How is Giving? Ask Southern Baptists
-20.76% That’s how it’s going for them. Baptist Press released this statement,
“The total amount given through the Cooperative Program in February 2021 totaled $15,475,264.92, which was $4,053,976.81 (20.76 percent) less than the $19,529,241.73 received in February 2020 but just $97,651.75 (0.63 percent) less than the monthly budgeted amount of $15,572,916.67.
For you non-SBC folk, the Cooperative Program is…wait. Let me quote the BP statement,
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. Begun in 1925, local churches contribute to the ministries of its state convention and the missions and ministries of the SBC through a unified giving plan to support both sets of ministries. Monies include receipts from individuals, churches and state conventions for distribution according to the 2020-2021 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.1.
Why does any of this matter to you and your church?
Because, as Southern Baptist giving goes, so goes all the rest of giving. We need to pay attention to what is happening with SBC giving. They are the largest Protestant denomination in America for one thing. They keep great records for another. Southern Baptist’s are a treasure trove of giving data. Those dudes can account for every last dime any church has given them. Since like, the early 1920s. Seriously, they track giving and report their findings on a regular basis. That data is used in countless studies, quoted in books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs like this one. Guys like me geek out over these reports. We know from research and historical trends, that as SBC giving goes, so does giving at other Evangelical denominations and churches.
Back to my question, how is giving? Here is an answer I get a lot when I ask that. “It’s actually stabilized.” For many churches this is true. However, my question back to those churches is what drove that stability? Our research and data are confirming our suspicion that if a church’s giving has stabilized, it’s the result of the top donors increasing their giving, not new givers. How long can that go on?
Then let’s be honest, we wisely cut our budgets knowing giving was going to be challenged. Celebrating about being ahead of this years budget while ignoring how far below pre-COVID giving you are is like ignoring the gaping hole in the Titanic. We know how that worked out.
Here is a question? Are you willing to rejoice over being 3% ahead of this year’s decimated budget while losing 20% from last year’s giving?
We are now celebrating stagnation. The decline we are seeing has been with us for some time. We have an aging donor base and a disappearing younger generation. Other than that giving is stable. What should you do?
Be a Ronnie Floyd!
First, before I start telling this story, fair disclosure. I’m a Ronnie Floyd fan! We were in seminary together. That class contained a lot of incredible leaders. Ronnie has always stood above that crowd. He has always been blessed to see ahead and chart a course through crisis to keep his church and now his denomination focused on The Great Commission. Then remember, I think through the lens of giving. How do you correct a nearly 21% decline? You do what Dr. Floyd is leading the Southern Baptist Convention to do.
You share a compelling vision of a preferable future! Ronnie Floyd is leading with vision. He understands that dollars follow vision. Dr. Floyd last year cast a five-year vision called, Vision 2025. COVID sort of messed that up so early this year he spoke to their Executive Committee appealing a return to the vision of fulfilling The Great Commission. Vision 2025 is driven by Five Strategic Actions. The first four deal with missions, planting churches, and evangelism. You know, Great Commission stuff. If you want more,
Action number five, how to pay for it all, comes after casting the vision. He has anticipated the question, “how are you going to pay for this?” You have to know the question is coming. You must have an answer beforehand, a plan of action. Trust me, I’ve known Ronnie Floyd for many years and one of the things that have separated him from other leaders is this. When God gives Ronnie a vision he works towards fulfilling that vision. Some dream and never act. Those that succeed dream and act.
Southern Baptist giving is going through a transitional time that could, left unchecked endanger the fulfillment of not only their Vision 2025 but their future into the next decade. Dr. Floyd is working to assure the financial stability of the SBC so they can fulfill Vision 2025 and beyond. I know for a fact that his concern over the decline in giving didn’t start when COVID hit. He was already working to reverse the declines he was seeing. Leaders are proactive, not reactive. So, I encourage you to be a Ronnie Floyd and,
Take proactive measures ASAP!
-20.76%. That’s the SBC gap. Can they reverse that. Yes. Though honestly, no one can know. But in my experience God blessed plans are always more successful than no plan.
What’s your giving gap? Based upon my experience when SBC giving is in decline so are the rest of Evangelical churches.
You want to raise giving in your church? Raise up the vision and implement a plan of action.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach Find out how to get my coaching at https://acts17generosity.com/memberships/