By Elizabeth Young

Arizona Southern Baptists’ giving through the Cooperative Program in 2017 increased for the fourth straight year and was the highest since 2009. Also, for the second year in a row, the Arizona Mission Offering goal was surpassed.

“2017 was a banner year for Arizona Southern Baptists’ giving to mission causes through the Cooperative Program!” said David Johnson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention executive director.

“We had the largest single gift on record by Love Baptist Church from the Iolita Simpson estate. Even without including that gift, our churches gave over $24,000 more to the Cooperative Program than the year before,” he said. “And that was while giving $170,000 to the Arizona Mission Offering and over $200,000 to Disaster Relief. What an amazing display of generous and compassionate giving to help hurting people and reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ.”

Cooperative Program gifts in 2017 totaled $3,730,326, including the $549,000 gift by Love Baptist Church, Phoenix, from the Simpson estate. Without the estate gift, Cooperative Program gifts were $3,181,327, which was $24,773, or .8 percent, more than the 2016 amount but $48,673 below the budget requirement of $3,230,000.

With an operating budget of $4,756,060 for 2017, the AZSBC concluded the year with income of $5,010,466. And, with expenditures of $4,836,117, the state convention ended 2017 in the black by $174,349.

In 2018, a total of 32 percent of the Cooperative Program receipts — an increase of 1.5 percentage points from 2017 — will be forwarded to the Southern Baptist Executive Committee for distribution to national and international ministries. The AZSBC Cooperative Program budget goal is $3,230,000, the same as in 2017.

The Centennial Vision calls for the AZSBC to give 50 percent of its Cooperative Program receipts to missions outside Arizona through the Southern Baptist Convention by 2028. The vision also calls for Arizona Southern Baptist churches to give an average of 10 percent or more of their undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program by then.

In 2017, Arizona Mission Offering gifts were $173,656, which was $22,549 (14.9 percent) above the previous year’s total and $13,656 above the $160,000 goal.

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions gifts were $444,751, up $47,960 (12.1 percent) from 2016.

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions gifts were $746,749, down $35,939 (4.6 percent) from 2016.

Learn more about the Cooperative Program and order resources to share with your church at Videos and other materials can be used to celebrate Cooperative Program Day, which is April 8 on the Southern Baptist Convention calendar.