If CP disappeared today, so would a significant portion of the ministries and mission work of Southern Baptists. Even the ministries and mission work that somehow managed to continue to exist would be significantly crippled. Let me explain why.
While the recent financial struggles of the International Mission Board have been widely reported, the loss of CP would mean a reduction of approximately $100 million, more than a third of the IMB’s annual budget. The loss of that much of the fuel that sends Southern Baptist missionaries to the ends of the earth would be eternally devastating.
The loss of CP would mean a reduction of approximately $50 million for the North American Mission Board. That would immobilize NAMB’s capacity to fuel church planting in SEND cities or Southern Baptist Disaster Relief response to flood victims in West Virginia and Louisiana, fire victims in California, and hurricane victims along the coasts.
Since the ministry of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission is almost exclusively funded by CP, without it, Southern Baptists would lose their voice in Washington. And the resources that ERLC provides to help pastors address issues like religious liberty, human trafficking, racism, and abortion would no longer exist since those resources are paid for by CP.
What of the approximately 17,000 students currently enrolled in SBC seminaries? Without CP, their tuition and fees climb 30%-50%. That’s a tough blow for missionary candidates who need to be debt free to get appointed or pastors on tight budgets sacrificing to get formal training for ministry.
Without the fuel of CP, most of the significant ministries and mission work of Southern Baptists’ state conventions would come to a screeching halt. In the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Disaster Relief would be no more. Our annual retreat to encourage and strengthen ministry couples, known as Shepherding, simply wouldn’t happen. Evangelism training and church revitalization consulting that has helped contribute to growth in baptisms and overall church membership for two straight years in Kentucky, with no CP, would be no more.
If CP disappeared, the 14,000 students who show up at our summer camps, called Crossings Ministries, would surely be disappointed and God would no longer use the gospel preaching at camp to win hundreds of kids to Christ each year. Without CP, the 1,000-plus hurting kids being loved and cared for by Sunrise may still suffer the pain of ongoing abuse, hunger, and neglect. Our educational institutions in Kentucky, which currently allow us to disciple and equip over 8,000 students, would, in some cases, be shuttered and, in other cases, see tuition hikes that would put them out of reach of far too many students. And you wouldn’t be reading this article because, without CP, the Western Recorder printing presses would stop.
But, thankfully, the essential and irreplaceable fuel of CP is still flowing! For two straight years, CP giving has grown in Kentucky. And, for the first time in a decade, our churches exceeded the CP budget. At the same time, Kentucky Baptists are digging deeper for other missions offerings, setting new records in giving through both the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions.
I praise God that He is still using Kentucky Baptists to share the life-giving message of the gospel and build the eternal church of Jesus Christ! And I praise God for the generosity of Kentucky Baptists for cooperative mission work.
Paul Chitwood is the Executive Director-Treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.