By Bob Weeks
As a pastor, I always provide a State of the Church message in January. I would like to do the same regarding the state of our SCBI churches.
Our 2019 year-end Cooperative Program Report revealed something alarming: 34% of our churches gave nothing to Southern Baptist efforts through the Cooperative Program. (You can see what your church has reported here.)
For some, there are other issues but I believe, for the vast majority of these Zero Giving Congregations, it is because they just do not have the money to give. Sandwiched between rising insurance costs and dwindling attendance they find themselves having to choose between self-preservation and participation in the work of Mission beyond their parish borders.
When a church gets in the spot of having to choose which valuable thing they are NOT going to support out of the money they receive, the situation has moved from serious to critical.
I liken this to the early days of my first pastorate when our two kids were on Free and Reduced Lunches at the school because we made so little money. And then SURPRISE we have another child. We did not have enough money to start with and now pile on the medical bills! Something had to give. We had to choose who or what was not getting any money. We did it not because we were mad at the hospital or mad at the electric company. We just did not have enough money to go around. Our financial health was poor, to say the least.
Cooperative Program Reports are only indicators of health. The good news is that our total CP giving is UP over 2018. Praise God! But there is a truly alarming indicator contained in the report that we have to talk about: 61% of all SCBI affiliated churches gave zero or have declined in their giving over last year. YIKES!
Let us be real there is a better chance that you are a part of the 61% than 39%. Certainly, finances are only one indicator of health. However, there seem to be only two indicators that we can count. Churches that have died did so because of either a lack of money or a lack of people, and most of the time it was both. Your church may be on a trajectory that is leaning more toward death than life if you are part of the 61%.
John Horn and I have poured our lives into walking churches toward health. Let us help your church.
In my 20 plus years in the Pastorate, I served only three churches, all of them in Indiana. Each one was a revitalization. Sadly, I failed in my efforts once, but God did a great thing in the other two. There are not a lot of people writing books and speaking at conferences that have a higher batting average than my .667. (If I were a Hitting Coach, you would gladly listen to the tips I would offer!)
Here is truth, if we could throw together a conference and give you all you needed to restore health and vitality to your church we would, but it is just too complex for that. You need a coach who will help you see what you do not see and guide you to process in ways you have not processed before. Brother, if you could do this on your own you already would have.
Contact me or John Horn. We will sit down and listen to you about your unique situation. We will help you design a process that will fit your context. Then we will walk with you on a pathway toward revitalization.
My cell is 812/592-3755. Every telemarketer in the world has my number so if I do not have your number stored in my phone your call will go to voicemail. I will call you back if you leave a message. I promise.