Thursday, July 12, 2007

Money Or God

Many are sounding the warning signal for Southern Baptists to wake up and realize that the convention is dying. Baptism numbers are at a thirty year low and the fighting over the direction of the convention has already turned ugly. In the midst of the storm something unusual is happening. The Southern Baptist Convention has more money than ever before. Each year record amounts are being given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. So the question that has to be asked is, “How does a denomination in decline increase it’s funding?”

Some will answer this question by saying there is a new emphasis on the Cooperative Program. Every church, local association and state convention is encouraged to give as much as they can to the Cooperative Program. I agree that this new emphasis is part of the reason for the increase in giving.

Some will look at the increase in giving and say the reason is God’s blessing. Many still feel that God is satisfied with Southern Baptists and that is the reason He is blessing them with so much money. My question is if God was truly blessing Southern Baptists wouldn’t the baptism numbers increase as well?

I believe the reason for the increase in giving is the average Southern Baptist has more money to give. The average age of a Southern Baptist is going up. When the average age of a Southern Baptist was in the twenties, the convention didn’t have as much money. Now that the average age of a Southern Baptist is in their forties and fifties, there is a lot more money. I believe the reason for the increase in money is that the Southern Baptist Convention has aged. Therefore in ten to fifteen years we will see a sharp drop in giving if things don’t change.

The danger is reading our health by how much money we have instead of how many people we are reaching. Money is no substitute for God. More money doesn’t equate to more God. Money isn’t bad; it’s just not the goal of our mission. The goal of our mission is more people coming into the Kingdom of God and this is the failure of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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