Friday, August 17, 2007

Latest ABC Mission Trends

[Source: Graph Prepared by Mission Resource Dept. of ABCUSA]

I just received the latest numbers from the ABC regarding mission giving trends. The 2004 number of $16.67 million for United Missions Basics is projected to decline to $12.7 million by the end of this year (based on projections by Valley Forge). The total American Baptist Mission Support shows a corresponding decline from $42.89 million in 2004 to a projected $37.19 million in this year, according to figures supplied by the Mission Resource Development office of the ABCUSA in an e-mail dated August 17.
The General Executive Council (GEC) member who forwarded the numbers to me commented: "UM continues to fall. No surprise there. Region Offering and Specifics continues to climb. Again no surprise. So far no one is talking about the reasons behind the disparity. Again, no surprise."


briantara7 said...

Dennis...if you're so glad that PSW is now TM and no longer part of ABC-USA, than why don't you let bygones be bygones? You're continual critique of ABC-USA is not encouraging nor is it done in the spirit of love that is to reflect our Christian way of being.

Dennis E. McFadden said...


I am sorry that my blog impacts you so negatively. A few points ...

1. Since the separation of TM, most of my blogs (more than two thirds of the ones posted during the past 2.5 months, for instance) have been about theological and cultural factors unrelated to the ABC.

There are really no "bygones" to let "be bygones." And, moving from doing an ABC-related blog almost daily just a year ago to only six in the better part of the last three months does express my declining interest in commenting on the subject.

2. After more than 50 years in the ABC (and currently serving as president of a large ABC affiliated organization), I retain a natural interest in the subject and do talk about it from time to time.

Some of the ex-pat SBC folks who now hail from the ABC, still write almost daily expressing their disagreements with things the SBC does. A couple of the guys writing on one of the Baptist forums have been out of the SBC for nearly two decades and still engage in "continual critique" of the SBC weekly, if not almost daily. By that standard, I'm probably much further along in my recovery from being ABC than they are. (that line is purely for humor)

3. My current blog about which you objected contained almost NO analysis by me and not ONE word of my own commentary on the situation. A member of one of the ABCUSA ruling circles (GEC) forwarded to me the current e-mail from VF about mission support unsolicited with the suggestion that I might want to use it. The ONLY opinion exprressed in the brief blog was the quote from this person with NONE of my own comments added.

4. Brian, I am truly sorry that you find my blog an unnecessarily "continual critique" of the ABC, unencouraging, and done in an unloving spirit that does not "reflect our Christian way of being." Please accept my sincere apology for offending you. My disagreements with the bureaucracy of VF was never intended to offend people in the churches. If, after prayerful reflection, you still find my stuff too unedifying, I might suggest that you drop my blog from your reading list. Why subject yourself to the aggravation? Unless you read my blog for the same reason I comment on ABC things. Hmmm. Now there is a thought!

Dennis E. McFadden said...

BTW - during my years as an ABC pastor, it always bothered me that we did not have a source of news. The sanitized versions by ABNS never said enough nor did they keep up with important items (IMHO). My blogging began as an attempt to bring out information people had a right to know but would not otherwise surface in a public way.

Jerry Graham said...


I want to honestly say thank you. It has been my experience that info was hard to get where I'm at in a midwest farm field. I came across your blog (and because of that, a few others) and found someone willing to discuss and relate information openly and honestly. Not to mention your willingness to share your opinions and observations. I don't always agree 100% but that's what I appreciate about it. Even if you are not attached to the ABC that, in my humble and often foolish, opinion is not a reason to suddenly stop discussing issues of the day even if they do pertain to the ABC/USA. So again I say thanks!

Dr. Danny Chisholm said...

I've recently become the pastor of an ABC affiliated church and have been curious about the giving levels of the denomination. I attended the WAshington meeting and attended a breakout of the new organization, but am unfamiliar with the terminology.

I wondered if the decline in giving could be somehow related to the theological turmoil related to homosexuality. OUr church remains strong in giving but it would interest me what is going on in other congregations.

Thanks for the information, it does help. I'm reminded on the motto "an informed Baptist is a better Baptist."

Amill-Presup said...

My church still gives to United Mission like mad. We are the minority in our region. Many have cut way back with national giving and designate just to the region. Most of our people are doing that out of a desire for answers, rather than a specific desire to cut all ties.

BTW, anyone who goes on a blog and tells the blogger, "I don't like what you blog about..." PUT A HELMET ON! (in the immortal words of Brad Stine).

Here's a crazy idea: if you don't like this blog, don't read it.

Problem solved.

Dennis E. McFadden said...
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Dennis E. McFadden said...
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Dennis E. McFadden said...

For a guy who can't find a thousand years sitting right there in front of him in Rev. 20, you have a gift for succinctness (viz. "don't read it. Problem solved."). Coupled with my spiritual gift of sarcasm, we could go far.

I hope that I did not pour it on so heavy that Brian required a helmet. A couple of hip high wading boots should have been more than sufficient. :)

Amill-Presup said...

Oooooh, it appears that Dr. McFadden has not been exposed to the wonderful conservative rantings of one Brad Stine, Christian comedian.

Uh oh. That also means you probably aren't into Promise Keepers (at least not in the last few years) which makes me wonder if that's a mark for my being more conservative or more liberal than you. Depends who you ask. :)

Dennis E. McFadden said...

When I was a pastor, we did PK religiously. Since leaving the pastorate, since PK has become far less high profile, and since CA has not had a whole lot of PK activity, I have been a bit more out of the loop.

I interpreted the helmet comment to mean that telling a blogger you don't like what he writes is like getting into a fight with a newspaper. The old maxim, "never get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel" was how I took your comment. What does Stein actually mean by it?

Oh, and on the conservative scale ... you are probably to my right on many issues and to my left on at least one (i.e., ABC). That's OK, I never pick my friends based on how much cognitive dissonance they bring me. :)

roy said...

The numbers are troubling... for the institution... but not surprising. I would bet they aren't terribly different in any denomination. I think there are cultural changes going on related to the way that people give. That is reflected in the increases in Region and Specifics offerings. At the same time a generation of folk who deeply trusted the institution and were committed to it are dying off. They were the ones who gave so faithfully to UM. Bottom line, dr danny, I think it has little or nothing to do with the turmoil over homosexuality.

and Dennis, I'm glad you don't pick your friends based on the amount of cognitive disonance they bring or don't ;-)

Dennis E. McFadden said...


I agree with most of what you say. I'm sure that most, if not all, mainline denominations are in decline (some evangelical groups and some non-evangelical groups are still growing). But, I'm not sure that the culture war and dissatisfaction going on in most of the mainline denominations is not at least a partial explanation for the declines.

Even though the regional and specifics are growing, you must still deal with the total numbers moving from $42.89 million in 2004 to a projected $37.19 million in this year.

"Troubling" would put it mildly.

Roy, as to the friendship quip, yes it is a good thing. Most of my friends are to the right or the left of me, some significantly so.

Dennis E. McFadden said...


According to the 2007 Yearbook published by the National Council of Churches, among the top 25 denominations in America, all of the mainline denominations (including the ABC) lost between 1.36% and 3.28% in the last reporting year. The ABC came in at -1.97%.

Several evangelical groups and both the LDS (+1.63%) and JWs (+1.56%) registered growth.