Editor’s Note: The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force is now releasing a series of blogs unpacking various points of their recommendation with greater depth and clarity. Below is the first installment.
The Cooperative Program and Great Commission Giving
As people are processing the Great Commission Resurgence Progress Report, some are trying to understand the Cooperative Program and its relationship to Great Commission Giving. Since so much information needed to be shared initially through our report, it is now essential that we bring greater clarity to certain areas. One of these has to do with the Cooperative Program and its relationship to Great Commission Giving.
In our GCR Progress Report, we reaffirmed the Cooperative Program as our central and preferred means of supporting Great Commission ministries. We reaffirmed the definition of the Cooperative Program as adopted by the messengers of the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention. The Cooperative Program is our ultimate choice; our preferred, our selected, and our priority method of giving to support the Great Commission Ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention. We believe it is vital that we continue to affirm with conviction the Cooperative Program as our primary method of investing in Southern Baptist causes and see it as the glue that holds together so much of our shared work. Within our GCR Task Force or in any report to this convention, there has not been nor will there be any desire or movement to reduce the Cooperative Program and its significance in supporting Great Commission Ministries.
The GCR Progress Report also stated, after reaffirming the Cooperative Program, that there was a need to ask Southern Baptists to celebrate with our churches the Great Commission Giving that is given through the Cooperative Program which is our priority, but also to celebrate with our churches those gifts they felt led to designate to the causes of the Southern Baptist Convention, a state convention, or a local association. When our churches give to offerings like Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and state-related mission offerings, the Gospel is being advanced. Therefore, our convention should celebrate with our churches what God is leading them to do. This does not reduce our shared commitments to the Cooperative Program at all, but gives us an opportunity to reaffirm through each one of these avenues of giving that the Cooperative Program is our preferred and primary plan of giving for the Great Commission.
Our GCR Task Force believes that when we celebrate with our churches what they are doing for the Great Commission, they will be much more likely to support with greater enthusiasm and commitment our priority in all of our giving, which is the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Great Commission Resurgence provides a new opportunity for our convention to communicate the stories of changed lives that happen throughout the world because of financial support through the Cooperative Program.