"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Changing the CP Formula Is Not the Answer

Paul Chitwood, Chairman of the International Mission Board is wrong. The International Mission Board is in a financial crises, and Chitwood has proposed a solution to the problem. He suggests that the Cooperative Program formula should be changed so that more Cooperative Program money, in terms of percentage, should go to the International Mission Board.

Chitwood writes: "Only 18 cents of each dollar given through the CP in my state will ever make it to the overseas mission fields. While some states do indeed forward more money, they are the exception."

There has been no stronger advocate of the work of the International Mission Board in the last three years than I. Our church has four couples serving in all regions of the world through the IMB as well as several journeymen. We increased our Cooperative Program giving by 5% last year, and it was my privilege to visit five of the eleven overseas regional IMB headquarters in the past four years. There are several reasons why changing the formula for the Cooperative Program is not the solution to the fiscal problems facing the IMB. At the risk of upsetting a few who have been my strong advocates while serving as a trustee of the IMB from 2005-2008, I feel it is incumbent to share why I believe Paul Chitwood is incorrect.

(1). Lost people live in North America, including the United States. Missions within our borders is as important as missions across our borders. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma funds Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Disaster Relief Ministries, Chaplaincy Ministries in the oil fields, hospitals, and nursing homes, and gives training and support to thousands of pastors who minister to people in their respective communities. This does not include all the BGCO ministry that occurs at our state Baptist colleges, nursing homes and retirement centers, and children's homes - all of whom receive support through the Cooperative Program. In addition, our SBC seminaries and other SBC entities, including the North American Mission Board, are involved in the training of all our ministry and mission workers, and a change in the CP formula to give the IMB more money necessitates giving to the other SBC ministries in North America less.

(2). The International Mission Board already has the largest single offering within the Southern Baptist Convention called "The Lottie Moon Offering." Over half the budget for the International Mission Board ($150 million) comes from Lottie. No other Southern Baptist entity comes even close to having that kind of revenue stream. If more revenue is needed, increase giving to Lottie.

(3). At some point the International Mission Board is going to have to address the dysfunction that occurs in terms of strategic planning, communication and implementation of core changes within the International Mission Board. There is nothing wrong with change, but when administration in Richmond changes things in East Asia without input from those on the ground, then you have the equivalent of the Senior Pastor telling the children's coordinator how to operate the nursery. Somehow, someway, administration in Richmond has got to get better at hearing and listening to the troops on the ground. Tens of millions of dollars could be saved if missionaries were the ones telling Richmond what was needed and Richmond supported the needs of those in the middle of the harvest. The new changes at the IMB, just like New Directions a decade ago, look great on paper. The problem is most missionaries have no clue what is happening. Sure, that will change in time, but until there is a much better system of listening to those on the ground, I would be against throwing more money into a system that sometimes seems to spin in circles.

(4). Trustees are going to have to take responsibility for ridiculous policies, initiated by them, that disenfranchise local Southern Baptist churches across the nation. When I have dozens and dozens of pastors telling me they would rather directly support mission work sponsored by their churches than to submit to what they believe to be extra-biblical and non-essential policy demands of the IMB, then Houston, we have a problem. For example, when there is a vacancy in a financial office in a major region, and a newly called SBC missionary with a background in finance within the business world is not allowed to fill the overseas vacancy without the required "two years of language school," then we have policies superceding ministry. By the way, in this real world example, the finance position remains vacant. It seems to me that flexibility and a minimum number of policies (including the rescinding of ridiculous extra-biblical and non-BFM doctrinal policies) should be a requirement before we even begin to discuss changing the CP formula. When the system continues with dysfunctions, it makes no sense to pour more money into the system.

(5). It would seem that the root issue of a lack of funding at the International Mission Board is NOT the formula of the Cooperative Program, but the general decrease in giving to the CP by churches across the SBC. Churches across the board are reducing their giving to the CP everywhere - but in Oklahoma. Here in Oklahoma our state keeps 60% of CP monies. 40% is sent to the Executive Committee in Nashville, Tennessee. Of that 40% percent, the International Mission Board gets half. The other half is divided among NAMB, the seminaries, and other SBC ministry.

The average church in Oklahoma has increased CP giving to nearly 9.5% of church receipts over the past five years, while the average Southern Baptist church in other states has reduced CP giving to just above 5%. Oklahoma SB chuches give significantly more to the CP than SB churches in other states. Why is that? I might suggest that the BGCO agencies are professionally run, staffed and quite effective. Having served both at the state level and the national level in the SBC, I am more comfortable with the accountability, stewardship and ministry effectiveness of the 60% that stays in Oklahoma than I am with the 40% that goes elsewhere. I know where all the dollars go in Oklahoma. There is a high level of trust at the state level, and an absence of the ugly politics, particularly in the past decade, that have harmed other states. I am thrilled we in Oklahoma send what we do to national and international causes, and I believe our national agencies are improving in terms of their financial accountability. However, the way for the International Mission Board to receive more money from Oklahoma is NOT to change the CP formula, but rather, to continue to encourage the healthy giving to the CP that already characterizes our state.

So, I believe Paul Chitwood, Chairman of the IMB, is wrong. The CP formula does not need to change in order to help the IMB during their fiscal crises. We Southern Baptists simply must continue to be involved in reaching people at the local level, treating others with respect and grace, and seeing all our ministries as Southern Baptists as important. When the tide comes into the harbor the water rises and all the boats rise together. To artificially raise one boat over the others simply ignores the serious question as to why the tide of money seems to be going out of the Southern Baptist Convention harbor in the first place.

In His Grace,



Gary Snowden said...


I think you make a well-reasoned argument for not changing the CP formula for distribution of offerings and gifts to various Southern Baptist agencies and institutions. I would especially affirm your third point about the need for the IMB to change its methodology regarding strategic planning.

When we were appointed in 1986 and arrived on the field in 1988 after orientation and language school, we discovered that there did seem to be an openness to field-generated strategy plans. Each missionary was encouraged to present plans to address the needs of his field and then the mission body would vote on a priority list of Capital Needs projects and others according to the strategy generated by field missionaries.

With the coming of New Directions, field-based strategy was tossed out the window and a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to missions strategy was adopted. The worst part of it all was the neglect of input from national Baptists within the country in formulating strategy. I'm familiar with what happened in our field of service and have witnessed in visits to other countries as well the strained relationships that continue to this day in many cases because of the unilateral approach to strategy planning that the IMB took with New Directions.

I appreciate your insights on this important question and agree with your arguments and conclusions.

Joe Blackmon said...

The IMB certainly should not have to recind the proper and correct policies related to signing the BFM 2000, being baptized by immersion, or Private Prayer Language (snicker). It does not matter that those topics were "extra-BFM 2000" whatever that's supposed to mean since the BFM 2000 is not a maximal document it is proper for baptist agencies to address issues that it doesn't touch on.

That having been said, I'm not sure if changing the formula is the best way to address the problem or even if it will address the problem.

jasonk said...

The IMB, like many denominational agencies, seems to see a bottomless well of money that can just be tapped again and again, when they think more money is needed. In the real world, where there is a recession going on, there isn't money to give. At some point, the IMB, and every other church and denominational agency, is going to have to come to grips with the fact that it isn't about obedience, it isn't about a higher percentage to fund what they see as more important, it is about dollars and cents. The money just isn't there.
That having been said, when the money dries up, we have to go back to the drawing board, and find new, more efficient ways in which to operate. Case in point: in our local association, fat has been trimmed, expenses are down, and what money does come in is used more for ministry than for overhead.
That's what needs to happen at the IMB. Wake up, and smell the recession.

Wade Burleson said...


I know you are not as ignorant as your comment makes you appear. The new policy is not about baptism by immersion. Good night, that has always been the IMB policy. The new policy is about counting as legitimate only those baptisms that take place in a SBC church.

Joe Blackmon said...


Actually, you're right. I thought I had typed "by immersion in an SBC church". When I went back and re-read the comment before I posted it I missed it. I'm wokring with Microsoft Magnifier due to some eye issues after surgery.

And I'm far more ignorant than my comment makes me sound. Haa haa

Lydia said...

Does anyone know how many missionaries NAMB funds that are full time?

Thy Peace said...

NAMB > Missionaries Serving Through NAMB.

I can not make sense of this table on the above page.

It says for the year 2001? or for the current year?

Appointed: 1522
Approved: 1689
Mission Service Corp: 1943

Total: 5154

Also, check these links:

Wiki > Southern Baptist Convention.

Wiki > North American Mission Board.
100 percent of AAEO contributions goes toward funding the more than 5,600 Southern Baptist missionaries serving in North America.

Thy Peace said...

1. Appointed missionaries serve in a full-time capacity.

2. Missionaries serving in the Approved category receive financial assistance and serve in either career or limited-term capacities.

3. MSC missionaries are self-funded mission personnel

So the answer would be 1522.

John Fariss said...

