By Tim Lubinus, BCI Executive Director/Treasurer
We’ve all observed that churches are similar to church members in their charitable giving: some are just beginners, some give sacrificially and generously, and most give a single digit percent of contributions/income. Very likely all of us can grow in our giving.
There is another way churches are like church members in their giving: some have a high desire to control where funds are used, others are more trusting of the church leadership or organization to use funds according to donors’ values. Still others have a preference for being able to say, “I did it all by myself!”
Instead of tithing to a local church, some members regard their own education, choices in mission fund designations, short-term trips, etc. as valid uses of their tithe. These choices may be justified as “better investments” for the kingdom or perhaps a personal “passion” that justifies allocation away from a church. Some churches also have similar practices, see post here.
I would suggest that both churches and individuals find denominations or churches whose ministries they can gladly support financially rather than retaining an unhealthy passive/aggressive attitude about funding practices in their current church or denomination.
The Baptist Convention of Iowa wants to set the pace for churches and individuals by immediately moving our budget to align with our churches’ stated values beginning January 1, 2015, the next budget cycle.
For Iowa churches that give to the Cooperative Program, our next year’s distribution looks this:
50% to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention:
- International Mission Board (IMB) ~25%
- North American Mission Board (NAMB) ~11%
- Six Seminaries ~11%
- Ethics and Religious Life Commission (ERLC) ~1%
- Facilitating Ministries and Admin ~2%
50% to the Baptist Convention of Iowa:
- Church Planting
- Church Support
- Community Ministry
A wise pastor would counsel a church member by encouraging them to, first give ten percent to their church. Then if they have ministry projects that they are passionate about outside of their church, then go for it! In the same way, churches should set the pace for members by giving their first ten percent to the Cooperative Program and if they have projects that they are passionate about outside of their denomination, then give generously! We invite each church to lead out and consider moving rapidly toward giving ten percent or more of their contributions to the BCI.