Why We Believe the GCRTF Report is Good for the Future of the SBC (7): The SBC Allocation Budget

By: Danny Akin & Ryan Hutchinson

In 2006 America was facing a decision about the Iraq war. Casualties were mounting and pessimism regarding the outcome of the war was increasing. A lack of direction appeared to exist and a change in strategy had to occur. In early 2007, a new plan was put forward and announced by President George W. Bush. The new plan was to dramatically increase troop levels on the ground in Iraq in an attempt to squash insurgent violence and decrease the number of lives lost as Iraq was rebuilt. By most accounts, the surge in troops was a success. Insurgent violence and troop deaths dramatically decreased.

While putting more bodies towards a task is not always the best recipe for success, it was in Iraq and it is true when it comes to the spreading of the gospel. Paul is clear in Romans 10:14-15, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” According to the Joshua Project (www.joshuaproject.net), 2.7 billion people make up the population of the 6,693 unreached people groups. God in His sovereignty has chosen His children to carry the message of the gospel to them. So how do we get the gospel shared with 2.7 billion people? Put more “feet” on the ground. What is one major way we can put more beautiful feet on the ground? We can allocate more resources to the work of the International Mission Board (IMB).

The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) Recommendation #7 to the Southern Baptist Convention calls for an increase from 50% to 51% in the allocation of Cooperative Program (CP) funds for the IMB. While the GCRTF recognizes this is only a drop in the bucket, the goal is to re-engage Southern Baptists by moving them out of their comfort zone and gain momentum to give more for these efforts. The comfort zone that we are in is 20+ years of giving the same percentage towards our efforts through the IMB. At one point in time during the 1960’s Southern Baptists were actually giving a little over 52% of the basic CP budget to the IMB. However, the percentage has remained at 50% for over 20 years. A move to 51% would provide the IMB with approximately $2 million more in CP funding based on the most recent receipts. $2 million might seem like a lot of extra money, but it represents a minuscule 0.6% of the IMB’s operating budget. Therefore, the move to 51% should only serve as a launching point for Southern Baptists in our efforts to participate in spreading the gospel around the world.

What Southern Baptists must decide next is how to make the 51% result in more than $2 million in additional funding for the IMB. Percentages are great tools, but they only represent part of the story. Based on giving to the Cooperative Program in 1990, the 50% received by the IMB twenty years ago actually represents a loss in purchasing power of $15 million when numbers are adjusted for inflation, even though they are still receiving 50% in the CP allocation today. Another way to look at percentages is that one could give 15% of $100,000 towards Kingdom causes while another could give 10% of $500,000, and far out give the actual dollars the first contributed. Southern Baptists need a multipronged attack to help reach the 2.7 billion needing to hear the gospel. In the words of Dave Ramsey, moving to 51% is “baby step” number one. Turning that 51% into $30 or $40 or $50 million more rather than $2 million is where the real work comes into play. Following the start of the CP, the state conventions estimated the percentage of dollars they were going to send to the Southern Baptist Convention in 1927. The average percentage of dollars projected to be sent was 47.1%. That number calculated from the 2009 SBC Annual is 37.2%. If the same average percentage was in place today as in 1927, the IMB would receive an additional $27 million in CP funding. So as not to look solely towards the state conventions, turning the 51% into more than $2 million is the task of every wallet and pocketbook of Southern Baptists across our nation. Spreading the gospel in America is a low cost effort. However, the way we spend our dollars we make it one of the most expensive Kingdom ventures on the face of the planet. There are millions of Southern Baptists and other committed evangelicals parked in every city of this nation. According to the latest research, it takes $0 to spread the gospel to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. However, getting the gospel to an area where no believers exist takes money to put people and resources in place and on the ground.

Of course, any time a change is made to the CP allocation someone loses money. In this recommendation the GCRTF is recommending that the 1% come from the allocation received by the Executive Committee (EC). The $2 million they will lose represents 21% of the EC’s total budget. Therefore, the EC will need to make significant decisions regarding personnel and resources. Some of these are addressed with the other recommendations of the GCRTF, but in the end we are making a decision between missionaries and support efforts.

The Great Commission is the call of our Savior. We are commanded to make disciples of all nations. The gospel is freely and widely accessible in the United States due to the centuries preceding us where believers put forth the effort to move the spread of the gospel beyond their territorial borders. In Matthew 24:14 Jesus Christ proclaimed, “This good news of the Kingdom will be proclaimed in all of the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.” We are given two promises by Christ. The gospel will be heard by all nations and an end is coming. What lies before us is a decision for Southern Baptists to honor our Savior, and serve as one group of His children with beautiful feet.

Our prayer is that Southern Baptists will approve Recommendation 7 and allocate more resources to the IMB. However, we also hope and pray that Southern Baptists also will multiply the impact of that 51% and turn $2 million into tens of millions of dollars more.

