The 2013 giving was $800,824—or 2.59 percent—below the $31 million Cooperative Program budget for 2013; and $711,648 below 2012 Cooperative Program receipts.
The $30 million compares to a pre-1999 giving level when Florida Baptist churches gave $31,234,977 and $28,950,966 in 1998 through the Cooperative Program.
“The effect of the real estate/recession and the accompanying economic uncertainty still hangs over us,” said Glen Owens, assistant executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention and Cooperative Program consultant. “However, in listening to our churches, multiple reasons are presently affecting the local churches budgets.”
“Some of these factors are from within the church—on the income side, unemployment of our members, the changing attitude of tithing. And on the expense side—debt, maintenance needs, staffing needs and the unknown rising cost of benefits,” he explained.
“Still, there are other factors from without—chief being the competition for dollars for missions that does not go through the Cooperative Program, but rather supports other ministries.”
Owens said the decline cannot be attributed to just one reason because each church decides how it will spend its dollars based on its individual circumstances.
“I am grateful to all our churches, especially those who in these stressful times have increased their support through the Cooperative Program,” he said.
Florida Baptists have a new CP leader for 2013. Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola gave $786,045 through the Cooperative Program, increasing their previous year’s receipts by $32,998, to lead all Florida churches in CP giving.
Olive surpassed the perennial leader for more than two decades, First Baptist Church in Orlando, which dropped to $83,000 in 2013 after giving nearly a million dollars in previous years and falling to 79th among all Florida Baptist churches.
Other churches rounding out the top five in giving are First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, $561,333; First Baptist Church in Naples, $432,117; Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Jacksonville, $401,988; and Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, $381,900; all but one having increased its CP contributions.
“I am always grateful to realize our churches believe in what we are doing,” said John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention. “Especially in these difficult economic times and the challenges faced by our churches and Florida Baptists.”
“Florida only funds,” which represents giving by a few churches to bypass the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program decreased by 30 percent to $29,149 in 2013 from $41,700 in 2012.
Florida Baptists gave $10.8 million in designated funds through special offerings, a nearly four percent increase in 2013, to $10.8 million from $10.4 million in 2012. Designated giving includes money earmarked for international, national and state mission offerings, world hunger, and disaster relief.
Click here for a summary of 2013 and 2012 CP gifts and 2013 miscellaneous gifts received in the State Convention office from January through December.
Top 25 churches in Cooperative Program giving for 2013
|Fruit Cove, Jacksonville||$401,988.02|
|East Brent, Pensacola||$349,326.54|
|Chets Creek, Jacksonville||$301,190.60|
|Anastasia, St. Augustine||$248,218.25|
|Orange Park First||$229,126.38|
|Thomasville Road, Tallahassee||$209,830.10|
|Church at the Mall, Lakeland||$205,000.04|
|Daytona Beach First||$197,324.24|
|Hibernia, Green Cove Springs||$196,339.27|
|Plant City First||$184,348.29|
|Indian Rocks First, Largo||$174,125.04|
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