Dear Joe,

I have asked a set of questions to you at other times, and also to Robert Masters and others, and so far no one has answered me. I am not trying to start a fight, or set anyone up for anything; I just would like your input on these related questions, so here they are:

What would I (or anyone else) have to agree with, sign off on, accept, etc., in order to be considered a "conservative"? Conversely, even if I accepted some/most/all of this, what would "cross the line" so to speak and make me "liberal"? And finally, are there any areas of gray or others positions you would acknowledge between the opposite poles of "liberal" and "conservative"?



Bill said...

I know this puts me in the "less than popular class" however, the SBC needs to revamp "HOW" we do missions (which I think most others here are espousing as well)! We need to change from "Americanizing Christianity" in foreign countries to allowing the "Nationals" to do the majority of the work with "American Money". Yes, the SBC can oversee the money and should, afterall it does come from the good ole USA; howver, the nationals have the "Feel for the land" and I think that we should trust them on this issue.

Yes, I do understand that this is not always possible in all circumstances, but let's face it, we as the SBC have been in many countries for almost 100 yrs, and it is high time that we cut some of the apron strings and allow these people to give us guidance in how some of the $$$$$$ should be spent (won't that cause a stir at the IMB) and also to allow them to take some type of ownership for the future of missions in their own countries (would not this promote spiritual growth amongst them?).

I think that this would save hundreds of thousands of dollars, provide spiritual leadership and maturity amongst our brethren, and allow us to focus on the "Real Needs" ie the totally unreached.

I have friends (with the IMB) who are in a country where they are the only missionaries there for about 20,000,000 or so totally unreached people. It would be nice if they had at least 3-4 more couples to share in this burden.

Let the Cannon fire begin!

By His Grace,

Romans 5:1

Frank Gantz said...

I would not mind asking the question about having a higher percentage of CP dollars if it were not couched in issues that are economy driven.

If giving is down due to a down economy, then the IMB should do as all other agencies, ministries and business have done -- maximizing resources by reducing non-essential costs.


GuyMuse said...

To hear that Emmanuel B.C. there in Enid has increased by 5% its giving to CP is truly noteworthy. As a M who benefits from the sacrificial giving of fellow brothers and sisters there at EBC, thank you! I wish all churches had the same vision and heart for missions!

I personally thought what Paul Chitwood had to suggest was a wonderful idea to change the CP formula. I thought he had several thought-provoking ideas which he brings up in the article, and would encourage all to first take a look at what he has to share before making up one's mind on the matter.

For example, in the portion you quote above from Paul's article, he states, "Only 18 cents of each dollar given through the CP in my state will ever make it to the overseas mission fields..."

I would ask, is it right that 82 cents of each dollar be spent in-state year, after year, amongst the same most evangelized peoples on the face of the earth? How many times must one turn down the Gospel before we recognize that maybe it should be the other way around: 82-cents overseas, and 18-cents in-state?

William said...

IMB problems notwithstanding, I would be delighted to see the CP formula changed to cause them to receive more funding, but I'm not optimistic. While I don't know that any such effort as a part of the GCR push will succeed, I would happily join the effort in my state. Alas, all bureaucracies know how make allies, justify their existence, and defend their funding - so it will be difficult.

If the problem is as you describe it, a "general decrease in giving to the CP by churches" then part of the solution is to prioritize the funding formula, since I don't see any promotional effort in the states or the SBC reversing the generation long CP funding slide.

Lydia said...

How serious are we about sending more missionaries?

Then take an serious ax to the budget.

How much goes to ELRC? Cut it off. It obviously is not working.

How much goes to Hemphill and EKG? Cut it out. We do not need it.

After reading Mary Kinney's book, it sounds like NAMB (And probably every other entity) is mid to upper managment heavy. Cut.

How much CP to salaries at seminaries? Cut salaries. Start with the leaders, some who also make money from speaking fees, pastoring churches and writing books. It could be their big leadership moment to sacrfice for sending more missionaries.

Wonder how many missionaries could be sent just from that? Surely a few.

The worst thing to do is to throw more money at a bloated bureaucracy.

Clif Cummings said...

I think this is a relevant question, and I admit it is being asked out of my own personal ignorance. Is the IMB and all other SBC agencies "debt free"?

I can only imagine the number of missionaries that could be commissioned with the money that is paid in interest on debt alone by many SBC churches.

B Nettles said...

I would take your last paragraph a step further. The IMB needs to re-evaluate their spending habits, regardless of the economy. From talking with many friends who were and are IMB missionaries and drawing on my personal ISC experience, they have entirely too many "meetings," flying AD's and Richmond people all around the world, while money for m-projects designed and guided by ground-based personnel go lacking. Personnel are re-assigned routinely, causing them to be distracted from being effective in long-term relationships which would be fruitful for implementing a "nationals-based" evangelism. Since 1992, there have been at least 3 global strategy reorganizations, costing millions each time to move people around, teach them new languages, get them new housing.

I'm positive that IMB has good intentions but IMB is wasteful in its logistics of personnel. Cut back on meetings (both of areas, Richmond travel, and BoT), cut back on moving. That would fund several new M's.

I'm grateful for the IMB system in freeing M's from having to "raise support." If you'll check other agencies, not only are their missionaries raising their own, but a big cut goes to funding the admins. That fund raising is a constant stress. Of course, in some regions of IMB-land, there is stress from wondering what the RD/AD is planning for the next meeting.

Bill N

B Nettles said...

Guy Muse,
That 18 cents is about half of what makes it past the state convention, really the state he's talking about is "only" keeping 64 cents. But you still raise an excellent question. What is the state doing with 64 cents? Probably sending personnel to meetings, paying 50 cents a mile plus $90/night hotel.

Some of the state money actually makes it to a college or university [acknowledgement of self-interest: I teach at one], helping with the budget in Christian higher-ed, and some states have children's homes that are supplemented. Aside from those activities, the workshops that state personnel dream up help don't seem to be doing much to improve things in church life. I've spent my life in SBC churches (-4 years), my mom worked at a state convention office (10+ years), I worked 2 summers at the main building, and I still wonder what they do that's actually useful for Kingdom work (oh, yeah,...summer camps for kids.)

Wade Burleson said...


I can't speak for other agencies, but the IMB is debt free as far as I can tell. There were no line items for interest payments on the balance and income sheets that I saw.

Wade Burleson said...

Bill and Guy,

Technically, the 18 cent number is a little bit misleading. Bill, you are correct in surmising Kentucky keeps 64 cents on the dollar - so the state gives away 36 cents to missions causes.

Of that 64 cents, one must remember that more than likely the state funds Baptist Student Unions at all state colleges and universities, and in Kentucky, there may be even Baptist colleges like we have in Oklahoma (Oklahoma Baptist University). Then, if you are talking about state chaplaincy work, disaster relief, children's homes and orphanages, retirement centers, pastor training, and all other kinds of state ministries, the 64 cents must stretch a very, very long way - particularly since the "State Missions Offering" gets nowhere the publicity or support of Lottie Moon.

That 18 cents given to the IMB by Kentucky is added in with 18 to 25 cents on the dollar from 40 other state conventions to make a total of over 150 MILLION dollars given to the IMB. Then, when you add an additional 150 MILLION dollars through Lottie Moon and investment income, that is closing in on a half BILLION dollar organization.

The solution to me is healthy states, healthy churches.

When that happens, you have a healthy IMB.

Bill said...


Point taken about State spending for Disaster relief etc.

Another issue that I have is that with both State, IMB and NAMB why not change most of those positions to Bi-vocational!! That gives some of the pastors in smaller churches the opportunity to become more full time in ministry.

As far as BSU goes, I personally have not know one to be very good (I have been a part of 3 at different colleges). At the last one, I would actually "Hold class" afterwards to address issues that the BSU leader was totally incapable of, but that was back when I was also in class with Dr. F. Gantz (we had a couple of classes together) at MABTS. Everyday after my last class, I would gather with some of the guys "at the wall" so they could smoke while we discussed theology (Shelby State CC in Memphis). Honestly, I would love to have the opportunity to do that kind of thing again. It was a great opportunity. We discussed everything from evolution to Grace and Romans 5:1!

Have a great day.


Romans 5:1

John Fariss said...

I have been told in the past that the IMB & maybe NAMB (although I wonder about that one) have some of the smallest percentages of funding that goes to cover administrative costs of any "charities". Is that still true?

If so, I would like to know what part of that goes to salaries (of administrative personnel, i.e., in Richmond and Atlanta) as divided on some scale that can make sense to a financially-challenged individual such as myself. In other words, can we know how many salaries are in excess of $100K, how many of $75-100K, how many are $50-75, $40-50, 30-40, less than that, etc.; then how much is spent on things like paying for all these trustees to attend board meetings, and the total cost of these meetings, including (and broken down by) any overnight stays, air fares, meals, meeting space, etc. Finallky, we need to know the costs of reorganizations and these "top-down" dictated programs, which seem to me to be more administrative than missionary, regardless of how and where they are figured in. We need to put all this on one side of a ledger, and on the other, things like salaries paid to missionaries, how many of them are paid for full-time work, how many part-time, and what the connection between them is (for instance, if some is paid to a husband-wife team, there is nothing wrong with that, but it does indicate a "connection" that could otherwise not be funded at that level, as well as the various costs associated with actually doing missions rather than the state-side administrative work.

