In 2023, N.C. Baptists saw churches give more than $29 million to support missions through the Cooperative Program in addition to record-setting totals given to special offerings like Annie Armstrong, Lottie Moon and the North Carolina Missions Offering.

N.C. Baptist churches gave more than $29 million to missions through the Cooperative Program (CP) and also contributed record-setting gifts to special missions offerings in 2023, according to financial data released Wednesday (Jan. 10) by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

State convention officials reported nearly $29.3 million in CP receipts in 2023 – the highest total since 2017 – and more than $15 million in gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions and more than $7 million in gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions, both of which were record highs.

In addition, gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) totaled more than $2.3 million, which was also the highest total in convention history. The NCMO supports disaster response efforts, church planting and local missions across the state. For 2023, NCMO giving was up by about $6,500 from 2022.

Cooperative Program giving by N.C. Baptists totaled $29,288,078.46 in 2023, which was just short of last year’s $29.5 million budget by about $212,000 or 0.72%. Despite finishing the year just under budget, the state convention finished 2023 in the black, and year-over-year CP giving was up by more than $1.1 million or 4% from 2022.

The increased giving by N.C. Baptist churches comes at a time when nonprofit organizations have reported declines in charitable giving in recent years.

In an email to pastors and ministry leaders, N.C. Baptist Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker thanked N.C. Baptists for their generosity.

“When charitable giving has been decreasing, N.C. Baptist missions giving has been increasing,” Unzicker wrote. ”N.C. Baptists gave over $1 million more to the Cooperative Program in 2023 than the previous year. That is incredible!

“Thank you for your generosity! To God be the glory!”

State convention officials said North Carolina had the largest dollar increase in CP giving of all state conventions in 2023.

N.C. Baptists have contributed at least $28 million in CP gifts in each of the three years that Unzicker has served as executive director. N.C. Baptists contributed $28.5 million in 2021 and $28.15 million in 2022 before eclipsing $29 million in 2023.

That marks the first time that N.C. Baptists have contributed $28 million or more in CP gifts in a three-year stretch since 2015, 2016 and 2017. CP giving in 2023 was also the highest since N.C. Baptists gave $29.9 million in 2017.

Since being elected executive director in 2021, Unzicker has rallied and mobilized N.C. Baptist churches around being “a movement of churches on mission together.”

Amy Pardue Boone, executive director-treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC), expressed excitement over N.C. Baptists’ record giving to both the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings.

Gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering by N.C. Baptists totaled $7,369,305.25 in 2023, which was up by more than $633,000 or 9.4% from 2022.

Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering by N.C. Baptists totaled $15,739,526.87 in 2023, which was up by nearly $1.3 million or 8.9% from 2022.

The record giving totals also marked the first time that N.C. Baptists have surpassed $7 million in Annie Armstrong giving and $15 million in Lottie Moon giving. 

N.C. Baptists led all state conventions in giving to the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings in 2023. N.C. Baptists have led in Lottie Moon giving for the past 19 years and have led in Annie Armstrong giving in all but two years during the same time period.

“The women of WMU rejoice with all N.C. Baptists for giving to the Lottie Moon offering for international missions and to the Annie Armstrong offering for national missions,” Boone said in a statement to the Biblical Recorder. “Thank you for your passion to reach the lost. You gave record totals that have never been reached before. To God be the glory for your sacrificial giving.”

WMU-NC encourages and equips believers to be involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, which includes, but is not limited to, promoting and providing resources to churches for the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings.

During last year’s N.C. Baptist annual meeting, messengers overwhelmingly approved a $31 million Cooperative Program budget for 2024 that reflects a 50/50 allocation of CP funds between state convention ministries and global ministry partners. 

Messengers also approved a $2.6 million goal for the North Carolina Missions Offering.

The 2024 N.C. Baptist budget is available online at ncbaptist.org/budget. Churches and individuals also have the ability to give through the digital online form at ncbaptist.org/give.

EDITOR’S NOTE – This article originally appeared on brnow.org.