Stewardship Best Practices
Stewardship Best Practices
Florida Baptist Convention
Clarence Hackett, Director, Stewardship/CP Department
Susan Boles, Administrative Secretary
(800) 226-8584, ext. 3025
A. A Pastors Stewardship Meeting is offered to every association and usually is from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, including lunch. The purpose is to familiarize pastors and church staff members with stewardship programs and resources available for use in churches and to guide in the understanding of the theology of Christian stewardship. The Pastors Stewardship packet of materials is presented at this conference.
B. Lay Stewardship Conferences are offered to associations on stewardship education, budgeting, church financial management and Christian financial planning. If a church accepts a proposed conference, it is usually held in the evenings so that church lay leaders can attend.
C. A Church Consultation Process is available to assist in the stewardship analysis and study of a congregation and community and to develop a strategy for stewardship growth in the church. The church's Stewardship Committee/Team completes a "Strategies for a Stewardship Analysis" form in order to develop a stewardship profile for the church. A consultant agrees to meet with the church four times over a twelve-month period.
- Use testimonies from those who have experienced financial freedom and provide resources for those who want help.
- Use the Church Communication Network satellite broadcast system as a delivery vehicle for getting stewardship information to the churches.
- Offering envelopes.
Cooperative Program Best Practices
1. South Carolina Baptist Convention
Gary Anderson, Director, Cooperative Program Office
(803) 765-0030, ext. 1820
A. As ministers are called to new churches, they get a personal letter from me congratulating them on their new position. This is true for all staff members. Along with this letter a sample of recent CP material and resource locations is sent. We want them to know we care about them and never want to miss an opportunity for CP education to begin. It can no longer be taken for granted that CP education has taken place.
2. South Carolina Baptist Convention
Lara Gopp, Director, Marketing Team
(803) 765-0030, ext. 3420
Practices for communicating CP to College Students:
A. The Collegiate Ministers communicate about the Cooperative Program impact to their student leaders in various ways and times throughout the year. They also include taking teams to churches to have students tell about the impact that church gifts through the CP have had in their lives.
B. At our Hub Weekend (Collegiate Leadership Development Conference) we have used several different methods to communicate to students including a "Weakest Link" game show with questions about the CP. The winner received free concert tickets.
C. At our President's Weekend - a training weekend for local campus BCM student presidents from SC, GA, AL, TN, NC and VA - we talked with them about the CP and even had our students shoot some video commercials about the difference the CP had made in their lives (Thank You type short videos).
D. We make sure that all of our student centers have lots of printed CP material for students (posters, brochures, etc...).
E. We placed several articles about the CP on our Web site a while back.
F. Two years ago we purchased a copy of the national CP audio music/testimony CD called Project M for each of our student leaders and gave it out to them and a few other students at selected events. (about 300)
3. Illinois Baptist State Association
Dennis Dawson, Associate Executive Director, CPR Team
(217) 786-2600, ext. 103
A. CP Moment: Every issue of the Illinois Baptist (our state paper) has a quote (and photo) from a pastor, staff member, layperson, executive board member, etc. stating how their life is impacted through the Cooperative Program. It is set apart (in a box) in the same spot with a consistent heading/logo (CP Moment).
B. CP articles from every staff member every month: Every professional staff member is required to submit a story every month (for possible publication and/or use in presentations) that tells of lives impacted through ministries in which they are involved that are supported through the Cooperative Program. This creates a constant CP consciousness within the staff member and at the same time provides a CP consciousness for those who read the articles in the paper/other publications or hears it in a presentation.
C. M3 (Mighty Missions Mobilization) Sundays: (started while in Oklahoma) State staff are asked to reserve 4 specific Sundays per year to go into enlisted associations to make CP presentations. Customizable PowerPoints, etc. that include personal testimonies of impacted lives are provided for the staff to use. By using a “round-robin” and geographic clustering approach involving the Sunday School hour, morning worship, discipleship time and evening worship, each staff member could realistically speak in four churches in a single Sunday. The strategy involves systematically involving all associations within a specified time.
