Scroggins Asks Some Important Questions about the CP


Jimmy-ScrogginsBaptist21 wants to make you aware of an important piece written recently by Jimmy Scroggins (Pastor of FBC West Palm Beach, Fl). In this piece Scroggins asks some very pointed questions about the Cooperative Program (CP) and its future. It should be stated up front that Scroggins is a Southern Baptist both in terms of raising and conviction. He has been trained in an SBC seminary, served as Dean of an SBC Bible college, has served in pastoral roles in SBC churches, and served in denominational positions. He has contributed to and benefited from the CP. He states his love for the SBC and excitement over many great things happening. So, why does he question the CP?


Scroggins main concern is, as a pastor, he must wisely steward the money that his people sacrificially give by deciding the most strategic way to use those resources for the advancement of the Great Commission. Every dollar his church spends in one place it cannot spend in another. It is in this context that he raises concerns about the CP.

He argues that the CP makes churches cooperate in too many things and that very little of what is given to “missions” through the CP actually ends up in the hands of missionaries. This has lead to a decline in CP giving by SBC churches in favor of other missions opportunities that are seen as more strategic.

Scroggins is not calling for the death of the CP or for societal giving, but he is calling for the CP to adapt with the changing times. The logic of the CP was easily recognized in a day of less communication, but now you can learn about mission opportunities and give directly to them with a click of a button. Scroggins urges the CP to change with the times and to compete for missions money by proving it is more strategic than other opportunities. He believes if this happens churches will give more and the CP will thrive and so do we!

Scroggins raises some important questions and issues:

  • Is it wise for a pastor/church to continue to support something year after year without asking questions about its effectiveness? Shouldn’t a pastor/church give to the missions strategy it finds most compelling and strategic?
  • Is the CP too broad and in need of reform? For example, should churches continue to invest money in a system that supports colleges that still don’t teach the Bible is inerrant? Or, should they invest in a “missions” system that doesn’t get the majority of its resources into the hands of missionaries?
  • The most important question that needs to be seriously studied by those who love the SBC and the CP is, “Why are churches giving less to the CP?” This is a massive discussion with varied answers and interpretations.

In regard to the last question, many pastors/churches are specifically stating that they are giving less because they believe too much money is being kept locally in the states and not getting around the globe to massive Unreached People Groups. So, they think the solution is a strategy change, re-allocate the funds. Others are saying that it is a heart problem. People just aren’t giving like they used to. Give more, they say, and more will get to unreached fields. But, the question needs to be asked, “Why should someone give more to a system that they don’t feel is strategic?”

Baptist21 wants to state that it loves the CP. We believe it is an amazing idea and a gracious gift from God. We want to see it not only survive, we want to see it excel in the future not for its sake but for the sake of millions in darkness. But we do think some very important questions will need to be answered soon. We encourage you to read Scroggins’ article because we believe it is a plea from someone who loves the CP and the SBC. Will we adapt with the changing times?

Comments 0

  1. Jon,

    Good questions. I sometimes feel we’re like the committee trying to describe an elephant without going outside to look at it. The folks you talk to think CP is in decline because of how it is allocated. Other folks think it is in decline because too much SBC stuff is being pushed down local throats. People who don’t lead by example are asking sacrifice from others. Too many people are sitting on the sidelines — and their wallets — waiting to see how it all washes out. We are too seldom reminded that one reason for CP decline is that the churches that most strongly loved and supported the SBC have withdrawn in favor of other affiliations.

    It is likely that the more SBC leaders disparage state conventions — which are closer to the hearts of churches than is the SBC — the more they encourage churches simply to put in a playground or pave the parking lot instead of giving through CP. Before the “conservative resurgence” CP was growing strongly every year. Then men who knew not the CP were elected to leadership and set the example that it is not important. Aren’t we good followers….

  2. Post


    I appreciate you reading and responding to the post, but I’m not sure I agree with or understand your analysis. Maybe I could ask you several questions:

    1. Explain to me how “SBC stuff being pushed down local throats” contributes to the decline of CP. I don’t understand that.