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  5Comments

  1. Jason Glen   •  

    “According to the latest research, it takes $0 to spread the gospel to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. However, getting the gospel to an area where no believers exist takes money to put people and resources in place and on the ground.” Seriously? It takes $0 to build discipleship oriented relationships with those in my town? I guess we should probably take that 50 mill just freed up in NAMB’s budget and throw it at the IMB. From what I have observed over the years it seems that it is actually more expensive to make an impact in various US cities than it is to make an impact in various cities in North Africa or Eastern Europe. I believe it would be in the best interest of the IMB to start encouraging more seasoned Christians with business world training to go overseas and get a job that would help that local economy and start building relationships that doesn’t insult the cultural norms. Nothing opens the door of the Gospel like agricultural or business development in many of these countries. It would allow the missionaries to be mostly self supportive and make those CP dollars go much further. I know that we are doing this as a convention in some places with some people…but I believe it is far to few. Thoughts?

  2. Ryan Hutchinson   •  

    Jason,

    Thanks for the comment. Please note that we are not saying no money should be spent on evangelism at home. The statement is making the point that we are not properly engaging our members in the pew to impact those closest to them w/ the gospel. We have turned evangelism into a professional effort, and not the responsibility of every believer. At it base effort, it takes no money to walk across the street and share the gospel w/ my neighbor.

    I whole-heartedly agree w/ you on engaging businessmen and skilled labor to go to the mission field. This would open many news doors for us, and may God send raise up the laborers both here and abroad.

  3. Dave Miller   •  

    Thank you, Dr. Akin, for this excellent series and the work you have done for the SBC. I am hoping and praying that we will see a resounding yes in Orlando.

  4. Jason Glen   •  

    Thanks for the clarification Ryan. I appreciate your desire to motivate members of Baptist churches to surrender every aspect of their life to building the Kingdom of God. We can certainly agree on that point :)

  5. Phil Horne   •  

    Bro Aiken after reading your blog about projecting more money towards the IMB I wonder how much money we are willing to put forth to beef up serious discipleship efforts here at home to equip our folks to be more soul conscious! I believe we need to reach the world the scriptures plainly teach this. But I also believe that before the twelve were sent out they were prepared for that undertaking! We in America are too comfortable in our American Dream Jesus! Oh, yes I have been listening to Bro David Platt and His point is valid! We have become so comfortable it reminds me of Laodicia! As a Student Pastor my great challenge has been engaging parents to put number 1 priority of their relationship to Christ ahead of everything else and also to make Christ in the home number 1 to every other activity! This has not happened for soooo many years! We really don’t see it emphasized from the pulpit either! I am concerned for the plight of America! For a land of the free we are in tremendous bondage and don’t truly realize it! My prayer is for a pure true resurgence of the Holy Spirit in the life of our families and local churches! Bringing the local body together in unity with our other sister churches! Our associations don’t even associate any more with one another like they should! I have had exposure to two associations here and in Florida and brother it is a joke! You have hundreds of SBC churches and a handful of Pastors get together for executive commitee meetings once a month! Brother as I see it our local bodies are divided for whatever the reason and there are many. I love the people but we must put our local prejudices aside and make the fire hotter! Our church goal must be for individuals to know Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings! I heard an individual by the name of Greg Stier with Dare2share say “Discipleship without danger is not discipleship” that hit me like a ton of bricks! I have to ask myself what am I really doing, what is my student ministry really doing! I believe my point in all of this! We must somehow see God to move and light a fire under every SBC church to make the Gospel the priority inside and outside the life breath of the local church! Brother I believe we can reclaim America back to the Lord! I believe we need to put first things first before there are no more laborers in the field of America! 85% of my county Cumberland in Fayetteville never step foot in any church! That is one small city! Oswald Chamber said, “As soon as you begin to live the life of faith in GOD, fascinating and luxurious prospects will open up before you, and these things are yours by right; but if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let GOD choose for you.” I served in the USAF for 22 years spent 5 years on the battle staff of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) Ft. Bragg we devised a plan every time with the goal first in mind! We equipped and trained locally with the best of everything, people, equipment, tried and tested and proven procedures then we would embark on building our execution checklist and it starting at the goal and incrementally worked it backwards! We did not leave anything out! Then we would “What if it to death” what if we lost this many airplanes, or whatever the case may be to ensure that we could come up with a minimal force to still be able to accomplish the mission. Brother we knew it backward, forward, sideways, if the commander did not like something we would go back and start over! It was tedious but men’s lives were at stake and we all new the price for the lack of planning and preparation. I believe we need to go back to the drawing board our plan is currently not working and we need to see why. I believe it’s in our pulpits and pews! That’s where the answer is! I know that this was a lot of stuff but I do believe the time is now! We must pray and act if we with the almighties help are going to reach the world with the Gospel! I believe we are in the last days and I personally am looking to see God’s Spirit poured out on all humanity! Thanks Dr. Akin for your time! And your ear! By the way the graduation was awesome and your call for salvation to the family members! I was praying really hard for God to move and lives to be changed! Thank you!

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