by Rod D. Martin
September 8, 2015
David Platt sent an open letter to Southern Baptists last week about IMB’s plans to cut 600-800 staff positions, most of them missionaries, to close the agency’s ongoing $20+ million annual deficit, now reaching a cumulative $210 million.
Platt addresses the matters ably. But the real question is this: How many missionaries would have to be cut if our churches were giving 10% through the Cooperative Program?
Answer: Precisely zero.
Folks, let’s be frank. The state conventions have all cut sacrificially. Florida alone has gone from keeping 2/3 of CP money to sending 51% away. Jobs have been cut, buildings are being sold, all to put more money into missions, at home and abroad. And a lot more money IS getting to missions.
But while the conventions are being faithful, most of our pastors are keeping their cash at home — or designating it to projects of their own choosing — something most of them would tell us as individuals was sinful.
Isn’t it time our pastors set an example? It might get easier to preach the tithe if our churches trusted God with 10% of their undesignated receipts. (Yes, for those who’ll get their theological feathers ruffled, I did not say that CP giving is tithing: I said it was an example. It’s also the most effective missions giving that can be done. And it’s the primary reason we are Southern Baptists and not just independent Bible churches.) And if all our churches managed just this incredibly small thing, our seminaries — which educate 1/3 of all seminary students in the entire United States — and our international and North American missions boards — the largest missionary sending agencies on Earth — wouldn’t be cutting staff. Indeed, they’d suddenly have over $1 Billion to work with and would be sending thousands of new people.
Your church can’t afford ten cents for the Gospel? Really? Really?