By Ronnie Floyd
NASHVILLE (BP) – Taking the Gospel to the nations still moves our churches. When we focus on the vision to advance the Gospel to the nations and communicate it in a relevant and current manner, I believe churches will desire to join together to see this vision fulfilled.
Southern Baptists are a people of mission. Standing upon The Baptist Faith and Message, we unite around this sacred mission to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations.
I believe generosity always follows the clear and compelling vision of reaching the world for Christ. This is why our SBC churches have given:
- $19 billion through the Cooperative Program since 1925
- An additional $5 billion through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions since 1888
- An additional $1 billion through the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions since 1885
The Cooperative Program (CP) is the priority in our giving and it is also our unified plan of giving. We can do more together than we can ever do alone.
An important conversation each church needs to have
The most serious conversation church leaders can have with their pastor about fulfilling the mandate of Jesus Christ as given to us in Acts 1:8 is how to help reach their region, state, nation, and the world. Your commitment of giving through the CP helps your church be an Acts 1:8 church.
It is your church’s generosity through the CP that fuels what we do together as Southern Baptist churches, statewide, nationally and globally. Our vision to reach this world for Christ will flourish to the level of our generosity.
I appeal to every pastor, church leader, and church to prioritize their giving through the CP. Due to the lostness of the world, choose to elevate and accelerate your giving through the CP. Each church can usually do more; therefore, let your church be that church. It is always good to be generous, but the need upon us to reach the world demands we give now, not later. People need Jesus and people need Jesus now.
This is my story and why I believe it
More than a decade ago, I became aware of the lostness around this world in a new way. I also became convinced that through the CP, our church could do more to see the Gospel advanced to the nations. Our church’s generosity through the CP elevated significantly and increased annually. Here is what I deeply believe.
The CP is:
- More about mission than money
- Mission is our vision, not money. Taking the Gospel to each state, across our nation, and reaching the ethnicities of the world is what we do as Southern Baptists.
- More about unifying us than dividing us
- More about working together than working alone
- More about your church than our convention
- Each church has been appointed and anointed to take the Gospel to the entire world; yet, together we can cooperate through our network of churches and do much more for Christ throughout your state, our nation, and around the globe.
What it will take from each of our churches
I am convinced that since we are serious about what we believe and why we believe it – that the world needs Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – we surely agree that the greater our generosity, the more we can do to fulfill the Great Commission.
- Prioritizing generosity through the CP means understanding this is one of the most important things we do.
- Elevating generosity through the CP means raising your church’s giving higher than ever before. Every church can do more.
- Accelerating generosity through the CP means speeding up because we must take the Gospel to every person in every state, across this nation, and the entire world.
Why we must act now
- We need more full-time missionaries around the world and we need them now.
- We need more full-time missionaries across the United States and we need them now.
- We need a church planting phenomenon to occur around the entire world, including the United States.
- We need to advance the Gospel across the colleges and universities of our nation.
- We need to turn around reaching, baptizing and discipling teenagers.
- We need to do all we can to help prepare and equip more God-called Christian men and women into the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- We need to understand that partnerships with our churches, state conventions and national entities is what the Cooperative Program is all about.
This is the kind of generosity we must prioritize, elevate, and accelerate if we are to advance the Great Commission across every state, throughout our land and around the world.
Now is the time to lead.
Cover photo by IMB library