USA Today gives this decidedly unflattering report:
Americans spent nearly twice as much on first-day sales of the video game Grand Theft Auto IV as would be needed by the Southern Baptist Convention to share the gospel with all the world’s “unreached people groups” by 2010, according to a new report on church giving.
This data comes from the annual report of Empty Tomb Inc. — an Illinois-based ministry dedicated to helping the poor and assisting “historically Christian congregations increase missions spending as a portion of total spending.”
The USA Today article goes on to note that while an estimated 2800 additional missionaries are needed to engage the remaining unreached people groups, and while it would cost about $11 per Southern Baptist to fund those extra missionaries, the denomination’s “2008 goal of $170 million to support existing missionaries is the equivalent of asking each Southern Baptist to donate just 31 cents more than last year.”
I am not sure why the article focuses so much attention on the SBC (whom the journalist praises as a “denomination that takes this religious task seriously”), since the data is really a stinging indictment on all Christians. The closing thoughts:
“The total portion of per capita income given to churches in 2006 was lower (in 2006) than in the worst year of the Great Depression,” the authors found.
The report estimates that for only $26 a year per evangelical, U.S. evangelicals as a whole could fund $544 million in efforts through evangelical-affiliated denominations and other missions agencies.
The report estimated that it would cost each U.S. church member just 8 cents a day to help reach the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal of cutting infant mortality by two-thirds by 2015.
(HT: Daniel L. Patterson)