I have to agree with contributors like Bill, Frank, Lydia, and B. Nettles. At the church I serve, the economy has mandated us to cut back on a lot of things. Few things (including salaries, excluding fixed expenses like utilities) were sacred, and we are in the black. I don't like ministry done that way, but when the money isn't there, it isn't there, and neither the IMB nor NAMB is better than our own ministries.


Bill said...

TY John---great minds do think alike!!

Also, why do we continue to have DOM's at the Associational Level once again the ones I know only cause trouble.

Man--I sound really bitter, but do not mean to be. I do believe in accountability and it is high time we SBCer's call the ledger in for a major audit in all areas!! State, National and even at the Church level--see I am nondiscriminatory!! lol

Grace Again,


Doug Hibbard said...

Personally, I think some change is a good idea within our national usage of CP funds, and I think there are some things that we spend money on that we shouldn't.

But let's keep in mind when we talk about what percent goes where, that, for example, here in Arkansas, the 58 cents on the dollar is used for projects that get no support from any other state. Same is true of any other state convention. Whatever the state conventions of Oklahoma, Kentucky, or wherever else want to do, has to come from the churches in those states. The idea behind the Cooperative Program, as I have understood all my life, is that it allows for the smaller percents, the 45 percent and down, to pool together to accomplish greater tasks.

The difficulty is not the overall formula, but that many churches, especially of higher profile, have limited their participation in the CP. Several years ago, the retiring state executive director that taught my Intro to Ministry class in college told the class of receiving calls from larger churches that chose to limit CP Missions to a fixed amount, because staying on a percentage would cause them to "give too much away." When churches begin to fear "giving too much away" because they're growing in budget, that's a bad sign.

You might question the apparent imbalance between America and the rest of the world. And it's definitely there. But when you compare the cost of, for example, running an orphanage in America with one in Africa, which costs more? Should we discontinue Baptist Children's Homes in America since they are too costly? And most of those ministries are 100% funded by the state side of CP. I also know that, within our state, the people employed by the state office make themselves available to any church in the state, and come to help with various problems. I learn about small towns watching where my executive director is headed to preach!

Would any SBC Executive come to preach at our little church in SE Arkansas? Probably not. We're not big enough, as they are mostly found in churches 10 times our size. But the state folks will come to churches half our size. They serve as the consultants we can't afford to hire. They serve as the counselors that we can't afford to hire. They provide the support for local churches that lack boundless financial resources.

I fully support the IMB personnel on the field. We increased our CP percentage, from 3% of budget to 5%, and I am encouraging our church to go up at least 1% more this year. I am willing to encourage measured steps of putting more money into our existing system, but it does need reevaluated, beginning with each board, agency, commission that receives CP money examining their own structures and expenses, whether there is more administration than is need, whether the overhead has become an overgrown beast. Whether we have more 'managers' than are necessary, rather than trusting the people on the field to do their work.

Just some thoughts on the issue. The problem is, next week we'll be told that people that won't change the funding formula are 'anti-missions' rather than actually having a dialogue about it. Then somebody will call the IMB trustees names, and this whole thing becomes a mess rather than productive.


John Fariss said...

By the way: I fully agree that things like Baptist Children's Homes are a significant part of the reason why state conventions keep, and should keep, a significant portion of CP funds sent them by the churches (as well as why the start-up conventions in VA and TX can send so large a percentage--they lack these vital ministries, as well as hospitals and colleges, supported in various degrees by many state conventions). And if the IMB gets a bigger cut, it means someone will get a smaller one. I wonder who. . . .


John Fariss said...

Doug, you said, "The problem is, next week we'll be told that people that won't change the funding formula are 'anti-missions' rather than actually having a dialogue about it." I'd like to think you are wrong; but I am afraid you are exactly right.


John Fariss said...

As to DOM's, I have yet to have a bad experience with a DOM in any place I have served, though I know that is not uniformly the case. Some DOM's have been better than others--one was virtually a non-entity, seems that he was burnt out when I arrived, but my experience with him was more neutral than bad, and the others have been good. Ditto re: folks working for the state offices, including our executive Director--they will come upon invitation regardless of how small the church or association was. I can't see any of the IMB or NAMB Presidents in my ministry time (23 years) doing that--and I suppose that is for a combination of how WE have mandated their time, and how we (or at least their trustee boards) have allowed them to manage it.


Wade Burleson said...

Off for my folks 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration!

Sweet discussions!

Alan Paul said...

John Fariss-

I hope you are not holding your breath. Someone will have to yell "medic!" for you soon!

John Fariss said...


Hey, I may be dumb, but I'm not dumb enough to think that info is going to fall into my lap. No, my guess is that if (and it's a big "IF") those who know and have the authority to reveal that take any notice of folks like me at all, it will be to either accuse us of dissent, or to "reassure" us that the money is being well spent, and that we can trust them, that Big Brother knows best, that the trustee system is working well to insure everything goes as it should, and that God is in His heaven smiling down on them. Just like in recent years at NAMB.

BTW, no one should take this as an attack at Dr. Rankin. Seems to me he has his hands full trying to preserve what integrity the Mission Board has left.



Jon L. Estes said...

TY John---great minds do think alike!!

Also, why do we continue to have DOM's at the Associational Level once again the ones I know only cause trouble.

Man--I sound really bitter, but do not mean to be. I do believe in accountability and it is high time we SBCer's call the ledger in for a major audit in all areas!! State, National and even at the Church level--see I am nondiscriminatory!! lol

Grace Again,

In the association where I pastor, one thing is for certain, we know where all the money goes. Yes, some DOM's are trouble makers, as are some pastors, state level employees and trustees of the SBC entities. This should not be a litmus test for the need or efficiency of an organization.

I even like our state convention personnel and their ministry but am glad to know I have a local team I can call and they are available when I need them. I can't say that about the state level folk or the national.

While in PA, our DOM was priceless, I would not have wanted to work without him in our region. 21 churches in 9 1/2 counties.

Jon L. Estes said...

I have been praying for over a year now (and still do not have an answer - so I wait upon the Lord) to reduce our CP giving but send the remaining amount (what would have been given if we did not reduce), straight to the LMCO and AAEO. This way I would be assured more would go to the field, until that formula is changed behind closed doors and we find out way after the fact.


I remember in 1994 or thereabouts when Kieth Parks (former president of the IMB and one of the Godliest men I have ever known) said that for every missionary dollar only 5 cents was actually used on the missionaries and the vast majority was absorbant saleries and to many mid level people.

You should have heard the howling and growling. From that point forward, they would not rest until the got rid of him.

It was then suggested from someone that no one (NO ONE) in the IMB should make more than the missionaries overseas.

More howling and growling.

I always wondered who was leading the howlers and the growlers.

I wonder where they are now?

I wonder how much these leader of the howlers and growlers make now?

BTW, Lydia, Amen!

RKSOKC66 said...


I have the article from Paul Chitwood sitting here in hard-copy form on my desk.

As of yet, I don’t know in my own mind how to resolve the “tension” in CP allocations between state and SBC-wide causes.

All I’m going to say right now is that I’m going to withhold judgment on re-working the CP allocation formula pending a clarification of what is going to happen funding-wise with the “Children’s Homes” in Oklahoma. My daughter has mild mental retardation. She functions like a person that is about 12 years old even though her age is 40. As a result of working with various social agencies I’ve seen too many “kids” (with various mental, psychological, and/or abuse problems) essentially abandoned by everyone including their “parents”. I totally support the BGCO children’s homes. If Christianity means anything, it means doing something to “the least of these. . . “.

Our number one thing should be both aspects of the Great Commission: “Evangelism and Discipleship”

Our other number one thing should be: Loving God and LOVING OTHERS.

Running the children’s homes comes under LOVING OTHERS.

Hold on to your chair as you read this, OUR MAIN THRUST IS NOT ONLY EVANGELISM. Discipleship and loving others is also part of Christianity.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Ron said...

It is with some degree of fear and trembling that I respond to this post. Part of the reason is that my salary is paid by CP funds given through the IMB and part of my work is funded my Lottie Moon funds. Although we should continue to look at the CP formula at the state and national level, I agree with the title of your post, “Changing the CP formula is not the Answer.” I will give my reasons.

First, I don’t think Paul Chitwood understands the problem or he is ignoring the problem. It is as though he and other CR leaders got together in a huddle and decided our next play is to attack the state conventions. Paul Chitwood was recently the president of the Kentucky State Convention. I would like to know what he did during his time as state convention president to increase the percentage Kentucky sends to the SBC. The state convention formulas have not changed dramatically over the last few decades. The problem is with the churches. The percent of CP money sent from the churches has decreased dramatically since the Conservative Resurgence began. I think this is partly because of the poor example of CP support we have seen from CR leaders including Johnny Hunt. You notice they keep talking about the state convention formula but not about individual churches responsibility. I would be interested in knowing what percent of the undesignated funds at Paul Chitwood’s church are sent to the CP. It is also partly because the majority of our churches have been told we want you to keep giving to the CP to help us carry out our political agenda but we will not allow you to be part of the decision making or serve as trustee unless you support the CR and obey its leaders. Why should they financially support something when they have no input to the decision making.

