Here’s cause for celebration: 2020 Arizona Cooperative Program giving
Jan 18, 2021
By Elizabeth Young
The pandemic that closed many churches for weeks in the spring and some again late in the year did not stop Arizona Southern Baptists from faithfully giving through the Cooperative Program in 2020.
“It is amazing to see what God did in 2020 through Arizona Southern Baptists giving to the Cooperative Program,” said David Johnson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention executive director. “Our churches gave more in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic than they did in 2019 and even more than we expected before we knew there would be a pandemic. And all of that was done while giving over $220,000 to help churches in crisis!”
Cooperative Program gifts last year totaled $3,580,215, which was $46,774, or 1.3%, more than the 2019 amount. The 2020 total was also $119,015 above the budget requirement of $3,461,200. It was the seventh straight year for an increase in giving through the Cooperative Program.
“What a testimony to the faithfulness of God and the sacrifice and generosity of our churches!” Johnson said. “As a result, not one missionary or church planter had to leave the field for financial reasons, and we were able to continue supporting the work of our seminary, Arizona Baptist Children’s Services and Christian Challenge.
“Thank you, Arizona Southern Baptists,” he continued, “for what you gave to bring glory to God and further the work of making disciples of all peoples in Arizona and around the world!”
Helping Churches in Crisis
In mid-April 2020, Johnson announced the 2020 Arizona Mission Offering would be dedicated to helping churches in crisis and grants would be provided to assist with building payments, utilities or ministry staff support. Rather than waiting for September, when the offering is usually taken, offering promotion began immediately, mainly through social media.
A total of $222,622 was given to the Arizona Mission Offering for the new Helping Churches in Crisis Fund. This was $42,435, or 23.6%, more than had been given to the Arizona Mission Offering in 2019.
During 2020, 34 grants were given to 27 churches from the fund. With some churches still struggling because of the pandemic, the grant process [https://azsbc.org/helping-churches-in-crisis/] is still open for churches that need assistance, and money is still available. Post-pandemic, the Helping Churches in Crisis Fund will be ongoing resource for churches in need, Johnson said.
Centennial Vision Goal
In 2020, another step was taken in reaching Arizona Southern Baptists’ Centennial Vision goal of giving 50% of Cooperative Program receipts to missions outside the state through the SBC by 2028. Last year, 36% of the Cooperative Program receipts — up from 34% in 2019 — were forwarded to the Southern Baptist Executive Committee for distribution to national and international ministries.
In 2021, with an AZSBC Cooperative Program budget goal of $3,461,200 — the same as the previous year — the percentage increased to 36.5%. This year marks the seventh consecutive year for an increase, resulting in a total rise of 10.5 percentage points.
The Centennial Vision 2.0, adopted by Arizona Southern Baptists 2017, states, “With a common commitment to Biblical authority and the Baptist Faith and Message (2000), we will glorify God by cultivating a culture of Missional Generosity.” This will be “demonstrated by giving faithfully to the Cooperative Program, enabling the AZSBC to give half of its proceeds to national and international missions through the SBC” by 2028.
2020 Ends in the Black
The AZSBC concluded the year with income of $4,397,666, including the AZSBC portion of Cooperative Program funds given by Arizona Southern Baptist churches, funds from the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources, event fees and special gifts. And, with expenditures of $4,228,968, the state convention ended the year in the black by $168,698.
In other year-end financial news, gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions were $826,963, down $186,742 (18.1%) from 2019.
Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions gifts were $345,441, down $93,236 (21.2%) from 2019.
This year, new resources are being introduced to help churches share the Cooperative Program story.
CP Stories, previously known as “52 Sundays,” can be used during a worship service to tell a brief missionary story. The stories for upcoming Sundays, along with printable bulletin inserts and PowerPoint slides, are available here.
Also, a “bonus” story about a missionary directly related to Arizona Southern Baptists will be provided monthly. The story for January is here.
In addition, a number of new Cooperative Program videos were released last year. They are available to download and share with your church here.