D. Sharing CP and Stewardship with Oklahoma Baptist University: While in Oklahoma, I taught at least two one-hour seminars every semester at OBU. I taught financial freedom to students doing their senior seminars and Cooperative Program in a required RE/CE class made up of underclassmen. I purposefully developed content that had practical application and stories of impacted lives. Both appeared to produce interest and awareness.
4. Georgia Baptist Convention
Allen Hill, Cooperative Program Office
Eddy Oliver, Cooperative Program Office
Diane Reasoner, Communications
A. Better Bridges
Purpose: Churches celebrating together God’s mission call. Cooperative Program Office works with the Associational Missionaries to tailor an event for their association.
Goal: To educate and inspire churches and church members across the Georgia Baptist Convention as to the importance, the effectiveness and the efficiency of the Cooperative Program as a means by which we carry out the Great Commission.
Note: Better Bridges Celebrations give our state missions staff one of the best opportunities each year to be in local churches sharing the CP message. Each year we are in approximately 200 to 250 churches in Georgia sharing the story of CP missions and ministry.
B. Cooperative Missions Champions
Purpose: Pastors encouraging pastors and key leaders to fully support the Cooperative Program.
Goal: To educate and inspire pastors and other key leaders to be become advocates/champions for the Cooperative Program and for missions giving and involvement in their churches.
Definition: A Cooperative Missions Champion (CMC) serves as an advocate for missions education, missions involvement and missions giving in his local church. A CMC challenges his church to grow in giving through the Cooperative Program with the desired goal being 10 percent of undesignated offerings. If the church is already at this level of giving or above, to pray for God’s guidance and leadership concerning growth in giving through the CP. A CMC partners with his associational missionary and state missionaries to challenge other pastors to become Cooperative Missions Champions.
C. CMC Banquets
Purpose: Inspire, encourage and motivate pastors and key lay leaders to become champions/advocates for the Cooperative Program and missions giving in their local church and association.
Goal: To enlist pastors and key lay leaders as Cooperative Missions Champions and to have them make a commitment to challenge their churches to maintain a high level
of giving through the CP or to increase their giving to a higher level.
D. CMC Recognition
Purpose: Cooperative Missions Champions are asked to sit together during the annual meeting of the state convention. The group is asked to stand for recognition during the State Executive Director’s presentation at the meeting.
Goal: To show appreciation and recognition to Cooperative Missions Champions.
E. Mission Fairs/Celebrations
Purpose: Providing information about the ministries and missions supported through the Cooperative Program and fully engaging church members in how the Cooperative Program works by putting a face on missions.
Goal: To share through first hand contact how the church’s Cooperative Program gifts are used on the field - local church, association, home and foreign – and to increase their knowledge of how an Acts 1:8 strategy is being carried out through the association and the convention.
F. Bulletin Covers for Associational Meetings
Purpose: Providing an avenue for associational meetings to get the Cooperative Program in front of the people who attend associational meetings.
Goal: To educate attendees at associational meetings regarding the annual Cooperative Program budget for the state.
G. Children’s Activity Book: “I Can Be A Missionary”
Purpose: Provide an activity book for parents to use with their child (grades 1-5) that introduces the mission work of the state and national conventions.
Goal: To introduce children and their parents to the Cooperative Program.
H. Cooperative Program Displays
Purpose: State Missionaries carry displays and materials to all associational meetings to bring attention to the Cooperative Program across the state.
Goal: To have the opportunity to hand out materials and discuss the Cooperative Program with those who attend associational meetings.
5. Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
Mike Creswell, Senior Consultant, Cooperative Program Missions Giving
919-467-5100, ext. 172
A. Several of our top convention staffers have been presenting attractive globes on woodenstands with plaques in Sunday AM services to honor the top 50 CP contributing churches; theplaque lists the church, their state ranking in CP giving and the words, "Keeping the world in view." We've covered most of the 50 and the response has been quite positive. Also, each pastor has received a dress BSCNC logo shirt, in their exact size, and a packet of promotional info.
- The second tier of churches, whose giving ranks them 51-100, I have been visiting personally, expressing appreciation for their partnering with us in missions support. I have presented each pastor a dress BSCNC logo shirt, in his exact size, along with a packet of promotional info.
