According to a very reliable source, missions giving revenues for the ABCUSA are down dramatically in the first quarter of 2006--not just down as compared to the diaster plagued year of 2005 (South Asia Tsunami, Katrina), but down against projections.
Giving is off $2.7 million for the first quarter. Extrapolated out for the entire year, we're looking at a shortfall of $10.8 million. This is compared to VF 2006 projections of $39.6 million, or a drop off of about a quarter of expected revenues.
Strikingly, giving is down in nearly every region, not just in the more conservative regions. Only three regions (Puerto Rico, Evergreen and DC) showed very modest gains. The reality is that left, right and middle regions are voting their unhappiness with Valley Forge with their dollars.
Hugh dollar drop-offs were most evident in four conservative regions: the now departing PSW, with $379,000 less than last year; $242,000 less from ABC of the West (AKA Growing Healthy Churches); $205,000 less from Ohio and $171,000 less from West Virginia.
What are the factors behind this diasterous shortfall?
1. Obviously, some conservative churches and regions are protesting the lack of Biblical integrityon the part of the VF leadership.
2. As well, some more liberal churches and regions are unhappy with the way the current crisis is being handled and even with what some see as "coddling" the conservatives (e.g., in the way the Ind/Ky initiative was handled).
3. There is also a general lack of confidence in the basic competence of leadership in VF. No one wants to invest in what appears to be a sinking ship.
4. Finally, this is a continuation of a long-term trend away from sending money to a central agency and trusting them to carry out mission to a more local church-based missions sending mindset.
The solution, as DD has said again and again, is not to be found in the Common Table proposal, but in a far more sweeping reformation that takes into account the times we are in, viz,
- Abolish the Office of General Secretary
- Abolish the General Board
- Decentralize the Missions Societies