The essence of the Cooperative Program is to fulfill the Great Commission. Jesus’ command to witness in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth was not optional, but mandatory. The Cooperative Program compels us to be a witness at home and around the world at the same time.
The Cooperative Program encourages Baptists to participate in the full range of God’s kingdom work in our world. Sometimes people only want to support a particular ministry or a special endeavor, but CP is all-encompassing. Our vision is enlarged to include everything from evangelistic penetration in the Third World to strengthening Christian colleges at home.
The Cooperative Program is safe. Accountability has been, is, and will continue to be an encouragement to generous giving. Mississippi Baptists know where our money goes and what it does.
“For nearly a century, Southern Baptists have contributed to the Cooperative Program. As a graduate of a Southern Baptist Seminary, I am grateful for the funds provided by fellow Southern Baptists that gave me the opportunity to further my education. Now as a pastor, I am striving to lead my church to be mission minded in every way possible. The mission field begins at home. It begins with our local budgets. Through Prayer and a Kingdom vision we should allocate as much as possible for the Cooperative program. I firmly believe that when you set forth a vision to sacrificially support missions around the world, the Lord is pleased and His blessings will follow. The first step to leading your church to be on mission is to sacrificially give to the Cooperative Program.”
“Through the Cooperative Program (CP) we partner together for the purpose of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ among the nations. Since the inception of the CP in 1925, it has been a source of unity and encouragement for Southern Baptists in sharing the Gospel. Fairview Baptist Church is blessed to be a part of the CP which allows us the ability to partner with some 40,000 other local church bodies to engage the task of the Great Commission and fulfill Acts 1:8. Our participation allows us to help equip the next generation of pastors with a theological education, provide resources for missionaries across the globe, plant new churches, and partner to help revitalize existing churches among many other things. Through the Cooperative Program, we can have a part of sharing the Gospel everywhere there is a Southern Baptist church, missionary, or team.”
“First Baptist Church is blessed to be a part of giving toward the Cooperative Program. We believe that more ministry can be done when we work together as churches than can be done alone. It is a blessing to know that the tithes and offerings that come in through our church does not just impact our community but literally is sent all over the world through the Cooperative Program. When an IMB missionary goes into a village in Africa to share Christ with a family, we can rejoice that we were a small part of that. When a tornado or hurricane strikes a community and Disaster Relief efforts begin, we can rejoice that we were a small part of that. When a church is planted by a graduate of one of our SBC seminaries, we can rejoice that we were a small part of that. Giving toward the Cooperative Program allows us to be a part of the ministry that takes place around the world and we rejoice in that. We are praying and working toward making disciples around the world and we look forward to the continued partnership through the Cooperative Program to help in these Kingdom efforts.”
“He’s a shy kid. Every children’s ministry has one like him. He’s at least one face in every junior high and high school ministry. He’s that kid that really likes the idea of being involved and genuinely wants to participate until its time to get out of the car and go inside. That’s when the great idea of being around a bunch of kids collides with the world of shy, his world. Then he balks. He struggles.
But something has radically changed in young Luke. He made it through high school and in May 2017, he will have completed two years of community college. There’s more. He began attending the Baptist Student Union where he became actively involved. He was asked to serve on their leadership council. And then volunteered to participate in, of all things, the drama team. His role on the drama team is not a behind the scenes helper. No, he is out front boldly living out a changed life.
Because of your gifts to the Cooperative Program, a life has changed. When your Church participates in the Cooperative Program, a portion of the dollar you put in the plate supports the significant ministry of Baptist Student Unions on college campuses all across the State. It is personal. Because you give lives are changed.” — written by Luke Clark
Luke Clark is a member of Clarke Venable Baptist Church in Decatur, MS.
Mark Vincent is the Senior Pastor.
Luke attends East Central Community College.
Scott Vaughn is the BSU director.
“Jesus prayed in John 17:22-23, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Jesus prayer is answered when the church comes together in unity with a passion for reaching the lost with the gospel. The cooperative program is a valuable tool to make that worthy mission a reality. With over 5 billion people in our world that do not have a relationship with Christ and 80% of our churches in North America plateaued or declining, the necessity of coming together is vital. The task before us is great but together, we claim Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
In 1845 Southern Baptists decided to put all of the mission efforts under one convention organization. Each agency elects trustee boards to oversee their operations, but everyone also operates under the umbrella of the Southern Baptist Convention. The work of these trustees ties each area to the larger convention.