JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board has authorized a new method of cooperative giving for its churches. “Plan B” allows churches to withhold funds from selected Southern Baptist Convention entities without withdrawing from Cooperative Program support altogether, according to The Pathway, the news service of Missouri Baptists.
The MBC Executive Board overwhelmingly voted to approve “Plan B” during a special-called Zoom meeting, April 7. During the meeting, MBC leaders described “Plan B” as an attempt to acknowledge Missouri Baptists’ concerns with some SBC entities – for example, the SBC Executive Committee’s hasty decision to hire a law firm that promotes LGBTQ+ causes.
“Plan A” is the MBC’s traditional form of CP giving through which churches send undesignated gifts to the SBC Executive Committee for distribution according to the allocation plan approved each year by Southern Baptist messengers at the SBC annual meeting. If churches opt for “Plan B,” they can select which SBC entities to withhold their funds from, and the MBC will forward their gifts only to those SBC entities that are not explicitly excluded by the church.
“The MBC Executive Board continues to forward 38 percent of all CP giving to the SBC, according to our CP alloctions budget (Plan A),” MBC Executive Director John Yeats said. “However, giving under Plan B may result in fewer dollars going to the bypassed entities. Plan B dollars are allocated to the remaining SBC entities as indicated by each church.”
“Our state missionary staff has steadfastly advocated for Southern Baptists staying with the traditional Cooperative Program giving method and remaining firm partners with the thousands of Southern Baptist churches in all 50 states committed to Cooperative Program missions,” Yeats told The Pathway. “On the other hand, we recognize the autonomy of the local church to make its own giving decisions and, in good conscience, have asked our Executive Board for a temporary new Plan B, and they have approved. We have responded to this request while MBC-affiliated churches monitor upcoming events in the SBC and make longer-term decisions about their church’s cooperation.”
MBC legal counsel, Mike Whitehead, explained that since 2010 and the adoption of the recommendations of the Great Commission Task Force, “both undesignated giving to the Cooperative Program and designated giving for Convention entities or causes are counted equally [by the SBC] for purposes of showing friendly cooperation, and for determining the number of messengers allowed.”
Excerpted from reporting by Ben Hawkins, associate editor, The Pathway.