By Elizabeth Young

Arizona Southern Baptists’ giving through the Cooperative Program to Southern Baptist Convention causes topped $1 million in 2018.

The $1 million mark was actually surpassed for the first time in 2017, but that was with the help of a large estate gift. In 2018, it was an increase in Cooperative Program giving by Arizona Southern Baptist churches, combined with an increased percentage allocated for SBC causes, that made the record-setting amount possible.

“What Arizona Southern Baptists gave to the Cooperative Program and Arizona Mission Offering last year was nothing short of amazing!” said David Johnson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention executive director. “Because our churches gave so generously, we had a 5 percent increase in Cooperative Program giving over the previous year. This enabled us to give more than $1 million to national and international mission causes through the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Cooperative Program gifts in 2018 totaled $3,383,199, which was $150,303, or 5 percent, more than the 2017 amount, excluding a 2017 estate gift of $549,000. The 2018 total was also $63,199 above the budget requirement of $3,320,000. It was the fifth straight year for an increase in giving through the Cooperative Program.

“These numbers cannot begin to reflect the impact this generosity makes across our state, around our country and beyond our borders,” Johnson said. “These gifts will result in churches being planted, missionaries being sent, pastors being prepared and people being reached with the good news of Jesus Christ all over the planet. We thank God for the generous and sacrificial giving of Arizona Southern Baptists!”

In 2018, a total of 32 percent of the Cooperative Program receipts — up from 30.5 percent in 2017 — were forwarded to the Southern Baptist Executive Committee for distribution to national and international ministries. In 2019, with an AZSBC Cooperative Program budget goal of $3,450,000, the percentage increased to 34 percent.

The Centennial Vision 2.0, adopted by Arizona Southern Baptists last year, states, “With a common commitment to Biblical authority and the Baptist Faith and Message (2000), we will glorify God by cultivating a culture of Missional Generosity.” This will be “demonstrated by giving faithfully to the Cooperative Program, enabling the AZSBC to give half of its proceeds to national and international missions through the SBC” by 2028.

With an operating budget of $4,863,016 for 2018, the AZSBC concluded the year with income of $4,600,662. And, with expenditures of $4,566,951, the state convention ended the year in the black by $262,354.

Arizona Southern Baptists’ giving to the Arizona Mission Offering, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions all increased in 2018. (See separate story about the Arizona Mission Offering.)

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions gifts were $461,632, up $16,476 (3.7 percent) from 2017.

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions gifts were $880,948, up $134,200 (18 percent) from 2017.

Learn more about the Cooperative Program and order resources to share with your church at iamcp.azsbc.org. Videos and other materials can be used to celebrate Cooperative Program Sunday, which is April 7 on the Southern Baptist Convention calendar.