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April is Cooperative Program month

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April is Cooperative Program month

Originally posted on BaptistLIFE online.

By Ken Stalls, BCM/D President and Pastor of South End Baptist Church, Frederick, Md.

Do you know what our denomination’s focus is for April 10th? If you do not know, it is Cooperative Program (CP) Day. I am a huge fan of CP. I was saved in a church that was started with CP funds. I graduated from a Southern Baptist College that benefited from CP funds. I graduated from a seminary that received major funding from CP. As a former director of missions, I funneled much needed support from CP for new starts and mission and ministry pastors. Every area of my life has in some way benefited from the Cooperative Program.

The Cooperative Program is a vital part of who we are as Southern Baptists. Since our beginning in 1845, we have had one mission and that is the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matt. 28:19-20. Initially, we funded this endeavor by special appeals to churches through what we would call the “societal” approach. Each entity would often seek support from the churches. This resulted in severe financial deficits, competition among entities, overlapping pledge campaigns and frequent emergency appeals which overwhelmed the churches and under supported the mission efforts.

In 1919, leaders of our convention proposed the 75 Million Campaign, a 5-year pledge campaign that for the first time included the missions and ministries of all the state conventions as well as that of the SBC. Even though that effort fell short of its goals, a God-given partnership of missions support was conceived called the Cooperative Program. The genius of CP has enabled us to fund missions around the world better than any other method.

Each church prayerfully makes the decision how much, if any, of their undesignated gifts will be given to reach the lost through the Cooperative Program. Whatever the local church decides to give is sent to the State Convention – Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) office. In the annual meeting of the BCM/D, the messengers decide what percentage of CP gifts will be forwarded on to our National Convention – Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). That is currently a matter of prayerful discussion and the decisions we make will affect missions here and around the globe. The SBC, in our annual meeting, decides how much of the CP gifts will go to International

Missions, North American Missions, entities dedicated to the training of pastors and other ministry leaders, relief for retired ministers and their widows, and other ministry-related needs. The bottom line is that the Cooperative Program enables people around the globe to hear the Gospel and receive and follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In order for this to succeed, we must all work together. The International Mission Board (IMB) supports approximately 5,624 missionaries who are engaging 655 people groups of populations greater than 100,000 souls worldwide. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) supports over 5,300 missionaries all over North America. All together, Southern Baptists saw 855,756 new believers baptized in 2009. Our six seminaries educate in excess of 16,000 pastors, missionaries and future church leaders each year. There is no single church that could do all this, but together, we can.

You might be asking what can I do to help this effort?

You can pray regularly for your Southern Baptist missionaries in our convention and around the globe.

You can go—be involved in some sort of missions endeavor. Talk with your pastor about opportunities available to you (many of which are funded fully or partially by CP).

How Maryland & Delaware Baptists Support Missions

You can give. Out of your love for our Lord, you can give regularly to Him through your church.

You can encourage your church to consider increasing its participation in Cooperative Program giving. Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth, “But just as you excel in everything…see that you also excel in this grace of giving” 2 Cor. 8:7 (NIV). We all want desperately to see the lost won to Christ worldwide. I am convinced that there is no better way to financially make this possible than through our own Cooperative Program.

10 comments (Add your own)

1. Tatiana wrote:
I was saddened to see this blog atceahtd to a former pastor of mines blog. It was directly aimed at a START UP church in our community and its advertisement of opening. The new church is not aimed at the SBC FBC community. One of it is main goals is to reach the people that community has burned and have quit going. But its main goal is to reach the lost in the most down to earth, unassuming, straightforward, rubber meets the road way possible, worshiping and learning about God without churchiness if that is a word. People arent tired of God, they are tired of the church getting in the way of their relationship with God.The church has become more of a business, as elluded to by Ed Young himself (nice cufflinks, wonder $$?). Pastors today live very well at large churches. If people are getting fed and are happy, who are you to remark on them starting a new congregation? And if you as the big church were meeting their needs, why are they leaving? Just a thought ED.