Second, part of the genius of the CP is the way it funds a variety of programs that theoretically should all work together for a common purpose. The IMB uses the most CP funds that make it to the SBC but we need the NAMB and seminaries and most of the other programs when they are working properly. In the last few years I am not sure the NAMB, ERLC, the EC and SWBTS have been working properly. We need our state conventions also. They give tremendous support to the SBC in addition to funding needed Kingdom business in their own states. Are all state conventions run equally well? Probably not but it is not the SBC leaderships job to tell the states how to run their convention. If they want to do that, they need to get involved in their own state conventions. I want Johnny Hunt and Danny Akin to leave my state convention alone. I do not advocate taking money away from the CP to send directly to the IMB through Lottie Moon. I advocate increasing Lottie Moon giving without decreasing CP giving.

One way Paul Chitwood could immediately save CP funds is to cut the number of IMB trustee meetings each year. I congratulate the trustees on canceling their July meeting. I believe they could cut the number of meetings each year by 2 or 3 and not harm the work of the IMB at all. I think Jerry Rankin suggested this a few years ago and it was ignored. Think how much money we could have saved if his advice had been followed. We should also cut the number of IMB trustees by 1/3. The large number of trustee actually hinders effectiveness. I know it is a popular carrot to hang in front of people to get their support but it is time to look at the larger picture.
(continued below)

Ron West

Ron said...

Continues from above:

The following I have said to my Regional leaders and RVA leadership before so I am not talking behind their back. Wade and Gary Snowden are right. When New Directions was implemented, we were told it would move decision making to front line missionaries. The opposite happened. Decision making was taken away from field level missionaries who were responsible for implementing strategy and placed in the hands of middle level administrators and Regional and RVA leadership often with little field experience or no experience in the region they supervised. The goals and many of the strategies of New Directions were excellent but they failed in their implementation. One of the reasons was as Gary stated, national leadership was often ignored or even worse they were insulted. We are still trying to correct the mistakes made 10 years ago. One of the problems was trying to force a questionable CSI strategy on all fields in the world and sending CSI leaders around to give lectures on CPM when they had never seen a CPM themselves. B Nettles mentioned another good point. Too much money has been spent on travel for Regional leadership and for pointless meetings. Some RLT members in our region seem to have authority to travel anywhere at any time they wish and have become addicted to acquiring frequent flyer mileage. It used to be when missionaries got together our shop talk was about churches started or evangelism projects. Now it seems to be who has the best frequent flyer programs and how often you get bumped up to first class.

This is for Bill. Your idea to allow the “Nationals” to do the majority of the work with “American Money” while the SBC oversees the money sounds good if you have never actually served on the mission field or worked with nationals but in actuality it would be the worst thing we could do. Missiologists learned a long time ago this would be a recipe for disaster as nationals would stop working on indigenous methods or projects and start spending their time trying to figure out how to get more money from the missionaries. It would kill initiative and create jealousy among the nationals over who got the most money. This has been proven over and over. This sounds similar to the Genesis Commission program Paige Patterson tried to implement back in the 80s and did nothing but show his ignorance of missions. Thankfully it was killed before it got off the ground. Your statements about cutting apron strings and allowing nationals to give us guidance while we give them ownership are well stated. I find it confusing that in your last paragraph you call for sending additional missionaries to a country with many unreached people instead of just sending money. Do you see why just sending money is not the answer?
Ron West

RKSOKC66 said...

Part 2 of my commants:

As it relates to the operations of the IMB, I don’t know much yet. However, I’m going to try to play a SMALL role in opening things up. I'm going to attend the public sessions of the BoTs of selected SBC agencies and blog about what happens there. My first experience will be at the IMB BoT in Jacksonville in September.

My role is going to be different. For one thing, I won’t be taking part: I am only going to listen.

My lens will be different because I'll be one of the very few people in attendance who is going there "on my own". I will pay my own travel cost. I will pay my own hotel bill at the Best Western (or whatever). I will go to McDonalds on my own. I don't take a dime of salary from any church, any association, any state convention, or any agency of the SBC.

There is nothing wrong with what the BP or any other news agency of the SBC puts out about what is happening at the BoT meetings (or any other aspect of SBC life). They hold to journalistic standards but the stuff they say is not just a totally neutral narrative of "what happened". They write stuff from the "viewpoint" of their own editorial staff. Just like the New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, the Washington Post or the Atlanta Constitution has a certain default bias so does the SBC press.

[I know for a fact that selected editors of SBC papers have been “guided” in what they print or don’t print based upon real or perceived influence from top brass in the agency]

As it relates to Paul Chitwood’s article, all I’d say to him if I had a chance would be this: “I look forward to meeting you at the BoT meeting in September. I’m looking forward what I perceive is a new day in openness and transparency in SBC operations.”

Dr. Hunt is leading the way for all of us. His recent publication of the GCR document on the web is the first time to my knowledge that senior leadership of the SBC is REACHING OUT TO THE MASSES AND THE GUY IN THE PEW through the medium of the internet and making his case directly to us. He has podcasts where he engages people who have issues with the stuff he is saying. He comes directly to a computer terminal near you. I don't have to go to some conference in Nashville so I can hear the vision he has for the SBC.

He is willing to listen and be engaged. He receives feedback and he makes adjustments based upon that feedback. He is going to have a meeting in a week or so with the state execs in an attempt to flatten out issues with them.

This is what the SBC needs. The widest possible communication and buy-in by everyone. None of us are going to get everything “our way”. But at least we are at the cusp of a new day where we are going to know more about what’s going on and have a chance to weigh in.

P.S. For any members of the IMB BoT that might monitor this blog: I’ve gotten a “green light” from Dr. Rankin’s office regarding my attendance. In addition, I’ll be in communication with Paul Chitwood in the coming weeks/months regarding any modalities that pertain to my attendance at the meeting.


Jeff said...

Off Topic: Telling on myself.

I was doing memory work on Eph 2:9

I wrote out the verse tonight and wrote,

"And not of works so that no one may post."

Is that a sign?


Jeff said...

Roger, Thanks for doing this. I pray that God Our Father will use you to help our convention grow.


Lydia said...

"Paul Chitwood was recently the president of the Kentucky State Convention. I would like to know what he did during his time as state convention president to increase the percentage Kentucky sends to the SBC."


Lydia said...

"The percent of CP money sent from the churches has decreased dramatically since the Conservative Resurgence began."

I know many who allocate their offerings for church ONLY. Many of these are senior citizens who had given to the CP for decades and stopped. So their giving did not decrease, it was just allocated differently and there is nothing the church can do about that.

Jon L. Estes said...

I think most of the people in the pew have been taught that the CP are mission dollars and they do not comprehend the mission emphasis of many of the things the money is spent on, nor the large salaries many people make off of the CP.

I also think pastors who are struggling to make ends meet are weary of seeing more than their salary going to CP, knowing little of it really hits the field for the gospel or missions.

Jon L. Estes said...

In addition to my previous post, many churches give a good percentage of the budget and the struggling pastor struggles with things like, no insurance, while their CP dollars assure SBC employees will have many benefits they will live without.

Not knocking the SBC personnel or their benefits but I hurt for many pastors who struggle to keep their head above water.

Christiane said...


I so appreciate your entries about making the care of children's homes a priority. In caring for your daughter, you have been givn a ministry to help other children in need, I think, and this ministry is trying to keep the children's homes from going without.

That is how it works. You KNOW from raising your daughter, the needs of these children.
And you would not see these children pushed aside in 'the equation'. I think you have been inspired to do this, Roger.

Perhaps what motivates you is that love you feel for 'the least of these' which, I believe, IS THE SAME as the love of Christ Himself.

I honor what you are doing.
May I send some money to Wade in order to help you in your efforts?
I understand that you want to pay your way yourself, but, in honor of my own dear Down Syndrome son, and in honor of your dear daughter, I should very much like to help my Christian brother in his efforts, in the Name of the Lord.

In the Body of Christ, the poor and the 'least of these' are to be kept at the HEART, to be cared for as He has asked us to do.
May it be so.

Much love and prayers, L's

Wade Burleson said...


I like your style.

I like your courage.

I like your background.

Ron West for President of the IMB!


Jon L. Estes said...


You are not now promoting the removal of Dr. Rankin... are you?

I wish I could fund the missionaries, personally.


RKSOKC66 said...


I honestly appreciate all of your posts over the months (a couple of years, I guess) that I've been commenting here on Wade's blog. We need more people like you who don't subordinate their care and compassion to others to winning some "argument" with them.

I admit that some times I'm way too wonkish myself. [My wife says "What do you mean -- sometimes?] I try to keep a balance, but my type "A" Silicon Valley personality gets in the way.

