What Is The Cooperative Program?
The Cooperative Program—How it came about:
Since its inception in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has always had one mission—the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). To fulfill its assigned part of this divine mandate, each SBC entity made special offering appeals to the churches. This method was referred to as the “societal” approach to missions and resulted in severe financial deficits, competition among entities, overlapping pledge campaigns, and frequent emergency appeals.
In 1919, the leaders of the SBC proposed the 75 Million Campaign, a five-year pledge campaign that, for the first time, included everything—the missions and ministries of all the state conventions as well as that of the Southern Baptist Convention. Though falling short of its goals, a God-given partnership of missions support was conceived—The Cooperative Program.
Cooperative Program (CP) Missions—How it works:
Simply put, it begins with you. You give yourself first to God (2 Cor. 5:8). Next, you commit to give back to Him, through your church, a portion (the tithe) of what He provides.
Your church decides the next step. Your church prayerfully decides how much of its undesignated gifts will be committed to reaching people through Cooperative Program (CP) Missions. This amount is then forwarded to your state Baptist convention.
During the annual meeting of your state convention, messengers from your church and other churches across the state decide what percentage of CP Missions gifts stays in your state to support local missions and ministries. The percentage to be forwarded to the SBC for North American and international missions and ministries is also determined at this time.
At the SBC Annual Meeting, messengers from across the country decide how the gifts received from the states will be distributed.
The bottom line – people around the world hear the gospel and receive Christ.
Cooperative Program (CP) Missions—What it does:
Churches in your state work together through your state convention to support a wide array of ministries and missions including: evangelism efforts, children’s homes, volunteer missions, missions education, new churches, colleges and universities, collegiate ministries, camps, and much more. Through the International Mission Board (http://www.imb.org), Southern Baptists support approximately 5,036 missionaries who are engaging more than 1,193 different people groups around the world.
New churches numbering over 1,725 are planted through the efforts of more than 5,364 North American Missionaries, whose efforts are coordinated through your North American Mission Board (http://www.namb.net) and individual state conventions.
Working together, Southern Baptists saw 831,725 new believers baptized in 2005!
Six Southern Baptist seminaries (Southern, Southeastern, Midwestern, Southwestern, Golden Gate, and New Orleans) educate in excess of 16,000 pastors, missionaries, and future church leaders each year.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is dedicated to addressing social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith. They also provide print resources that offer scriptural responses to the moral and ethical problems of our culture.
Your prayers and support also undergird the work of GuideStone Financial Resources, the Historical Library and Archives, and the Southern Baptist Foundation.
Although they receive no CP Missions support, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) actively promote CP Missions in publications and missions resources.
Cooperative Program (CP) Missions—Its Potential:
If “two are better than one” (Eccl. 4:9), how much better are 16.3 million? This is the current membership in more than 43,700 Southern Baptist churches across the United States. With a global population exceeding six billion and a command to take the gospel to every nation, we must enhance our cooperative efforts if we are going to fulfill Christ’s command.
To help CP Missions reach its potential, would you please:
- Pray. Pray regularly for your Southern Baptist missionaries in your state and around the globe. “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers.” Matthew 9:38 (HCSB)
- Go. Be involved in some sort of missions endeavor. Talk with your pastor about the available opportunities. You are God’s missionary right where you live. “Go…and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19 (HCSB)
- Give. Out of love for the Lord, give regularly to Him through your church. If you are not tithing, begin to do so and also discover the blessings of giving beyond the tithe. Encourage your church to increase its participation in Cooperative Program (CP) Missions.
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