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- How to Calculate the Cooperative Program Percentage in Your Church
Jesus said “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
Matthew 28:19-20. This is our Great Commission!
Motivated by the Lord’s command and the need of the hour, the Cooperative Program was created in 1925 during the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Memphis. The Cooperative Program has stood the test of time and continues to grow and serve the cause of missions.
The Cooperative Program is all about giving Tennessee Baptists an opportunity to come together with others to connect people to Christ from down the road and around the world.
Is this happening in our churches? YES! What is so amazing is that together our churches are connecting people to Christ as never before.
But there is so much more to accomplish. It is almost like we are drowning in lost people. Tragically, millions have yet to hear the name of Jesus. The need for missions has never been greater. We believe Tennessee Baptists will, as they have in the past, meet the challenge of carrying out Christ’s Great Commission.
What is the Cooperative Program?
The Cooperative Program, a financial lifeline developed by Southern Baptists, was born out of financial crisis and confusion. But it has grown to be a tool used by God to empower the witness of Baptists in Tennessee and around the world. The Cooperative Program provides the opportunity for even the smallest church to be a part of fulfilling the great commission.
How did the Cooperative Program come into being?
After the turn of the century, the fast growing ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention led to growing pains for both the denomination and local churches. Under the societal method of mission funding, individual agencies of the national convention as well as those of the state conventions were responsible for raising their own funds. These fund raising methods included countless special offerings, overlapping pledge campaigns, and frequent emergency appeals. Agencies employed representatives to directly solicit churches for support. Many times, pastors would arrive at church on Sunday morning to find more than one agency representative waiting to share with the congregation the needs of their agency. Unfortunately, in this system, funding often went to the most gifted fund-raiser instead of the ministry that had the greatest needs.
In 1919 state and national agencies found themselves in great debt. The $75 million campaign was devised to pay off debt. The response in pledges was tremendous. However, changing economics of the day kept many of the pledges from being collected. Nevertheless, the concept of cooperation had been discovered. With its adoption in 1925, the Cooperative Program became the primary funding source for both the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board and Southern Baptist Convention.
Cooperative Program Budget Process
1. The Budget and Ministry Committee, comprised of Directors from Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB), is responsible for the TBC Cooperative Program Allocation budget process. It is guided by the Convention-adopted, Business and Financial Plan.
2. The Convention uses a Fixed Percentage Budget process, where messengers adopt percentage allocations to the various entities in the budget and a Cooperative Program goal. The approved percentages are applied to the amount received each month to determine the specific allocations. The one exception is the Cooperative Program Promotion and Administration line item. This is a fixed amount which is allocated on a 1/12th basis each month first before applying the percentages to the remainder of the Cooperative Program income.
3. The Budget and Ministry Committee consults with Executive Director of TBMB and the Chief Executive Officer of all Convention Institutions, and other TBMB committees, to establish and monitor the budget percentages. TBMB staff will also regularly survey or get input from TBC churches on the allocation process.
4. The budget process seeks to establish budget percentages for at least three years in advance. Recent plans have included moving the SBC percentage to be 50% of the total allocation over a 7-year period. As provided in the process, the plans were amended by the Budget and Ministry Committee, the TBMB Directors, and messengers to the 2017 annual meeting of the Convention, when receipts were less than anticipated.
5. The annual budget goal is normally set at approximately the total Cooperative Program dollars received for the 12-month period ending in May before the beginning of the new budget year in November.
6. The Budget and Ministry Committee recommends the goal and allocation to the TBMB Directors who then make the recommendation to the messengers at the annual meeting of the Convention. Once approved by the Convention, the percentage allocations direct the Convention Treasurer on the allocation of the funds.
7. Each Convention Institution and TBMB is responsible for its own budget planning. TBMB builds its budget around the primary objectives of its work.