In the midst of a pandemic, Arizona Southern Baptist churches proved themselves faithful in missions giving in 2021.
Cooperative Program gifts last year totaled $3,814,959, which was $239,097, or 6.7%, more than the 2020 amount. The 2021 total was also $353,759 above the budget requirement of $3,461,200. It was the eighth straight year for an increase in giving through the Cooperative Program.
“After a record year of Cooperative Program giving in 2020, it was amazing to see Arizona Southern Baptists give even more to missions in 2021,” said David Johnson, Arizona Southern Baptist Mission Network executive director. “As a result, we were able to send more funds than ever to national and international mission causes through the Southern Baptist Convention.
“In addition to that, we were able to increase our support of missions and ministry efforts in Arizona as well,” he continued, “What a blessing to be a part of a network where missions is not just in the name but at the heart of all we do!”
The ASBMN concluded the year with income of $4,509,369, including the portion of Cooperative Program funds retained in Arizona, funds from the North American Mission Board, event fees and special gifts. And, with expenditures of $4,240,570, the Arizona Southern Baptist ended the year in the black by $268,799.
Centennial Vision goal
In 2021, another step was taken in reaching Arizona Southern Baptists’ Centennial Vision goal of giving 50% of Cooperative Program receipts to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries outside the state by 2028. Last year, 36.5% of the Cooperative Program receipts — up from 36% in 2020 — were forwarded to the Southern Baptist Executive Committee for distribution to national and international ministries.
In 2022, with an ASBMN Cooperative Program budget goal of $3,644,213, the percentage increased to 39%. This year marks the eighth consecutive year for an increase, resulting in a total rise of 13 percentage points.
In other year-end financial news, gifts to the Arizona Mission Offering were $161,603, down $58,690 (26.4%) from 2020. However, the Arizona Mission Offering had a special emphasis in 2020.
The entire offering provided a Helping Churches in Crisis Fund used to assist churches during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions gifts were $532,188, up $186,747 (54.1%) from 2020.
Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions were $767,556, down $63,760 (7.7%) from 2020. Last year marked the second consecutive year for a decline in the offering. Arizona Southern Baptists gave more than $1 million to the Lottie Moon Offering in 2019.
However, the apparent two-year slide may be a matter of timing, said Kathy Keller, business administrator with the ASBMN. Churches are still sending in their gifts from the 2021 Lottie Moon Offering, she said, but gifts received after Dec. 31, 2021, are not reflected in the 2021 total. They will be included for 2022.
The January 2022 total for Lottie Moon is $110,000 more than January 2021. Furthermore, if the last three years of Lottie Moon giving are compared from February-January rather than the calendar year, giving in the past 12 months was higher than either of the previous two 12-month periods.
Resources are available for churches to share the Cooperative Program story with their church.
CP Stories can be used during a worship service to tell a brief missionary story. The stories for upcoming Sundays, along with printable bulletin inserts and PowerPoint slides, are available here.
In addition, a number of Cooperative Program videos are available to download and share with your church here.