Nashville (WVLT) - The Southern Baptist Convention reports an increase in church giving to national and international mission programs in the last fiscal year.
Giving to the Cooperative Program rose by more than $5 million between Oct. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2007, to almost $206 million.
Donations to the program have become a central issue in the Protestant group based in Nashville.
Many smaller Southern Baptist churches see the Cooperative Program as a crucial collective effort for the denomination and the best way for them to carry out missionary and evangelistic work.
Pressure has been building on larger Southern Baptist congregations -- and all churches -- to give more.
The money comes from individual donors, churches, state conventions and fellowships.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)