Regarding my daughter. She does not have Down Syndrome. However, many of the "kids" (of course they are actually adults) she knows do. She had severe epiliptic seizures at birth. She had a number of spinal treatments at Stanford University Hospital when she was an infant and toddler. She took a very powerful anti-seizure medication up to about the age of six. She was always in "special education" in San Jose. She won tons of Gold Ribbons at Special Olympics and even participated in the World Games once which was in North Carolina. She was one of the best Special Olympians in swimming in the whole State of California.

Here in Oklahoma City, we have the "Dale Rogers Center" which provides training and a sheltered workshop for people with disabilities. Julia has worked on various projects at the workshop. She is able to take the city bus system all over the place and she took the bus from our house here in OKC which is about 10miles SE of downtown to way over on the NW side -- about 15 miles each way.

About a year ago, Julia started working in what is called "placement in the community". She works at Arby's on 15th and Air Depot in Midwest City on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for about a half a day. She cleans the tables, takes out the trash, sweeps/mops the floor, clean up the coke machine when ice falls on the floor, etc. A "job coach" from Dale Rogers drops by Arby's periodically and sort of "checks up" on how things are going.

She really enjoys her job and she actually gets a small (emphasis on small) salary every month. People from church who know her -- believe it or not she sings in the main Adult Sanctuary choir (which is her "whole life" ) -- come by at Arby's and have lunch quite often and see her at work.

We certainly don't need any financial help as (I don't know how to say this delicately) I'm not hurting financially. I worked for 40 years in Silicon Valley as a software engineer specializing in firmware/microcode and management of software development projects.

Take a look at our website at:


Julia's picture is there in the section under "family pictures".
My wife Donna is also in those pictures of course. She has MS but is doing -- according to her -- "pretty good considering the shape I'm in"


Wade Burleson said...



Dr. Rankin will retire eventually and I'm just preparing the way for Ron.

Wade Burleson said...

Off for my Friday golf!

RKSOKC66 said...


Calm down!!

Ron West has a PhD in math. If he takes over the IMB I'll be jealous of him :)

The problem with Ron is he is just too logical and too smart. Besides he is from Arkansas. I made the mistake of getting in a fight with him once and had to back down. :)

Given all the experiences with the guys on the BoT from Razorback country I don't think we need another one -- do you? :) :)

Jeff said...

Roger, I think sooner fans are going to hate hog fans after we beat the sooners in baseball this weekend.


Christiane said...


Thank you for responding.
I think it was that part about 'eating alone at MacDonalds' that touched my heart and I thought: 'he can't afford a decent meal and, at his age, MacDonalds food is practically lethal. I want him to be able to eat some decent meals." :)

Seriously, I'm glad you have the resouces for all this, but sometimes, it is good to know that you don't need to 'go it alone'.
I really admire what you are doing.
And you are right, it's not about the 'divisions' and the 'doctrinal arguments'; they don't amount to a row of beans when it comes to caring for 'the least of His'.
I'm glad your daughter is doing so well. My son is also, as best as can be expected. He is a resident at a private facility in Wyckoff, NJ, Eastern Christian Children's Retreat, which is under the auspices of the Dutch Reformed Church. The minister at the Retreat is a woman, my dear friend, Susan Dorward. She has prayed with me in moments of need.
I could not do without her and her loving-kindness towards me and my son.
No, it's not about the divisions, not at this level, it's about the love of Christ and the 'least of His'. Maybe Christians need to go to a deeper level to find what it is that is really important, and once there, the divisions no longer matter so much anymore.

Love, L's

Just an M said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Wade's analysis, especially points 3 & 4. I have been with the IMB for 15 years and have seen the IMB lose and/or waste millions of dollars. Excessive travel within the RLT along with layers and layers of administrative positions has helped to create the dysfunction in the IMB. Cutting back on frontliners like ISC/Journeymen is the worst thing the IMB can do now. Yet, this is exactly what they have recently done. One day they will wake up and realize that admin personnel are the only ones who will be left on the field. We have a huge back door with people leaving all the time so it makes no sense to cut these front line missionaries. I fear that future cuts in the IMB will not be in admin or duplication, but will actually be targeted towards the missionaries themselves in the areas of MK education. salaries, Strategic needs (Bibles), and housing.

Does anyone realize that the entire global affinity leadership team (mid level management) from the IMB has been in Richmond this week in a conference? Can we not use technology such as Skype for meetings? Until the IMB decides to quit following the AIG model of management, problems will continue. The answer isn't necessarily an SBC bail-out.

Grady Bauer said...

Wade and others....
I think that changing the CP formula definitely needs to be changed but to me that's like repainting the lifeboats on the Titanic....nice but not meaningful.

I think the changes that need to happen are substantial and messy. We're still running the IMB like a traditional, top-heavy corporation. We create change without the input of anyone and if someone asks questions we do our best to blacklist them (you know this personally as do I). Here are a few thoughts....

1. Change in strategy flow. Enough of the "new vatican" calling the shots and not asking for input. Strategy should be field based and leadership should be from within.
2. It's time for honest dialogue. When the IMB launched the newest changes they hosted a blog. Positive feedback was encouraged but feedback that questioned things were either deleted or veiled threats were made to those who posted them. BTW, the blog was conveniently taken down right before the hiring freeze was put into place.
3. Churches are still giving...just not to us. We continue to try to connect to churches like we did 50 years ago in a culture that is all about relationships and constant exposure. I'm afraid when tough times hit we're the first thing to be dropped because the majority of people have no personal connection to us and our ministries.
4. Our recent press hasn't been positive. We continue to look irrelevant. We allow policies to be put into place that are extra-biblical and continue to exclude the very ones we were called to serve. We've had two hiring freezes in the last 10 years and unlike the business world, regardless of what is mis-mangaged we keep the same leadership in place.

I'm not sure how the chain of command works but it's time that someone steps in and helps to bring about change. We don't need new graphics, a new program or a new "New Directions" we need a total overhaul. I know Dr. Rankin is closing in on retirement....this is his opportunity to forever change the direction of the IMB....new leaders, new strategies, new methods of connecting with churches. Without these drastic types of changes we will surely go down the path of GM and other traditional organizations....irrelevant and eventually obsolete.

Jon L. Estes said...

Without these drastic types of changes we will surely go down the path of GM and other traditional organizations....irrelevant and eventually obsolete.But we will get 32 miles per gallon.

Jeff said...

I must confess that I doubt changes can come without much pain and suffering to the SBC. I think churches will have to endure the most pain in these days of change.

Alan Paul said...

Hopefully churches have learned their lesson. You don't just send the $$$ without demanding ongoing accountability from ANY organization.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
missshunary said...

I am also "just an M". :)

I am not going to say what I disagree with in the above few comments, but I will make some observations.

Just for fun, of course.

I agree 100% that it seems silly and wasteful to fly leadership all over the world for meetings. It just seems so '90's to me.

Let's take advantage of technology before the internet expires. :)

Sure, they won't be able to all go out to eat in the evenings with each other, but we will all enjoy the added benefit of keeping the missionaries coming down the chute.

There may be a very good reason that they must all be physically together in the same room more than once a year (maybe?), but someone will have to tell me, because I can't imagine what it could be.

Some other fun quotes to engage:

"We create change without the input of anyone and if someone asks questions we do our best to blacklist them (you know this personally as do I)."

I couldn't disagree more. I think the leadership of a company of 6000 employees (or whatever it is) did a bang up job of trying to receive input.

They certainly did a more aggressive job of having us feel a part of the process of change than any of us would have received if we worked for Microsoft, GM, Walmart, or Radio Shack.

I personally am proud of leadership that went to extraordinary steps to hold the hands of those same people who would later slap them if they could.

"Change in strategy flow. Enough of the "new vatican" calling the shots and not asking for input."

Okay, I'm thinking that the term "new vatican" is made mockingly. Again, see my comment above.

I will add that some people aren't going to be happy unless they are the one's calling all the shots.

What that person doesn't realize is that even if that were to happen, soon everyone would be calling them the Pope.

In a derogatory way, of course.

"When the IMB launched the newest changes they hosted a blog. Positive feedback was encouraged but feedback that questioned things were either deleted or veiled threats were made to those who posted them."

Again, the blog was a considerate gesture and more than any of us would get from ABC Company of America. I appreciated the effort.

By the way, I have just as much proof that comments were not deleted and veiled threats were not made as anyone else has that it did occur.

That would be none.

To be continued...

missshunary said...

Part 2:

"BTW, the blog was conveniently taken down right before the hiring freeze was put into place."

The blog was indeed taken down before the freeze was announced.

Or, one could say that the blog was stopped because the blog served its purpose and the last few posts had 4 comments.

Total. Give or take 1.

"Churches are still giving...just not to us."

Well, I received my salary last month (ever so small - just kidding :) ).

I also got my parity, fed my family and my belly, educated my kids, bought some public transportation passes, and even passed out a few tracts after a home bible study. I would say that churches are giving to me.

Thank you all, by the way. I couldn't do it without you.

"Our recent press hasn't been positive."

Agreed. Especially on blog comment streams.

"We continue to look irrelevant."

The young man I recently led to Christ doesn't think I'm irrelevant. He thinks I hung the moon.

