With lostness growing in our state and Kentucky Baptist Convention agencies and institutions always in need of additional funds, are we investing too much in mission work overseas? Let’s consider the math.
The average KBC church gives 6.75 percent of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program. That means the average church spends 93.25 percent of their offerings on ministry and outreach in their community, or at least most of it. Some churches do invest budget funds in overseas work in addition to CP but usually those funds are not a significant percentage of their budget.
Outside of the budget, most KBC churches receive the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to support overseas mission work through the International Mission Board. The LMCO makes up nearly half of the IMB’s annual budget and buttresses support for nearly 5,000 missionaries in 180 countries. Even this offering, however, is a typically a very small amount compared to a church’s overall undesignated receipts.
Back to CP’s 6.75 percent of undesignated receipts: if the KBC spends half of CP funds on Kentucky mission work, and churches spend most or all of the other 93.25 percent on ministry in their community, then almost 97 percent of the offerings our churches collect are spent in Kentucky.
In terms of real dollars, consider this: our CP budget next year is $22.5 million. If we meet budget, and that $22.5 million represents 6.75 percent of undesignated receipts of our churches, then KBC churches will collect over $333 million total in undesignated receipts. Of that $333 million, just over $5 million will go to mission work overseas.
So, are we sending too much to the cause of Christ among the nations? Too much to see that the 1.7 billion people who have virtually no access to the gospel get a chance to hear about Jesus? Leading the way in the Great Commission Resurgence, Kentucky Baptists don’t think so.
Let me encourage those of us who are rightly concerned about the shrinking investment in Kentucky mission work to challenge all of our churches to strive for giving at least a tithe of their undesignated receipts through CP. If every church in the KBC gives at least 10 percent through CP, we will have a $33 million CP budget rather than $22.5 million. That extra $10 million will go a long way toward reaching Kentucky and the world for Christ.
I was pleased recently to receive the first check ever written by KBC’s newest church plant, New City Church of Louisville. Pastor TJ Francis presented the check, representing 10 percent of New City’s undesignated receipts, to CP. What a statement! If a new church plant, struggling to launch, can afford to tithe to get the gospel to the nations, can’t every church?