By Gayla Parker
In Africa there is a proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with friends.” There is much we can learn from that little saying. In the 21st century it is very easy to get all caught up in the going “fast.” We time everything……the drive to work, a race (running, walking, driving, or on a horse), test taking, meal preparation, and more. The mind set being the faster the better. There are times when fast is certainly appropriate such as in a professional race or more importantly in a medical emergency. But maybe there are times that it might be better to plan on going far rather on going fast.
Jesus, during His days of ministry, set the example of going with friends. He formed a group that we have learned to call the twelve disciples: James the son of Alphaeus, John, Simon, Peter, Matthew, Andrew, Judas, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, James the Zebedee, and Thaddaeus. Jesus had the power to do each and every ministry all on His own, but He chose to spend His three years with this group of twelve men. Why? They did not always get along. They did not always understand Jesus. They sometimes made incredible mistakes. But in spite of all of that Jesus knew that this was the best way to go “far.” One day He would be gone but the twelve would remain. The twelve would become hundreds, and the hundreds, thousands, and the thousands, millions. And the message of Jesus would “go far.”
As Southern Baptists we have found a way to make a dollar go far through the Cooperative Program. Every Southern Baptist church chooses the percentage of the weekly offering that will be sent to the Cooperative Program. Once those dollars arrive to the Cooperative Program budget, they are divided between mission agencies, seminaries, Southern Baptist Convention, and State Conventions; the largest portion, 72 percent, of the dollars going to the mission agencies. So what do the dollars do once they get there?
It is through cooperative dollar monies that IMB and NAMB missionaries receive their salaries. Just imagine, over 20,000 missionaries have a monthly salary because of those dollars! There is not a single church anywhere in the world that could pull that off, not even the Saddlebacks or Willow Creeks of the world have the money to provide a monthly salary for that many missionaries. But Southern Baptists together can make it happen and do make it happen every single month. Together, we go far.
The ministries of the missionaries are supported through our special offerings, such as the Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and State Missions offerings. No matter how much money comes in for ministries without the Cooperative Program monies the missionaries would not have salaries and could not remain on the field. That is how the offerings work together to support both missionary and ministry.
Today, together as Southern Baptist, we have missionaries in more countries than we can name and in every state in America. Missionaries who are able to spend 100 percent of their time focused on reaching the lost around the world because of our provisions through CP giving. As a former missionary, I remember missionaries serving with other agencies who spent almost half of their time raising funds to insure a monthly salary. Each time I heard their stories, I was so thankful that someone many years ago decided that Southern Baptists would come up with a way to go far rather than go fast.
Some years ago, a writer for children, Sylvia DeLoach, called our Cooperative Program dollars, the bionic dollar. That is a wonderful description! Because of what we do together our dollars really do become “bionic” and do more.
What about your church? How many of your church dollars are becoming “bionic” dollars? It is my prayer that as Southern Baptist we will be much more concerned with “going far” than with going “fast” and take a chance of missing the generations yet to come.
This article originally appeared in BaptistLIFE.
Posted on Fri, April 1, 2011
by Gayla Parker filed under