If you told him I was irrelevant, he would tell you to...

Well, he is still a new believer.

By the way, I am still pointing him to the One who actually did hang the moon.

"We've had two hiring freezes in the last 10 years and unlike the business world, regardless of what is mis-mangaged we keep the same leadership in place."

Call me crazy but I think 2 very temporary freezes in 10 years is not too shabby.

And for the record, I am certain you have already called me crazy.

On a side note, I don't even want to know what you meant by mis "mangaged". :)

"...we need a total overhaul."

Really? A total overhaul of the greatest mission sending organization in the world?

Come now.

By the way, I just sent Steve Jobs an email and told him to restructure Apple. That whole Mac computer thingey just ain't gonna fly.

He said he would start a blog and get everyone's input on it.

"I know Dr. Rankin is closing in on retirement..."

I can't think of a man I admire more than Jerry Rankin. I have met him three times for a grand total of maybe 45 minutes, but that's all it took.

Whenever he retires, it will be well deserved.

For the record, I don't disagree with everything that was said.

Just most of it. :)

Have a great evening everyone.

Bennett Willis said...

I thought the comment about the pain being in the churches was interesting. It might be of interest to the SBC to request the line item budgets from a large number of churches. I know that my church has a considerable number of missions’ budget items. They range from individuals from the church and community who have moved into parachurch (maybe this is the right word) service to individual mission trips. The total amount going to missions is probably above our "historical average" but the distribution has significantly changed. Once upon a time, it was only the cooperative program.

I don't know when I have heard the CP mentioned. (There is an insert in the bulletin each month and occasional videos.) We don't have WMU whose purpose was mostly to educate us about the CP and what an efficient way it was to move money to the mission field. There is no particular loyalty to the CP as compared to other mission activities.

I don't see that this is going to change in our case. I suspect that the fraction of our mission giving that goes to the CP will continue to decline. As the CR progressed, other things fundamentally changed. It was not completely cause and effect. Travel costs dropped dramatically and taking a personal trip to Africa became a reasonable thing to do—and people talked about what a good trip it was. I have several friends who have spend thousands of dollars on personal mission trips (several trips in most cases).

I think that the pain will be felt increasingly in the CP. Church pain will be the usual. It is pain that is felt by the membership—and the membership will “fix it” through better management and/or increased giving. The CP’s pain is mostly felt by the CP and not by the individuals in the SBC churches—and it will only get more severe.

Bennett Willis

Doug Hibbard said...

I think, in an unfortunately too near future, we'll see pain for churches and for the people dependent on CP funding.

Pain for our missionaries as they bear the brunt of shrinking budgets.

And pain for our churches as we lose the missionary identity of the SBC.

I think maybe that's where we've got a serious issue, down in. We don't have an identity as a missions-driven group of people. Our identity is bogged down in all the other things: we're not liberals, we're not Calvinists (or we are Calvinists), we're not this, we're not that.

And as we've formulated all the things we're not, we've become not Great Commission people. Because that is what our actions show.

And it's tragic.

Grady Bauer said...

I may not agree with you on much...but at least you make me laugh :-)

I would like to respond to a few of your quotes....

"By the way, I have just as much proof that comments were not deleted and veiled threats were not made as anyone else has that it did occur. That would be none."

The first 5-6 posts each had a significant number of comments, both positive and negative and yet they all seemed to get deleted....accidently of course. And a few of us that simply asked questions did receive veiled threats....and not so veiled as well.

I said "Churches are still giving...just not to us."
Yeah you and I are both receiving paychecks...but we're barely maintaining our current staffing...now we're cutting back and this year will see a decrease in #'s on the field. I think SBC churches are still giving but they are just as willing to give to relationships....which they don't have with most of us. And btw, I have no ministry budget at all....and I paid for most of my language learning out of my pocket because my budget got cut. My good bud here on the field had no travel budget and paid for all of his work related travel out of his pocket. Compare this to the BOT meeting at Marriot for their meetings and expense paid meals...this is mismanagement.

"They certainly did a more aggressive job of having us feel a part of the process of change than any of us would have received if we worked for Microsoft, GM, Walmart, or Radio Shack."

You could have chosen better companies to compare us to. GM...going under, Radio Shack....not growing, Microsoft....big but not nearly as in tune with the market as Apple, Wal-mart....not too many people's dream job.

There are companies out there like Apple and Starbucks that actually get the input of their staff and allow for disagreement without labeling such disagreement as being in the "flesh".

"The young man I recently led to Christ doesn't think I'm irrelevant. He thinks I hung the moon."
I agree...but the young pastor of a non-traditional SB church doesn't know who you are and because of this his money isn't going to you...it's going to the guy he knows.

BTW, I also respect Dr. Rankin. I hear alot of people blame things on Richmond...usually rightfully so, but they never assign the blame directly to Dr. Rankin.

I do think it's time for a total overhaul....we don't need to wait until it's too late like GM and others have done. We're chosing to keep admins around while cutting front line people. In the secular world we see leaders going without pay to salvage their company....when bad programs and decisions are made people lose their jobs. Where is this? Where is the sacrifice? Where is the accountability? I know this isn't a secular company...what we're doing is much more important and deserves the same sacrifice and accountability.

John Fariss said...


I agree with you. Funding aside, we have became known by what we are against rather than what we are for--against Disney, against homosexuals, against alcohol, even against integration. It is a shame: that is perception, not necessarily reality, but perception IS reality in the eye of average Joe. Maybe that does not apply in the Deep South or even the Southwest, but I know it does in the border states, like Maryland, where I minister. It was interesting a while back, when a new family started attending. The husband was all for joining a Southern Baptist church, but the wife had serious qualms. Did I mention they were black? The husband was African, and his perception of Southern Baptists was from dealing with missionaries in Nigeria when he was younger. The wife was African-American, from South Carolina, and her perception of Southern Baptists was about racism, prejudice, and parking lots at Southern Baptist churches with cars bearing Confederate flags. Fortunantly, they became part of our church family--but it illustrates the perception problem.


missshunary said...

I hear you Grady.

And I truly feel your pain and understand your points.

I was mainly having a little fun.

You know about the stress and the relief that must follow for missionaries.

Blessings on a great weekend!

Eric James Moffett said...

The church I serve at gives 30% of our budget to the CP and has done so for decades. We are a small congregation but are pleased to partner in this way. In addition, our congregation gives an average 13,000 a year in Lottie Moon gifts.
We struggle, though with what is happening in the convention and we are struggling with what we understand as a lack of stewardship in the convention as a whole. There is nothing like the CP but it must be carefully monitored when it comes to how money is spent. Our church would do well for a fully disclosed financial report from all agencies.
Personally, I am against much tinkering with the changing of any formula. If a state convention wants to change that is fine but we are no less Southern Baptist for our CP dollars working in our state childrens home or in our BSUs.

Bob Cleveland said...

I observed this in Greensboro and will say it again: God is the source of supply for the IMB, NAMB, and the CP itself. Not the churches.

We preach that, when we bring the money to the storehouse, we're giving it to God, not to man. And, if the folks in charge of the CP or the IMB or the NAMB do not see God as providing as much funding as they need, I have to ask who's not doing the job they should?

But I'm not the one who needs to be asking it.

I don't think this has to do with formulae.

Bryan Riley said...

I'm trying to determine, how, with the hundreds of millions given, there are any issues at all. Many mission organizations would be overrun with funds at those levels, even the percentages that ultimately end up going to international and local missions.

I'm also trying to determine why a brother in Christ feels compelled to do what a child would do with regard to something he doesn't agree with. When my two sons, seven and ten years old, want to poke fun at each other they might do something like "(snicker)." I consistently point them back to how Christ would act toward them and pray they continue to grow in their love for God, each other, and others. But to write private prayer language (snicker) is childish and unloving, no matter one's personal prayer practices or beliefs. It definitely doesn't comport with anything we are encouraged to be in scripture.

Thy Peace said...

It appears Emmanuel Enid Church website is down. I am guessing it is being maintained. But you can still access the video archive.

Thy Peace said...

It looks like there are DNS failures associated with emmnauelenid.org. Maybe they moved the servers and dns servers have not caught up. Good news is you can still watch the video(s) from the above link.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

A great proverb from the book of Kevin:

"The man from Macedonia always brings a purse."


Jeff said...

Thy Peace, I was trying to watch a video last night and it froze up on me.


I have 2 friends somewhere around the Bosnia area in a refugee camp where they have been for a few years. Before going to the refugee camp they were IMB missionaries for many years serving way out in the bush.

After having budget cuts and spending a lot of their own money to have what they needed, the straw that broke the camel's back came along.

They were so far in the bush country that you drove a while and rode animals a while and walked a very long way just to get to them.

They began to recieve orders from Nashville. (and/or Richmond) The currier would ride in a car, ride a moped, and then run for many miles to get to them.

A very remote area.

Anyway, boys back home were sending marching orders telling them to stop doing what had worked for so long in the villages in the bush and do it this new way the folks back home said was better.


