The 2017 CP report: For celebration and accountability
    April 4 2018 by BR Editorial Staff

    The Cooperative Program (CP) is the financial core of Southern Baptist missions and ministries. Local churches throughout North Carolina have voluntarily participated in the CP since its inception nearly 100 years ago. In fact, our network of more than 4,300 churches has often set the standard of generous missions giving for Southern Baptists across the nation.
     
    The Biblical Recorder editorial staff is proud to celebrate your record of CP support by publishing the 2017 Missions Support report, found in the second section of the April 7 print edition. You will find information there for each cooperating Baptist church in the state, including its giving, other missions support and associational affiliation.
     
    These records, which have been provided to us by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, begin with a breakdown of the top CP-giving churches in the state, grouped by attendance. We commend all congregations who choose to give faithfully through the unified giving plan, regardless of the amount.

    The annual publication of this list also serves a more solemn, journalistic purpose.
     
    A recent article by The Pathway, news journal for Missouri Baptists, detailed how a church treasurer was arrested on federal charges for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, following a two-year investigation that began with the publication of the annual giving report in the state newspaper.
     
    Some church members noticed that giving records did not match the published report. Many of the stolen funds had been designated as missions offerings and payments to the pastor’s retirement account.

    The tragic story is not the first of its kind, nor will it be the last. The records found in the latest edition are accountability tools to help protect your church’s integrity.
     
    We always pray that no congregation’s tithes and offerings would ever be pilfered, but if misconduct has taken place, we hope this report can help you discover the truth.
     
    Christ’s people hold fast that, “Love … does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
     
    To that end, we have also included a list of seven steps that pastors and other church leaders can take if they encounter non-standard financial practices in a church. The following is a section from a blog post written by William Thornton for SBCVoices.com, used by permission.

    1. Take time to learn how things work. Who collects, counts and deposits the offering? Who writes and signs checks? Who receives the bank statements? Who has access to financial records? If the same person does all this, someone needs to bring the subject up and work to correct it.
    2. Compare records sent by your state convention or GuideStone Financial Resources to what is reported. Any pastor with a GuideStone account receives regular reports of his account showing what has been deposited. He should check to see if what GuideStone shows matches what the church report shows. State conventions send summary statements of what is received from a church. These often reveal a problem if one exists. If the sums do not match, then questions should be asked and the matter corrected. It may be a mistake. Or it may indicate theft.
    3. See if there are informed laypeople in the church with whom you can have private discussions. I understand the sensitivity of raising these questions. It’s perfectly natural for a new pastor to ask questions and familiarize himself with his new church. If the sensitivity level seems too elevated over the matter, find a trusted layperson with whom you can have confidential conversations.
    4. Pushback may indicate a problem. Resistance to even modest changes in money handling may be a sign of trouble. Someone should see it through, and seek out the truth.
    5. Involve non-church people. Associations and state conventions regularly have conferences and training on handling church funds. Ask the treasurer or some church leaders to attend. The conference leaders will say what needs to be said and almost certainly share a couple of church embezzlement stories. Your church folks will pay attention.
    6. It is good practice to divide these tasks and have an annual financial review. This protects those who handle money, as well as the church, and increases confidence in church leadership that donations are managed properly.
    7. If you hit a brick wall, try to find a way around it. The church treasurer is a main source of irritation in many churches. Chances are the pastor is not the only person in the church who doesn’t like the present arrangement.

     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – April 8 is Cooperative Program Sunday, the Southern Baptist Convention’s yearly emphasis on its unified giving plan.)
     

    4/4/2018 8:53:37 AM by BR Editorial Staff | with 0 comments




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