Florida Baptists send SBC additional $500,000

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The Florida Baptist Convention sent an additional $500,000 in Cooperative Program funds to the Southern Baptist Convention for worldwide missions causes Jan. 25.

The funds represented 51 percent of the $970,924 in budget overages from Florida Baptist churches to the Convention’s 2015 budget of $28.8 million.

“What a tremendous blessing from God for Florida Baptists to express our commitment to the Great Commission in our work together as Southern Baptists through this budget overage,” said Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer.

“The generosity of our Florida Baptist churches reflects their deep commitment to reaching the world for Christ.”

“This means we will be sharing an additional $500,000 to the SBC beyond the $11,808,000 budgeted amount, bringing the total earmarked for the SBC to $12,308,000,” he said.

The 2015 giving from Florida Baptist churches through the Cooperative Program is the first time since 2007 when receipts exceeded the prior year, reversing a seven-year trend when CP receipts dropped by 25 percent.

Florida Baptists gave $29,770,924 through the Cooperative Program in 2015, exceeding the year’s $28.8 million budget by 3.37 percent and surpassing the 2014 giving of $29,643,195 by approximately $128,000, or 0.43 percent.

“I am thrilled we have reversed a declining trend in Cooperative Program receipts. We had dropped by 25 percent since 2007 in our Cooperative Program giving. The 2015 CP giving reveals the first yearly increase since that year,” Green said.

The decline over the seven-year period, which originally mirrored the downturn in the economy, was felt throughout the Convention, as receipts dropped from an all-time high of $39.61 million given in 2007 to $29.64 million in 2014.

But as time progressed, many Florida Baptists urged the Convention to send a larger percentage of the CP receipts to the SBC to reach the nations, rather than keep the money in the state. In 2010, at the initiative of then Florida Baptist State Convention President John Cross, a Great Commission Task Force recommendation approved by messengers told the State Convention to move toward a 50-50 split of CP funds between Florida and the SBC. But little progress was made in subsequent years.

Then, this past November, at the urging of recently elected EDT Green, messengers to the Florida Baptist State Convention approved sweeping budget revisions that would allocate 51 percent of the CP budget to the SBC, “giving away more than we keep,” pledged the new exec.

Green said that decision of Florida Baptists to send 51 percent of the 2016 Cooperative Program gifts to the SBC and retain 49 percent for work in the state “is already being blessed by God.”

“Our next transition of the budget percentage will be a 55-45 percent split when we reach $34 million in CP receipts,” he pledged. “I praise God for the faithful giving of our Florida Baptist churches to global missions through the Cooperative Program.”

Story updated Jan. 25, 2016

By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention

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