C. We are launching next week a three-year program to encourage churches to increase their CP giving by 1 percent of undesignated receipts—1/3 of 1 percent a year for three years. So far we have only a few churches that have accepted the challenge, but one of them is a $3 million annual budget church. So however many accept the challenge, the better. We estimate if we can raise the average CP percentage at the local church level, it could increase BSCNC annual income by about $6 million a year. We're calling this the 1-3-6 Challenge. A bright new exhibit will be featured at the annual meeting next week.
- We are working on—and have been working on this one for some months—producing a DVD of 10 CP promotional spots featuring individuals reached for Christ, taught to witness, etc., through CP ministries. We also plan to produce a disk of ads, promotional slogans, artwork, etc., which churches can use in PowerPoint-type presentations before or during Sunday services.
6. Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma
Ray Sanders, Communications Team Leader
Bob Shelton, Stewardship/Cooperative Program Specialist
A. Cooperative Program Missions Sundays
Each year a focused attempt is made to present the CP story to all the churches in three of our associations. All of our specialists and team leaders are asked to reserve these Sundays and be available to make presentations in churches in the selected associations. These Sundays are coordinated with the Directors of Missions. We also ask members of our Board of Directors to help us schedule presentations on CP in their churches.
B. On Mission Celebrations (OMC)
The responsibility for On Mission Celebrations is a part of the state CP office. As we work with DOMs to plan OMCs, we also work with them to include CP education and promotion as a part of the OMC.
C. Bi-monthly Associational CP Mail Outs
Every other month we mail the CP giving records for each association to the DOM, all pastors and church treasurers. Included with the mail out is a letter, tracts and other CP promotional information. Twice a year we also include the Ministers of Education and the WMU Directors in the mail outs.
D. Oklahoma Baptist Messenger Promotion (our weekly state newspaper)
Twice a year we list a record of CP giving by association and by church for entire the state. Included with this is a thank you for their support of the CP. We also place full page ads in the Baptist Messenger to coincide with major events (i.e. State Evangelism Conference, state convention, national convention, CP Sunday, etc.).
E. Oklahoma State Missions Promotional Kit
Each year we produce a promotional kit for our State Missions Offering (SMO). This kit also provides us another opportunity to show the foundational importance of CP.
F. State Convention Presentations
Each year CP promotion is given a prominent and visible place on the state convention program. We focus each year on a creative way of showing theimportance and impact of CP.
G. State Youth Camp (Falls Creek) Emphasis
Each year at Falls Creek the CP story is shared with over 40,000 youth as a part of the programming plan. In 2005 our students gave an offering to CP.
H. Oklahomans Touching the World Missionary Prayer Calendar
Each year Oklahoma produces a missionary prayer book with a devotional focus for each Sunday. The emphasis is on state, national and international missionaries from Oklahoma who are supported by the CP. Many of our churches use this as a prayer resource each Sunday when the offering is taken.
I. BGCO Web site
The BGCO Web Site has been redesigned so that the CP is a primary focus of the home page and all pages of the Web site are related back to CP.
J. Board Orientation
The BGCO holds a board orientation seminar for all new board members of the BGCO and all BGCO affiliate organizations. A part of this orientation is specifically devoted to CP education.
7. Executive Committee, SBC
John Kyle, Director of Cooperative Program Development
A. The Virtual Missions Resource DVD.
A compilation of CP educational and promotional resources that includes PowerPoint presentations, Missionary Moments, music videos, posters, sermon outlines and SS lessons.
Cooperative Program Promotional Ideas:
1) Retired ministers and missionaries who are committed to CP should be engaged as spokesmen.
2) Develop CP stories on video that can be used at conventions, conferences and in churches.
3) Ask churches to provide links to CP information and Web sites from their Web sites.
4) Ask all associations, state conventions and SBC entities to provide links on their Web sites to CP information and Web sites.
5) Develop information to be given to children and youth at all camps and special events at national, state and associational levels.
6) Develop a CP central kiosk that can be used in the Welcome Center of churches to demonstrate the impact of CP. Have trained laypeople available to answer questions (CP Champions).