    2. It depends on what you mean by “lead by example.” If lead by examples means giving large amounts of money to mission directly then several are leading by example.

    3. When you say that 1 reason for CP decline is that churches who strongly supported have withdrawn for other affiliations what are you referring to? Are you referring to churches leaving for theological reasons (the CBF)? Or churches that are still SBC but choosing to give thru other organizations? If it is the former are you saying the Conservative Resurgence has destroyed the CP? If it is the latter then the key question from above stands, why are churches choosing to give elsewhere?

    4. What SBC leaders have encouraged churches to put in a playground or pave a parking lot other than give to missions?? It seems to me SBC leaders, like Bryant Wright, are encouraging MORE missions giving by local churches and state conventions…

    5. Are you opposed to the Conservative Resurgence?

    6. So is your answer to Scroggins questions that the example of “high profile” pastors in the SBC is the reason for CP decline?


  3. Jon,

    Great article. I think the CP does need to adapt to the times, but how much change will be needed before everybody is happy?

    I don’t think the decline in CP is a result of the Conservative Resurgence, to me that puts the blame on something other than what is the rightful reason and that is people choosing to go elsewhere with their missional giving other than the CP.

    Only question I have about all this CP talk is what happens to the state conventions? I know that the CP benefits state conventions a lot and if the CP is completely torn apart and rebuilt where does that leave the smaller state conventions like Wyoming, Montana, etc?

    Again, great article and thanks for posting it.


  4. I think this is one of the most important methodological questions we face. It could lead to an impasse if both sides don’t act in good faith, in my opinion.

    Perspective #1: Some people don’t give enough currently so we’re not going to change to satisfy their desires.
    Perspective #2: Until it changes, we’re not giving more – it’s not strategic or effective enough right now.

    One of these has to give if there is going to be any progress. It could be that one perspective wins out just because of sheer numbers, but that doesn’t seem to me like the best option.

    I think both “sides” should act in good faith. Those with strategic concerns should begin to increase giving, and those traditional CP supporters work hard to see strategic changes happen soon and quickly. This way neither side wins or loses and we both work together.

    BTW, I personally tend toward view #2 like Scroggins and many other young pastors. But I recognize that I can hopefully speak with a more effective voice if I am working up front to increase our CP commitment.

  5. My concern is that the talk of taking our (individual churches) money and going to play somewhere else doesn’t help the situation out. Scroggins speaks of stewardship but also implies (though it is not cited) that other agencies and organizations have better plans to carry out mission efforts. The implication seems as if these are not SBC entities. That seems somewhat like he is holding the CP hostage; change or I’m out. It would seem to me that it could be both/and and not either/or. I am not pleased as a pastor with my local association or with my state convention, but I will not withdraw money, I will simply redirect it. Not in the way Scroggins implies, but by giving money straight to the CP organizations that I believe in at the moment (IMB, NAMB, Seminaries, etc). I don’t have to write the check to the local assocation or state convention and let them determine how to disperse it. Notice also that I have not given less to the CP, simply redirected it.

    I can also have conversations with the local association and state convention urging them to come up to speed, as Scroggins implies, but I have not diminished my church’s giving to the CP. If we as Southern Baptists believe we must cooperate, then we should not diminish our giving, but we certainly can pinpoint where the funds go. I am totally against pulling funds from CP giving until I get my way, but I am for not spending money on budget items that haven’t been evaluated in the last 20 years.

    Unfortunately, it seems that young pastors and church plants seem to buy into the withholding funds period until things change. That is not effective cooperation to me.

  6. Nate,

    Thank you for your helpful comments. I think Scroggins would agree with almost everything you’ve said here. He’s not trying to hold the CP hostage. He loves and has benefited from it and believes in it, but thinks it needs to adjust.

    He has been a part of churches that have redirected (not w/drawn). He is involved in the state convention process and was on the GCRTF for Florida. He is trying to play w/n the system to bring a helpful influence.

    Hope that helps and again thanks for your insights,


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