch more families with trained workers, and help our colleges and children’s home fulfill their assignment,” said Yeats.
“At the same time, it assists the North American Mission Board with its church planting initiative. It allows the International Mission Board to keep a larger number of missionaries on the field, and it helps our seminaries do an even better job of training the next generation of pastors and church leaders.”