I'm going to gripe for a bit; however, before I do, I want to set the stage so you know a bit about me if this is your first visit.
First, I'm a Christian. Second, I'm a conservative. I happen to believe the Bible is true from start to finish. This is the primary reason I also happen to be a Baptist. I like cooperating together with others to accomplish the Great Commission: together we can do more than we could seperatly. This is the reason I'm a Souther Baptist.
Southern Baptists have developed something called the Cooperative Program. For more information, you can read a short paper I wrote at Marshall. You can also visit the Cooperative Program website. In a nutshell, Southern Baptists give to their church. Each church decides what percent of their undesignated gifts get sent to the state convention. Each church then sends messengers to the state convention. There, the messengers decide what percent of the money sent by each chuch will be used within the state and what percent will be sent on to the Southern Baptist Convention. Then, each church elects messengers to the Anual Southern Baptist Convention. At the convention, the messengers decide how the money sent to the convention by the states will be spent. I won't go into all the details about how this is different from the traditional denomination structure; however, I will talk a bit about what this allows Southern Baptists to do.
Because all agencies of the convention–the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, etc…–are already fully funded, Southern Baptists are in a great position to respond in a crisis. When the tsunami hit last year, 100% of the money sent to the International Mission Board for relief were able to be sent overseas for tsunami relief. Every year, Southern Baptists give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Because the agency is fully funded through the Cooperative Program, none of this money is used to administrative support. NAMB–the North American Mission Board–functions the same way. The administrative tasks are carried out using Cooperative Program gifts. Special money given to the agency can be 100% utilized for the designated task. This is awesome!
Here is a graph showing how much different organizations spend on overhead.
Since these organizations use this percentage of ALL donations, the Cooperative Program makes giving to disaster relief through NAMB or the IMB look very good.
Something else to remember…NAMB is the 3rd largest disaster relief agency in the US. According to this article, the Red Cross would be unable to serve hot meals without Southern Baptist Help. Here are some more articles talking about how NAMB–through various state disaster relief agencies–is helping: http://www.namb.net/site/c.9qKILUOzEpH/b.227361/k.D1FD/News/apps/nl/newsletter2.asp.
So, why aren't NAMB and Southern Baptists receiving media attention? Not that we really need it (or want it) but some recognition would be nice. We don't support these agencies and volunteer to get attention. We do it because we really care about people and want to help meet their spiritual and physical needs. Before you say that the lack of attention is due to the "faith based" relief, I'd like to point out that the Methodists, Catholics, Muslims, and others have received attention.
Oh well, in the end, it doesn't matter. We do what we do because we love people and care about them. God allowed the SBC to cooperate together so in times like this, we can help. He allowed us to get big so we can be there to meet people's spiritual need (along with physical and emotional needs) at times like this.