LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Baptists gave more than $21 million through the Cooperative Program in 2022, marking the largest year of giving in the history of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
In total, Arkansas Baptists gave the Cooperative Program $21,393,022, surpassing 2021 by $457,843.
The previous record was in 2020 when Arkansas Baptists gave $21,374,104.
“The cooperative giving of Arkansas Baptists is really no surprise to me,” said Dr. Rex Horne, interim executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. “I have been an Arkansas Baptist a long time…Whether talking about eastern Arkansas to western Arkansas, from the south to the north, it is filled with good churches, committed pastors and committed people. Arkansas Baptists have kept sharing the good news to all people at home and round the world.”
The convention’s 2022 Cooperative Program budget formula provides for one half of any budget overage to be sent directly to the International Mission Board. With a budget overage of 393,022, an additional $196,511 was sent directly to international missions. The remainder of that overage will follow the Cooperative Program budget formula for Arkansas Baptists State Convention teams, agencies and institutions thereby increasing the ministry work right here in Arkansas.
The Cooperative Program was formulated in 1925 as a unified giving plan for Southern Baptists, designed to be the financial fuel that funds the advancement of the Gospel regionally, statewide, nationally and globally. It allows churches everywhere to participate in a collective mission.
Not only was it a big year for Cooperative Program efforts, but total giving for the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering reached a record high. Arkansas Baptists contributed $1,824,677 to the Dixie Jackson offering, an increase of more than $8,000 over the gifts given in 2021.
“It really boils down to, I think, that Arkansas Baptists are very mission minded and they care about what’s happening in the state,” said Travis McCormick, project coordinator for the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering.
McCormick said people like to know that what they give has an impact. The Dixie Jackson offering enables ministry work across Arkansas through church planting, collegiate ministry on college campuses, community mission work, pregnancy care centers, international student ministry and Disaster Relief.
Arkansas Baptists “believe that we can do more together than we can do by ourselves. They’ve really committed to that,” McCormick said.
Arkansas Baptists also gave substantially to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Gifts for Lottie Moon in 2022 totaled $6,103,236, surpassing 2021 by $988,346.
It was the most Arkansas Baptists have given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering since 2011.
Additionally, reaching the highest it has been since 2016, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering resulted in $2,086,392 given to supporting evangelism and church planting in North America.
Arkansas Baptist Foundation President/CEO Bobby Thomas said he cannot help but be encouraged by the numbers.
“I think it reflects our churches’ commitment to one another and commitment to cooperative giving,” Thomas said.
The Foundation is an incorporated agency of the convention and currently serves as a consultant to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s Executive Board and staff in establishing best practices and providing leadership in the areas of accounting, audit, budget and other financial issues.
Thomas said it is remarkable to be in a state where the giving levels exceed pre-COVID.
“When things got difficult in the world around us, our churches went back to our strengths and our core, which is the Cooperative Program,” Thomas said.
He then referenced the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s purpose statement to “assist the churches of the Convention in fulfilling their mission, and to encourage cooperative support of and involvement in our worldwide mission enterprise.”
“During COVID, political unrest, inflation and all these things, it’s like we went back to encouraging and finding encouragement in cooperative support and involvement as the ABSC purpose statement guides us,” Thomas said.
Based on the Convention’s historic 174-year giving record, Arkansas Baptists in 2022 gave the largest amount to cooperative missions, totaling more than $31 million.