Sun, June 17, 2012 @ 2:53 AM

2. Baste wrote:
it was not just simply fgivroeness, but being found in Christ, who already took our punishment. And, the Father looks on us in Christ just as He looks on Jesus. We are in the Beloved. Ahhhh, sweetness!He gives a good assessment of what he terms a crisis in preaching, and a crisis in worship. He was not referring to music wars, but rather the need for a sense of weight and gravity at coming into the presence of God (with joy). He mentioned recovering the Lord’s Supper, which is near to my heart. And, he discussed consumerism in American culture. A lot of good content on only 20 minutes! Thanks!On the technical side, are you going to put this on iTunes? iTunes is such a central repository these days, that some of us will only listen to subscribed pod-casts on iTunes. : ) When I refer to an audio in my blog, I point to a post or page such as this since many of my readers only stream and I want them to see the source page. But, I hate to stream and only do pod-casts! lol It looks like you’ve covered plenty of streaming options. I manually downloaded this one time… just because you did it. : ) So, help us out and set it up in iTunes. OK… I finally added this blog to my blogroll. Blessings, Ann

Sat, July 28, 2012 @ 1:55 AM

3. czipkszijfp wrote:
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Sun, July 29, 2012 @ 9:45 PM

4. Manu wrote:
The Bethel InMiistry program seems to have a wide range of clasess. Though I am certain they are missing the perfect blend of practical and theological, I think they do their best to give this tension some consideration. !You take the traditional Hermeneutics and Preaching clasess, pastoral care, and some personal formation clasess along with Systematic Theology 1-3, as well as full Nt and Ot studies and you can't forget the languages! You go through plenty of practicum in preaching and you do have some electives that can feed some of the more practical sides of ministry. But they do a great job of preparing you to contextualize the gospel wherever you are. Here are some of the clasess that everyone will take in the M.Div program much better and more practical than clasess like Theology in Art, or Theology in literature, etc Transformational LeadershipSelf in CommunityCulture and MinistryThe Church in the Modern WorldIntroduction to Global & Contextual MinistriesDiscipleship in CommunityWhile I do agree Craig that clasess on reaching the masses with all of media options we have today is a good idea and I bet you start to see those as Electives who knows maybe they will ask a guy like you to teach it!PeaceTony

Fri, August 3, 2012 @ 12:02 PM

5. Roberta wrote:
Brother David,You are right,…the priority, at least from this stnirg of guys, is that missions are what all of us want….and I agree that one of the great strengths of cooperating churches as SBC is to be able to keep men and women in the field.One thing is certain, the SBC machine created by the SBC dollars… for whatever reason, has lost its passion for missions and has gained a passion for “other things”, “comfort”, and “worldly pragmatism”. Several important things to remember:1…is that local churches have money and if they are encouraged and understand the need for mission, the Christ follower’s will give.2…..local churches are also filled with Christ followers that are not confident in large organizations spending money on whatever passions or rabbits that come along (just this list of “get rid of’s” bear that out). But churches will give to ministry that is clear and understood,…not some marketing scheme that “may” promise results or yield to the latest environmental or pragmatic scheme. Clarity comes from a more local approach, because it is the responsibility of the leaders to explain to the flock the need for money…not just talk about an offering that comes up several times a year, or a percentage of budgets. There must be a real or authentic connection.The accumulation strategy of these SBC monies and operational requirements for distribution can and should be drastically reduced. This will keep men and women in the field working the ministry, but it will also send “some” of the SBC machine into the marketplace to find work. We must understand the difference and distinction of where ministry takes place though,…it is in the field. Sometimes we convince ourselves that the money spent in the machine is more important.Blessings,Chris

Fri, August 3, 2012 @ 12:52 PM

6. arxgjyllrg wrote:
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Sat, August 4, 2012 @ 3:06 AM

7. Jyoti wrote:
Why choose? Why not all? Provided the chrcuh is big enough, you can have one (or more) class for each category. In my chrcuh, we have 12 to 14 Adult Sunday School classes each semester. We have 100-level classes for seekers and new converts, 200-level and 300-level classes for the general and advanced (covering bible, theology, chrcuh history, and practical matters like marriage etc), and even a 700-level class for seniors. Of course children and youth have their own classes too.

Sun, October 7, 2012 @ 11:00 PM

8. bjiuscpqr wrote:
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Mon, October 8, 2012 @ 4:02 PM

9. Ayako wrote:
I completely agree with Todd above. Sunday School sohuld help the attendees in building and strengthening their relationships with God and each other. Study and reflection on Scripture sohuld encourage community, which sohuld lead to outreach. I don't think that we can separate these functions. But in order for Sunday School to function this way, the teachers need a lot of help! Teachers can't do it on their own.Leslies last blog post..

Tue, November 6, 2012 @ 2:41 AM

10. Carla wrote:
I have been following the acotin about the RCM resolution(s) for a few months. So, I am excited about the amended resolution passing, especially with reference to repentance.Now we need to pray for pastors and messengers that they would bring that home with them and to take a hard look at their roles and reaffirm a commitment to RCM where necessary.Kevinkschaubs last blog post..

Tue, November 6, 2012 @ 9:59 AM

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