7) Develop a traveling interactive CP presentation that creates a life “experience.” For example, it could be set up in a semi-trailer that could be moved from church to church.
8) Schedule concert tours that focus on telling the CP story.
9) Youth CDs and music downloads (such as Project M) could be developed to tell the CP story.
10) Train CP Champions at associational events.
11) Develop special events targeted at training and motivating emerging leaders.
12) A 4-week mission and ministry program should be developed similar to the 40 Days of Purpose model.
13) VBS may be our greatest overlooked opportunity to educate children about CP. LifeWay should be commissioned to create a CP module that can be used with both SBC and non-SBC VBS materials. The VBS offering time should be used to emphasize and focus on CP.
14) Bulletin inserts can be a highly effective way to share the CP story.
15) Other ideas include direct-mail magazines, inserts inside state papers, printed materials available for laypeople to request, trade show booth materials at all events, interactive kiosks and advertising in secular papers and other media.
16) Missionaries could give POW-type medallions or “Live Strong” type bracelets for people to wear as reminders to continue to pray for them. “Don’t take this off until you see me again.”
Scholarship door prizes could be given at events to encourage pastors to organize or participate in a mission trip.
17) BCMs should host missionaries to share the story and effectiveness of CP. State workers can be great advocates in making sure that the BCMs are aware of what CP is doing.
18) On Mission Celebrations (NAMB) can be used to show the foundation role of CP.
by Dr. David Hankins
Cooperative Program Advance Plan
The goal of the Cooperative Program Advance Plan is to aid Baptist state conventions in forwarding to the Southern Baptist Convention an increasing percentage of the total Cooperative Program gifts received from the churches.
Although the original idea of Cooperative Program allocation was to divide the proceeds from the churches 50/50 between the Southern Baptist Convention and the states, that goal has never been attained. Some state conventions have reached it from time to time before readjusting. The aggregate division of Cooperative Program between the states and the Southern Baptist Convention is approximately 64/36. The aggregate percentage forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention has been in the range of 35% to 39% for the last twenty years. Currently, three of the 41 state conventions send at least 50% of the Cooperative Program receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention (one after deducting shared, or preferred, items).
It is the consensus of the study committee that there ought to be a concerted effort by Southern Baptists, as they grow the Cooperative Program, to forward an increasing percentage of the receipts to the ministries of the national convention. There are several factors that motivate such an effort. One is an attempt to maintain the original 50/50 concept of the Cooperative Program. Another is to achieve a proper equity between the states and the SBC. Still another is the recognition that many of the ministries of the national convention serve all of the state conventions (e.g., seminary education, cooperative agreements with the NAMB, GuideStone ministries).
However, the primary motivation is the challenge of extending the Kingdom of God. The sheer magnitude of the needs of the whole world demands that Southern Baptists continue to look outward. We must aggressively expend our energies and deploy our resources in the vast regions of the world where the work of the Gospel is not as well founded as it is in the southern part of the United States, the traditional stronghold of Southern Baptists. As we challenge individual Southern Baptists to give larger percentages of their incomes to the Lord’s work instead of spending it on self, and as we challenge congregations to give larger percentages of their receipts outside the local church field, we must also commit to sending an increasing percentage to the farthest places. Without minimizing at all the necessity of maintaining and strengthening our home-base, the increasing allocation of Cooperative Program resources to national and international endeavors honors the mandate to take the good news to the ends of the earth.
How does the Advance Plan work?
There have been emphases and efforts in the past which intended to grow the percentage of Cooperative Program receipts forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention, usually involving an incremental increase of the percentage over a period of several years until the target goal was reached. The Advance Plan does not suggest an annual incremental increase or a certain numbers of years to complete. It is built on the concept of a fifty-fifty division of the future, cumulative dollar increases in Cooperative Program contributions.
The primary key for making the plan work is a commitment by state conventions to allocating 50% of all new CP income to the Southern Baptist Convention. This means the states would pledge to add to their state convention budget no more than fifty per cent of their increased Cooperative Program income in the future.
