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FIRST-PERSON: The Cooperative Program & church plants

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FIRST-PERSON: The Cooperative Program & church plants

By Page Brooks

NEW ORLEANS (BP)--God has allowed me the privilege of serving three church plants in 15 years of ministry. I have served in various roles in these, from staff pastor to lead pastor. While all of the church plants have given to the Cooperative Program (CP) in varying amounts, promotion of the CP has been a constant goal (and joy) for our church members.

Being a professor and church planter, I believe I have a unique perspective concerning the promotion of the Cooperative Program. As a professor, I see more and more seminary students who are not familiar with many of our Southern Baptist mission-funding programs. As a church planter, I see the challenge of educating new believers in showing them the genius of cooperative funding of missions through CP.

Following are some simple suggestions for how church planters can promote the Cooperative Program in a joyful way in their churches as we work to fulfill the Great Commission together.

1) Start early in promoting the Cooperative Program. From the start of a new church plant, it is important to help new believers and members understand what the CP is and how it works. At my current church plant, we start in our new members class by telling them about the CP and how our church gives. We show members how even though we might be a small church plant now, our money combined with other small church plants (and churches) can have a large Kingdom impact.

2) Show the results of CP giving. Many people in today's generation don't care about the process of CP money collection and disbursement. I have found that by emphasizing the end results of the CP, people are more receptive to learning. We have had great results by explaining to people how their money goes to help international missions, local missions, disaster relief, etc. By seeing their money in action and knowing the end results, I believe people are more likely to give and support the CP.

3) Explain the Kingdom impact at a local, national and international level. The trend nowadays is for church plants to keep funding at the local level because they are able to see a direct impact in their community. Yet, churchgoers also have a heart for helping when they see both national and international catastrophes occur. We can show our members the incredible advantage of the CP. Even with a small amount of dollars, a church can have a local and global impact, from their own communities to the farthest countries of the world.

4) Share the joy of giving a "tithe" of the church. In our church plant, I explain that giving to the CP is our church's "tithe." Just like individuals and families give a tithe and offering for the blessings God has given, so our church gives a "tithe" for the blessings God has given us. We then share stories of how God has used our tithe and offering to make a Kingdom impact. Stories connect to the postmodern generation because it connects people to the impact of their giving. The more stories you share, the more joy you may see in your congregation's giving.

In the current church setting where so many organizations and networks are vying for the attention of our church offerings, I pray these simple suggestions will help influence Southern Baptist church plants to support perhaps the greatest missions-funding strategy the world has ever known -- the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Brooks is assistant professor of theology and Islamic studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and founding co-pastor of the Mosaic Church in New Orleans. This column first appeared at SBCToday.com. This article first appeared in Baptist Press

9 comments (Add your own)

1. Daniel wrote:
OK, quick trigger :)Tim, what I think the poadcst illustrates is Dr. Caners willingness to be a man of God. Many like to throw out meaninless aspersions because of ordo salutis kingdom mud wrestling. I hope Caner stays above that luring to get into the ring for the latest grudge match.Even though I don't think that the Caners are any more persecuted than the next follower of Christ willing to open their mouth with the gospel, .I do appreciate his willingness to repent and clear recognition of wrong to a fellow believer. Maybe that can occur with White and Caner respectively before the tickets are sold to any mud wrestling event.Blessings,Chris

Sun, June 17, 2012 @ 12:45 AM

2. Govind wrote:
Dear Dr. Caner,First, thank you for following bliibcal principles and confessing a personal offense in the same forum in which it was committed. God will bless this action.Thank you, moreover, for defending the integrity of the Christian witness by demonstrating the theologico-methodological problems with the Camel Method.Finally, thank you for demonstrating through your entire life and ministry Christian grace toward a lost and dying world by proclaiming the gospel far and wide.

Sun, June 17, 2012 @ 2:29 AM

3. David wrote:
There's certainly no bicalbil mandate against multi-site churches. What I have to consider is the lack of the intentional raising up of godly leadership. If you have a second site, why not raise up a pastor. What kind of system do you establish when you have a large membership across a broad enough geographic area and you aren't producing enough pastoral leadership to fully staff new sites? It seems that such a church system is more unidirectional (pastoral leadership ministering to congregation) than omnidirectional (pastoral staff ministering and raising up ministerial leadership in the churches and being ministered to by them). If a pastor isn't raising up a body of people from whom his replacement can come as well as building them up to minister to each other and minister outwardly, then he's not doing his job.We've been involved with church planting in South America. When we've evangelized in an area, house meetings will happen. Elders of local congregations come in and teach the Bible. As they teach and pray, they begin to see God's provision of a pastor and other leadership for a new church in the area. You don't say to this new church, "You guys can have a place to worship and we'll pipe in some good teaching and pastoring for you because there's no way any of you have the ability to teach and pastor your assembly."

Sun, June 17, 2012 @ 9:35 AM

4. Della wrote:
Brother Marcus,I'm also thinking down the same lines as btheorr Vol here. What would be so interesting about a debate between Caner and White? They are both confessing believers in Christ.They obviously have different systems of thought concerning the ordo salutis . Is that what this big debate thing is about?Or is there something deeper?Blessings,Chris

Sun, June 17, 2012 @ 11:04 AM

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