For the second consecutive year, Florida Baptist churches gave more through the Cooperative Program in 2016 than the previous year, contributing $29,920,394 to worldwide mission causes.

The $29.9 million in receipts exceeded 2015 giving by $153,190 or .51 percent, further reversing a decline in CP giving that began in 2007 and ended in 2015.

The 2016 gifts were $920,000 or 3.17 percent—above the 2016 Cooperative Program budget of $29 million.

“Thank you to our Florida Baptist churches for your faithful giving through the Cooperative Program,” said Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention. “We continued the trend of increase in our giving for the second year.”

The 2016 budget represented the first year Florida Baptists allocated 51 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention and retained 49 percent for mission causes within the state, a move Green advocated when he was elected as executive director in 2015. Prior to the change, the Convention earmarked 41 percent to the SBC, keeping 59 percent in state.

Through this budgeting revision, Florida Baptists sent $3 million more to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2016 than the previous year. Of that, an additional $1.5 million was given to the International Mission Board to enable the sending of additional missionaries across the globe.

That is cause for rejoicing said Green, telling Florida Baptists that it happened “because of your generosity.”

With the change in allocation of funds within the state, the Convention restructured and streamlined its organization to increase money that could be released to Florida Baptist churches for church planting, revitalization and other ministries.

“Church planting and revitalization was advanced in Florida through your CP gifts,” Green said. “We celebrate that over $3.6 million was given directly to churches and associations in 2016. Cooperative Program giving is vitally important as we together fulfill the Great Commission.”

Churches also gave $11,215,073 in miscellaneous funds, or designated giving in 2016. The difference of $397,830 was an increase over the previous year’s giving of $10,817,243. Designated giving includes money earmarked for international, national and state mission offerings, world hunger and disaster relief. According to Steve Baumgardner, director of support services, the increase in designated funds reflected more money earmarked for international and national mission offerings.

By Barbara Denman