LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – In a year marked with hardships, loss, separation, and isolation, it is my honor and privilege to inform Arkansas Baptists of the incredible outcomes of our partnership and cooperation to support missions at every level. Despite the challenges of 2020, Arkansas Baptists increased their giving through the Cooperative Program(CP), surpassing the budgeted amount of $21 million dollars and reaching a total of $21,374,103. This surpasses CP giving in previous years and illustrates the heart and passion of Arkansas Baptist churches to see the Gospel spread across the state, nation and world.
International Mission Board Giving
Not only was it a big year for our Cooperative Program efforts, but total giving to the International Mission Board (IMB) increased by over one million dollars as compared to 2019. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering reached a total of $5,363,083, surpassing 2019 by over $900,000. In addition to this increase, our Cooperative Program budget formula provides for one half of any budget overage to be sent directly to the IMB, resulting in an additional $187,051 sent directly to the IMB. The remainder of that overage will follow the CP budget formula for Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) teams, agencies, and institutions thereby increasing the ministry work right here in Arkansas.
Arkansas Baptists’ Faithful Giving
While mission work moved forward, several mission offerings occurred during the height of the COVID outbreak when many churches were meeting virtually or through alternative methods. Despite these challenges, giving to the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering reached a total of $1,554,332. This vital offering enables incredible ministry work across Arkansas through church planting, collegiate ministry on college campuses, community mission work, and Disaster Relief. Additionally, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, happening just weeks after the pandemic shut down so much of everyday life, resulted in $1,591,083 given to supporting evangelism and church planting in North America.
It’s easy to get lost across all of these numbers, offerings, and ministries. However, it’s vital to understand the impact of this level of generosity. Because of this cooperative effort, the Gospel moves forward to impact lostness right here in Arkansas, across our country and around the world. Prisoners hear the Gospel, Disaster Relief volunteers respond to crisis, churches are planted in rural and urban settings, unreached people groups hear the Gospel for the first time, students are equipped with a quality education and a Christian worldview, orphans are counseled and cared for, and students experience life change. This is why you give. This is why I give. Together, we are better.
Even though records were broken and giving increased in 2020, we must not decrease our intensity and focus on cooperative missions. Not only would I encourage you to continue giving through your church to support Cooperative Program missions, but I would urge you to find ways to get involved. Pray about this question… How is God pushing you to get involved with community missions, church planting, disaster relief, or the international mission field? The need is great and the workers are few.
Thank you for being the greatest folks in the world.
-Dr. J.D. “Sonny” Tucker