Well, my friends couldn't stand the ungodly things coming from back home which were literally destroying the work so they resigned. Now they are living in a tent in a camp of 100.000 refugees and working for someone who is more interested in reaching the lost than controlling everything.


By the way, a few years back I was sitting at a lunch in Europe and in the group was a man with a tatoo from the consentration camps on his arm. He had been a rep for the European Union in the Peace Committee Report on the defunding of the seminary in Switzerland. (I had read this report a few months earlier.) In the report it was reported someone said "I know a facist when I see one." They were speaking of one of the SBC leaders at the peace committee.

I asked him what HIS take on the Peace Committee was and he said "I said it once and I will say it again, I KNOW A FACIST WHEN I SEE ONE!"

I was astonished! Turns out, he was the same guy!

Yeah, there are some problems but I think God Fearing Men who really want to serve and who love Jesus with all their hearts can fix it but only by folling God and not some agenda.


Christiane said...

I have a pretty good idea that the following is NOT 'off topic'. L's


From Acts 2: 1-11

"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God."

In this time where Christians so often speak to each other without understanding, may we again receive the Holy Spirit, to come and live in our hearts.

May it be that when we speak to one another, our words overflow 'from our heart' so that we gather and share in the praises of the slain Lamb of God once more, as brothers and sisters, in peace.

No one calls Christ the Lord but it is by the leading of the Spirit within his heart.
What 'Spirit' is this?
He, Who by the Fire of Divine Love, can "renew the face of the Earth."

Tapping into the leading of the Holy Spirit, no problems within the Church are so great that they cannot be mended in time. Those among you of humble hearts, pray for His leading and His Light.

Bob Cleveland is right, the Lord is the answer to what is needed to help the missionaries. It's not about the money or the formulae at all.
The problem: men tried to supervise the missionaries from the man-made 'top down',
instead of being guided by the real 'TOP DOWN': they needed to be led by the Spirit of the Lord, not highly-paid 'trustees'.

How does Bob know this, but that he is led by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives wisdom to the humble.
Thanks Be To God.

Love, L's

incomprehensable said...

As an M on the field, I'm just really torn reading this Wade. You keep saying that you're interested in constructive criticism, yet you BEGIN by saying, "Paul Chitwood is wrong." Is that what you call construction? No wonder you were censured. I love that you have your opinion, and do feel like you have valid points, but jeez...there has to be a more diplomatic way to start. I know you're hidden behind your computer as you bring your intellectual wrath on people, but let's be real here. Do you even concede that he's TRYING to find a solution to a potentially devistating problem? And as for point number 2, can you really speak with authority that "Most missionaries" don't know what the changes are? Since you are not on the field, sir, I think you are making assertions that you cannot truly justify. Yes, you may have spoken with a few select people that share your degrading sense of proriety, but the truth of the matter, I applaud the efforts put forth to keep us in the loop during such a change. Every step of the way has been communicated very well, input HAS been sought and USED during the process and from EVERY person within the organization I have the pleasure of working for that I have spoken to about it has NOTHING but good things to say about how it's been handled, and the positive direction in which the IMB is going. In my opinion, you are simply perpetuating your seemingly negative bias towards every step the IMB takes. Wade, please brother...I implore you to continue to express your feelings and state your opinions. It just seems that you have found no reason these days to find positive. Granted, not everyone or everything is perfect. But there has got to be some stuff that IS good and WORTH SHARING? It can't be slamming negativity all the time! I realize that my post has been bordering on combative, and I do not intend to be, but as you can tell, I'm passionate as well. I do thank you for your heart for missions, and your obvious desire to see the work of the IMB done well and effectively. We need people all over the world ensuring effectiveness. I praise God that He has blessed us the way He has so far, and the things that He is doing through those that have been called. And, I am thankful for the thousands and thousands that support the effort and make it possible with their prayers, their work, and their giving. May only what GOD intends to be done be done!

You will forgive me for not inserting my name...as I said before, I am currently on the field and am keeping my security situation in mind.

incomprehensable said...

by the way...the blog being taken down before the freeze and the freeze itself are two independent events. To try to manipulate these two events obviously indicates a slant that to me prooves there is more than just "wanting to keep people informed." It is doing the best to speak noting but negativity. Why didn't I read anything that the IMB was able to appoint 101 people Wade? Is that not worth commenting? Come one!

Wade Burleson said...


One man's trash is another man's treasure.


You may find that this piece, which you call "negative," was seen as extremely "positive" by the staff at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and they have requested, and I have permitted, that it be the guest editorial in this week's Baptist Messenger.

Finally, your last comment is as incomprehensible as your name.

I have no idea what you are trying to say. Sorry.

Jeff said...

Wade, Be sure and cheer for my Arkansas Razorbacks tonight. :)

Mel said...

Dear Wade,

It's been a long time since I've posted anything on your site. I just have to say, My husband and I left the IMB back in May of last year. It wasn't so much due to the changes as the Lord leading us to leave. However, I am so thankful He( the Lord) moved us when He did. Change like you said is not bad but when things are changed without knowing how it will effect the work and ministry on the field then something is wrong. Quite honestly, there is alot of extravagant spending from the Board meetings to on the field travel expenses. ALOT of unnecessary spending to say the least. I can say this because I saw it first hand.

Keep speaking out.. we tried to voice our concerns with the changes and seeing who was being chosen to lead was evidence that they (board members) wanted YES MEN who wouldn't stand up to do the extraordinary.....

Trusting in Him to continue to lead!
Melissa H.
wife of a Chaplain... ( now serving in the US ARMY! )

Lydia said...

"I realize that my post has been bordering on combative, and I do not intend to be, but as you can tell, I'm passionate as well."

You call Wade's post 'slamming' but think yours is 'passionate' only borderline combative. I do not find this 'passionate' all but full blown combative:

" know you're hidden behind your computer as you bring your intellectual wrath on people, but let's be real here"

In any event, Chitwood was president of KBC and could have taken up the mantle of changing the formula in KY. So what happened?

BTW: Paragraphs are our friends. :o)

Christiane said...

I did some reading today, and found this by W.David Phillips.
I don't know if it will help, but I am going to quote this excerpt from his editorial on 'The Decline of the SBC'. It is a pretty shocking article. You might want to read the whole thing:

"But what really is needed in our convention is repentance. It is time for those with blood on their hands from the conservative resurgence to “man up” and confess the ungodliness, slander, and vilification they participated in.

They need to repent and resign their positions. I agree that we must be true to the scriptures, but the labeling of conservative people as liberal was a sin. It is time to be confessed. Our denomination will go as its leadership goes, and until the leadership openly confess their sin as it relates to the conservative resurgence, our denomination will continue to decline.

It is time for the churches in our denomination to shut down programs and fall on their face in prayer, confession, and repentance, and to cry out for the salvation of those we know who are not Christ followers.

It is time to organize around the mission of God, not the mission of the SBC.

It is time for the SBC to begin acting like humble missionaries, not triumphalist culture warriors.

It is time for the SBC to put the Holy Spirit back into His proper place as the third person of the Trinity, and get the Bible out of that spot.

The last and only hope for America is not the SBC. It is the Holy Spirit sweeping through the hearts of people. Can Southern Baptists be part of that? Yes, if we are willing to do it God’s way, not ours."

Mr. Phillips continues with this information:
"If you found this page useful, consider linking to it. Simply copy and paste the code below into your web site. It will look like this:"

The Decline of the SBC

The Decline of the SBC

Christiane said...

Hi, it's me, L's

I am not sure what I did there, but apparently, if you click on the underlined web site in red, that article does come up.

I honestly don't know much about the source, but the excerpt made sense to me. Just my opinion.
Sorry if anyone is offended by this sharing. Love, L's

2 Sense Worth said...

“(1). Lost people live in North America, including the United States. Missions within our borders is as important as missions across our borders.”
Many at the IMB would argue that missions outside the USA is more important. Perhaps it should be noted that more and more of the unreached peoples of the world are residing within the borders of the United States and many have never heard the gospel. As the USA becomes more and more of a mission field and possibly less of a sending nation, perhaps the IMB needs to rethink its entire scope of mission to include reaching unreached peoples in the United States. I understand the issues of overlap with NAMB but discussions between NAMB and the IMB should have higher priority and urgency than currently.

“(2). The International Mission Board already has the largest single offering within the Southern Baptist Convention called "The Lottie Moon Offering." It deserves repeating that no other S. Baptist entity comes close to any revenue stream like the “Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.”

I wonder if the IMB may actually be the most financially well-off entity in the Convention? Does anyone know? It owes a lot of that financial standing to the Women’s Missionary Union. WMU actually owns the Lottie Moon trademark and has always promoted the Lottie Moon offering and helped raise MILLONS and MILLONS of dollars despite the fact that, as you pointed out in an earlier post, the IMB no longer gives any funds to WMU. I wonder how many IMB missionaries, administration, and staff made any contribution to WMU this past year? Or ever?

“(3). At some point the International Mission Board is going to have to address the dysfunction that occurs in terms of strategic planning, communication and implementation of core changes within the International Mission Board.”

Many think that while there may have been some desire to hear from the troops on the ground (e.g. the blog that once was up for missionaries to express their views), they also feel there is little intention to actually implement their recommendations.

