Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Proposed Improvement to the Cooperative Program

The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention should develop an online "bill-pay" application and provide it for free to Southern Baptist Churches. It should interface with the major church management software packages. It should enable churches to send CP dollars with a single click. The application should, in cooperation with the state conventions, know the respective CP budget in effect for each church. When the church clicks the button to authorize the payment, the funds should transfer immediately to their final destinations (e.g., IMB, NAMB, seminaries, state Baptist university, etc.).

Ideally, the convention should provide for the churches' discretionary use an additional, compatible piece of software, an application that would track contributions for the local congregation. This software should give churches the option, if they choose to utilize it, to forward CP gifts automatically when each batch of contributions is posted.

Thus, if I give $1000 to FBC Farmersville on Sunday, by Tuesday the funds are already in Richmond, Alpharetta, Fort Worth, Grapevine, etc.

The interest earnings gained by having the funds available on a weekly basis to our cooperative enterprises would be more than enough to fund the development and hosting costs to the convention. Furthermore, harried volunteer Treasurers and Finance Committees in smaller SBC churches would appreciate something from the SBC to make their lives easier.


Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

That's a great idea.

Bart Barber said...

To prevent misunderstanding: The proposed "interest savings" that I mentioned had to do with getting money from the churches and into the Cooperative Program stream to begin with. Beyond the local church level, any interest accrued while money is making its way to its final destination is passed along with the principal.

In any event, the delays at the local church level are longer than the delays at any other stage of the game.

Chris Johnson said...

I completely agree. Our small congregation would benefit greatly in getting the distribution of funds directly to the depository.

Maybe the states can start the process for the churches in their areas and then do the same on their part with the SBC.

Do you think the SBC convention or state conventions would be the best place to start.

I like the idea.