GCR Component #5: The CP Loses Its Monopoly

Along with Component #2, this section has generated the most controversy. It calls for a new category of missions giving to be reported by SBC churches. Currently, there's only one way for churches to give officially to the SBC: (1) Send a check to the state convention. (2) Let them keep as much as 2/3 of the money you send. (3) Have about 1/3 (average 36.55%) forwarded on to the national level cooperative program, which is often advertised as the face of the CP.

Because of this "overhead" at the state level, many churches have opted to withhold part of their would-be Cooperative Program gift and send it instead directly to ministries they want to see flourish. So a church might send money directly to the IMB, NAMB, or one of the seminaries, or a NAMB-affiliated church plant, but that money doesn't "count" as CP giving.

Here's the text of Component #5:

We believe in order for us to work together more faithfully and effectively towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission, we will ask Southern Baptists to reaffirm the Cooperative Program as our central means of supporting Great Commission ministries; but in addition, we will ask Southern Baptists to celebrate with our churches in their Great Commission Giving that goes directly through the Cooperative Program, as well as any designated gifts given to the causes of the Southern Baptist Convention, a state convention or a local association.

So instead of the Cooperative Program gifts being the only measure of how much a church "participates" in the SBC, that will become only a part of the measurement - that is, if the GCR task force recommendation is adopted. It will be CP gifts plus any direct giving to SBC causes totaled together for the new category of "Great Commission Giving."

Now there are some people who really, really don't like this recommendation. After all, can't we all just get along, cooperate, and let some people in a budget meeting somewhere determine where our missions giving is spent?

The reality is that some churches don't feel like they can allow the CP to be their primary way of supporting missions. It's a sad day when churches are giving around the Cooperative Program precisely because of their commitment to the Great Commission.

Important Only for the Change in Attitude It Represents
While I do support this recommendation, I think, in actuality, it accomplishes little. Churches who want to give around the CP are going to do it anyway, regardless of whether or not it "counts" on their church profile. There may be a few who see this as an endorsement of other giving methods and decide to pull back CP support, but that number will be small.

The reason Component #5 matters is that it shows a acknowledgement by the convention that we are going to respect churches who choose a different giving formula than the one assigned by their respective state conventions.

When pastors like Bryant Wright lead their churches to decrease CP giving and forwards that same amount directly to the IMB, is he to be celebrated or chastised? I think that should be celebrated. And so, apparently, does the GCR task force.

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