Two practical factors are critical to make the plan succeed: a growing Cooperative Program income and a conservative budgeting policy. A growing Cooperative Program income is critical because the Advance Plan begins with the status quo. It does not recommend the states reduce current state convention ministry budgets in favor of the SBC. It does not call for states to commit to giving new amounts to the SBC that the state does not first receive from the churches. It envisions the increase to SBC coming from new money. It is apparent that this plan is dependent on the success of other recommendations in this report regarding improved stewardship on the part of Southern Baptists and growing CP percentages from the churches.
A conservative budgeting policy is critical because the Advance Plan begins with the allocation of Cooperative Program receipts in excess of budget. It will not work if Cooperative Program allocation budgets are not regularly exceeded. Therefore, it will be necessary for a state convention to adopt Cooperative Program goals it is likely to reach.
The suggestion is to set each new annual budget total at a goal equal to the income of the previous year. As incomes increase, the budgets will increase but the budget goal will lag behind the actual income. The net result is that, with even the smallest income growth, there will be a budget surplus. It is that budget surplus that triggers the Advance Plan. This conservative budgeting policy is already used by the Southern Baptist Convention and some state conventions.
Someone may ask, how do you have your convention vote a budget if you do not know the total income yet? You must use a previous reporting period. The SBC uses the total income of the last fiscal year of record. A state convention may want to use the total income of some agreed upon 12-month period. For example, your convention could decide the total CP receipts from July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006 will be the amount set at the 2006 state convention for the 2007 budget. It could be September 1 through August 31, or any chosen 12-month period that works with the state convention’s budget adoption process.
Implementing the plan:
Step One: Adopt a Cooperative Program Budget at the annual meeting that is not more than the total income of the selected previous 12-month period (e.g., September 1 to August 31) and set the initial percentage division between the SBC and the state.
Step Two: Beginning in January, distribute to the SBC according to the set percentage.
Step Three: In the fall, adopt your next budget based on the total income of the designated 12-month period. Since you did not distribute any overages 50/50 the previous year, the percentage split remains the same.
Step Four: In December (or once the budget is met) distribute 50% of all remaining income that year through December 31 to the SBC.
Step Five: As you prepare the next budget, again compute the actual amount received in the designated 12-month period. That will be the total goal for the next year. Then, calculate the actual percent sent to the SBC in that 12 month period, including the 50% of excess. That will be the new percentage of division for the new the budget.
Adjusting the Cooperative Program Percentage Division:
This is the kicker. If you do not recalculate the actual percentage division and make it the new percentage division for the following year, you will only forward 50% of new money the first time it is received. In subsequent years, it will revert back to the state convention and your division will remain static. By adopting the recalculated percentage for the following year, the “50% of new money” accumulates and continues to go the SBC. Also, the percentage division to the SBC, obviously, continues to increase. It will take two budget cycles for the percentage division to the Southern Baptist Convention to start to grow.
Let’s assume your state divides CP 60/40 and you set a 2007 budget of $10 million based on the previous 12-month period’s receipts. You anticipate keeping $6 million and forwarding $4 million to the SBC. However, you actually receive $11 million in 2007. What happens? Of the last million over the budget, you keep $500,000 and forward $500,000, a 50/50 split.
In preparation for the next budget cycle, you total the amount received from September 2007 through August 2008 and discover you received $11 million in that pre-designated period. That will be the budget cap for 2009.
And, even though you distributed 60/40 for most of the receipts, the 50/50 split of the $1 million budget excess made the actual division $6.5 million and $4.5 million or 59/41. So, your new percentage split for the new 2009 budget is 59/41.
The Cooperative Program Advance Plan hinges on a 50/50 split of increases in Cooperative Program receipts. When these increases are used to recalculate the percentage division forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention, the results will be a continual shift of percentage to the SBC. Each year the Cooperative Program income grows, it will increase the actual percentage forwarded to the SBC. As this increased percentage is applied to the next budget, it moves the percentage division toward 50/50. If there is no growth in income, the percentage remains static. However, the faster the income grows, the faster the percentage will grow. The dream of the founders of the Cooperative Program can be realized—a shared missions process that aggressively propels the Gospel to the ends of the earth.