This week, our new church plant (Grace Church) was pleased to send in our first gift to the Cooperative Program. (We also budget for our association and to direct church planting, but that is another topic for another day.)
As leaders of the church, we believe in what we are doing together in our convention. The Cooperative Program gives our church the opportunity to partner with other churches in our denominational family to be involved in all kinds of work. Though there is no set number (nor should there be), we sent 10% of our undesignated giving because we are glad to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Here are four reasons I think other churches should consider doing the same:
1. The convention is seeking to prioritize delivering the gospel to the nations. That priority was there already, and it is growing even stronger. We need to show my support as well. That provokes me.
2. Due to the resurgence of Biblical authority in our convention, we can have confidence that the missionaries and strategies we support will be in line with our convictions. That reassures me.
3. Denominations (and their infrastructure) can be very effective tools for ministry. I’ve written on denominationalism extensively in Christianity Today, so I will just refer you there for more information. That reminds me.
4. The mission is not just about my church. There are orphans in children’s homes, students in classrooms, and missionaries on the field-and they all matter. That convicts me.
If you look at the SBC Cooperative Program site it explains,
Churches in your state work together through your state convention to support a wide array of ministries and missions including: evangelism efforts, children’s homes, volunteer missions, missions education, new churches, colleges and universities, collegiate ministries, camps, and much more…
Through the International Mission Board (www.imb.org), Southern Baptists support approximately 5,624 missionaries who are engaging 655 people groups, of populations greater than 100,000, around the world.
New churches numbering over 1,364 are planted through the efforts of more than 5,304 North American Missionaries, whose efforts are coordinated through your North American Mission Board (www.namb.net) and individual state conventions.
Working together, Southern Baptists saw 855,756 new believers baptized in 2009!
Six Southern Baptist seminaries (Southern, Southeastern, Midwestern, Southwestern, Golden Gate, and New Orleans) educate in excess of 16,000 pastors, missionaries, and future church leaders each year.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is dedicated to addressing social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.
So, simply put, we are glad to partner with others because we believe we can do more together than we can do alone.