I don’t think many missionaries were calling for more and more power to be consolidated in the hands of fewer and fewer people in Richmond or in one of four service centers. I don’t think the desire of most missionaries was to remove major decision-making farther and farther from the field. And yet that is what is happening.

There is indeed a major disconnect between the field and Richmond. I’ve heard of one missions group called World ConneX. If the IMB is not careful, could it become known some day as DisConneX?

As to saving money, a lot of money could be saved if administration, regional leadership, and trustees didn’t meet so often. The very fact that there are so many unnecessary meetings points out that lack of money is NOT the problem. Just as overeating can be a problem and addictive, over MEETING can also become an addiction. Many suggest that the IMB has an over meeting addiction.

Proper stewardship, not money itself, is the issue. Instead of pushing for a reallocation of CP funds, the IMB should manage better the wealth of funds it already has. Instead of pointing out how many more S. Baptists could be sent if the churches simply gave more, I wonder how many more could be sent out if our current trustees, administration, and leadership cut down on their meetings, perks, etc.

2 Sense Worth said...

“(4). Trustees are going to have to take responsibility for ridiculous policies, initiated by them, that disenfranchise local Southern Baptist churches across the nation.”

Your example of policies superceding ministry in East Asia is spot on. This giving of priority to policies over ministry is what drives many missionaries crazy. Policies, rules, and regulations drive many things instead of common sense and ministry. This is a natural outgrowth of the increasing narrowing of parameters.

As to responsibility, are the trustees the only ones who should bear responsibility for ridiculous policies? What responsibility, if any, should the President and Executive Vice Presidents and other administration take? What if administration did not speak up, or failed to speak up boldly enough to ridiculous policies, shouldn’t they bear some responsibility? Or is administration simply like a robot with no will or choice which simply does what it’s told to do?

“ (5). It would seem that the root issue of a lack of funding at the International Mission Board is NOT the formula of the Cooperative Program, but the general decrease in giving to the CP by churches across the SBC.”

Again, some would argue that it’s not only an issue of lack of funding but more a less than desirable use (poor stewardship) of existing funds. As mentioned above, many would say the IMB wastes too much of already available funds flying administration and regional leadership teams, etc all over the world for meetings that may not be as important as they feel.

One regional leadership team (maybe 8-12 persons) flew all the way from East Asia to Turkey so they could tour the sites of Paul’s missionary journeys. This may be an important thing for them to do on their own time and at personal expense, but is this really how we want our gifts to Lottie Moon to be used?

If more money is really the problem, why doesn’t the IMB administration and trustees LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Administration could take a voluntary 5-10% or more decrease in salary and benefits for the next year, reduce the number of all-expense paid trips, hotels, nice meals, perks, etc.

But does anyone really think this is going to happen? Not likely. What will probably happen is that administration and leadership will continue to fly around the world as often as they desire on Lottie dollars while more and more missionaries like one who posted above will have to use more and more personal funds for ministry expenses.

Grady Bauer said...

2 sense....
You are dead on. We'll see if they see it the same way or continue to choose administrative needs over filed needs.

Ron said...

I hope you and the Captain (or is it Major now) are doing well. Thank you both for your service. I hope your time on active duty is as rewarding as mine was. It is also a tremendous ministy opportunity.

Wade Burleson said...

Ron W.

If you get a chance, I would like for you to email me. I would like to run a new post, using a couple of your comments, and I would like to put as much information on your background as possible (active duty, missionary, etc . . .). My problem is I know you are still on the field and I am unsure how much I can put in, and the exact wording, so it would be helpful if you could give to me what I could use as I introduce you in a post I plan to run before the SBC. I know you, but I'm not sure what is appropriate to let others know. :)

Don't hold back! :)


Rob said...

Is giving to missions really down or just different?

There are so many volunteers going all over the world today that I imagine our SBC churches mission involvement may be even greater than ever. Perhaps the money that in the past would have been sent to fund the IMB is now being used to come and see and do for yourself. I currently live and work in some of the most difficult places to get to and to minister in, yet there are always volunteers willing to come and help.

Also, today, the IMB operates in most every country in the world, instead of just open countries, and this emphasis of the last two decades has stretched everyone and our finances.

Our new reorg is going to cost too much, and won't really help that much, but many good people will be working hard to make the best of it. In the chaos there hopefully will be opportunities for new field ideas to be incorporated and proven ideas to be recast.

Changing the funding percentages isn't going to change anything. My hope is that as funding slows, we, the IMB, will be forced to change, including limiting the number of new personnel. Like GM's bankruptcy, this could actually help us to improve our focus and maybe even force our leadership to listen to current field personnel.

Thanks for caring enough to take the time to blog about this.

pablo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Burdened said...

Recently on the field I have noticed the following: First, many of the leadership from RLT/Cluster Leader on up abuse travel and reimbursement privileges. If people in the states would see what is really happening they would ask for a reimbursement of their LMCO. And to top it off, many of the leadership “brag” about how the IMB pays their way home and allows them attach their family vacations to official IMB trips – I wish I could do that. One solution would be to require all leadership personnel to turn in their frequent flier miles to the company when paid for by the IMB. Why not? Second. The IMB is a top down organization that seldom listens to sincere missionaries on the field about strategy proposals. There is very little ownership of strategy. One size does not fit all. Third. There are now more levels of leadership than before. Yes, two more titles stand between me and our new Affinity leader than a year ago. This is absolutely incredible; someone tell me how this has streamlined the IMB.

On a personal note, I want giving to the IMB to increase. We need more missionaries; but I would like to see half of all leadership sent back to team member status. They could lead by example.

flboy said...

Current and former IMBers and Wade,

What you folks have said in your comments and Wade in your post is exactly correct and true. As a soon to be former IMB missionary, I know from first hand experience. Those of you who are current missionaries be prepared to be hunted down and told to get out.

My wife and I asked too many questions and said a few things about the state of things with field leadership and the strategy. We were blackballed and told we were unfit missionaries and we could not return to the field with the IMB. We are currently on a leave of absence to care for my wife's mother. We have to resign by the end of September or be terminated.

The leadership in our region, Pac Rim and our country Japan would not then and will not now stand for any questions, constructive criticism or comments deemed to be questioning the decisions made by leadership.

The former SA admitted he was a very stubborn man. The first time was at an AGM meeting when our then RL closed the doors to the meeting and let missionaries say anything they wanted. For several hours missionaries poured out their hearts telling of the frustration and hurt they had experienced from field leadership in general and this man in particular. At the end of the meeting the RL confirmed the former SA and said he was proud of the job he was doing. That really hurt!!

The second time was in a small meeting in our area. He and he wife cried tears and said they did not know why people were “telling such lies about them.” I said nothing, but wanted to say how does the “shoe” feel when you have to wear it.

We were told we had poor interpersonal skills, yet at our church start in our home and then moving to a community center we were averaging 220 people a week walking through our front door or the door of the community center for worship services and for week day outreach classes of all kinds. Maybe if we had good interpersonal skills we could have had 300 or 400 come each week.

People we did not know came to our door every week and asked if they could come to a worship service at our house. They admitted they knew nothing of the Bible and church or God, but they had heard they were welcome at our house church. We had never met them, but had heard about us and the church. We had people who were not Christians yet inviting their non-Christian friends to come to the worship service and to the week day classes.

All of this happened to missionaries who were sent as music missionaries in 1986. We had no “preaching” experience and no church planting experience, but God used us and blessed our feeble efforts. There are neighbors we will see in heaven because of our trusting God to do a great work in us and in our neighborhood.

We were given a very bad evaluation solely on the basic that we did not drop everything and do exactly what F/L told us to do, without question, period. Others were told we would deny everything meaning we are liars.

We have NEVER been given a chance to sit down with F/L and see the “documentation“ they say they have, to ask questions, or ask for clarification. We have been labeled with personality disorders. We do not have any disorders, so says our counselor. She has labeled some of the field leadership as abusive and sent a letter to member care in Richmond stating that finding. We were told NEVER to use that word again, ever, never, period.

I could go on for pages and pages, but I will not take anymore time and space on this blog.

I hope what has happened to us will never happen to those who are still with the IMB. Be careful! Someone is watching and listening. They were for us.


Tom Parker said...


So very sorry to hear about what has been done to you and your wife.

I often wonder how many more situations like you and your wife's
are out there, but like you and your wife there is no recourse for them. There is no place for them to tell their story.

flboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
flboy said...

Tom Parker,

If we have been the only ones all this happened to, I would say we were the problem. However, since Jan 2006 there have been at least 8 families/units who have been forced out from our country alone by field leadership, mainly by the SA I mentioned in my first comment. These were families who even said in their resignation letter that they could not work under the FL’s and the current strategy that was not working in our country. They said there was just no place for them to use their gifts and talents to share the Gospel. They had to do the mission work just like they were told to do or there was no place for them. Several of the units had 25+ years with the IMB. The youngest in years of service was a family who were finishing their first term. It is the IMB’s loss. There were the best of the best in our country.