Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Unintended Consequences of Convention Actions

A little political analysis and conjecture here:
Southern Baptists defined "Cooperative Program giving" as only the giving of a portion of undesignated monies through both a state convention and the SBC.
The splintering of more state conventions.
In those state conventions where conservatives are dissatisfied with the theological stance of the state convention, they will no longer be able to give around the state convention and count that giving as CP giving. Although this will not prevent them from sending messengers to the SBC, they will not be able to have a leadership influence in the convention because they will not have enough "CP giving" to meet present standards. Their choices? Lose their influence in the SBC, militantly work to change their state conventions to match their convictions, give to fund ministries contrary to their convictions, or create separate state conventions in order to be able to give more CP dollars. I'm not ready to make any evaluation (would this be good or bad?) of any aspect of these suggestions at this point. I need to think about it more first. But I do see clearly that, although the Executive Committee did not mean to incentivise churches to form new state conventions, they have done precisely that.


cameron coyle said...

I would expect that the most immediate response to the new definition by those churches who are unhappy with their state conventions' CP allocations will be to increase the pressure on the state conventions to give more. That certainly would not be a bad thing. For those states that can't seem to make any progress, I suspect that with time the example of the SBTC will likely encourage the splintering of other conventions as you suggested. While the splintering of those conventions would be most unfortunate, the resulting boost to the CP would offer a silver lining.

I think it will be interesting to see whether or not the new definition (or I ought to say the "newly adopted definition" as there isn't anything "new" about it other than its "official" status) will result in any change among groups like the BGCT who refer to giving channels which completely leave out the SBC as "cooperative program" giving. I thought about making a motion that the convention request each of the state conventions to honor the new definition, but figured I'd probably just get ruled out of order. If I'd only known then what prestigious company I would have had in that! ;)

Jeremy Green said...


Great observations... God bless!!!

In Christ,

Anonymous said...


I believe that you are right on in your observation. As a pastor of a church who chose last year to redirect 50% of our CP giving directly to the Executive Committee because we are unhappy over the percentage being withheld by the state convention, I was disappointed with the eventual ramifications of this vote.

AndyHigg said...

I am considering the possibility that someone may make a motion next year for the EC to recognize direct donations to Cooperative Program as CP monies...thoughts? I would prefer it not to be me as I already have two others lined up to present

Anonymous said...


I agree with your analysis on this that it will lead to some unintended consequences, but in some ways I don't think the EC cares...

In the situation of a church that doesn't trust the state conventions use of its money the EC will take the money, cash the check, and use it, but the church gets no credit for it. This will lead not only to separate state conventions but also bigger churches pulling money from SBC "causes..."

I think a motion like Andy recommends would be a good idea.

Bottom line we need to discuss how we define CP!

Jon Akin

Pastor Klay said...

From my post-SAT article: If "CP Giving" is the benchmark of cooperation, how can it exclude so many avenues of our cooperation?

What avenues? >> local association, direct contributions, AAEO, LMCO, Baptist Children's homes, disaster relief, world hunger fund, etc.

If they want to reserve the CP designation for state funneled contributions, then that's fine. However, they ought to maintain and report another category of "CG" or Cooperative Giving for all SBC causes. This should be the "benchmark" figure.