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$750 million goal to mark Cooperative Program’s 75th anniversary

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–To mark the 75th anniversary of the Cooperative Program — Southern Baptists’ key channel of financial support for cooperative ministry — a $750 million goal is envisioned in state and national CP receipts and in gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions and all state missions offerings for the year 2000-2001.
Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, noted, “To date, representatives from every state convention and every Southern Baptist entity have indicated initial interest in participating in the project.”
In his report during the initial session of the Executive Committee’s Sept. 21-22 meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Chapman said, “We are praying for this celebration and promotion to inspire confidence in cooperation among Southern Baptist churches, state conventions and SBC entities while receiving gifts that will help build the mightiest missionary army ever known to mankind.
“We are praying it will be a year of sacrificial giving as well as thanksgiving to God for the great things he has done,” Chapman said, calling the $750-million mark “a reachable goal.”
Concerning the current year’s CP giving, Chapman reported, “God’s people have done it again. For the fifth consecutive year Southern Baptists have given more through the Cooperative Program than any time in history. SBC Cooperative Program receipts to date have reached $155,571,000. Already we have exceeded last year’s gifts of approximately $155 million. Our office projects that Cooperative Program receipts will reach no less than $159 million by the end of this month, which is $11 million above this year’s CP Allocation Budget of $148 million.”
The SBC’s CP supports the work of 10 SBC agencies: the International and North American mission boards, encompassing more than 10,000 missionaries; the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and six seminaries.
While “historic giving through the Cooperative Program is mighty good news,” Chapman said, “I have the greatest news of all. Jesus died for us and all who shall call upon his name.
“We must focus on him, ‘looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith,’” Chapman said, quoting Scripture. “Missions and evangelism must not only continue to be our priorities; they must be the very fiber of which we are woven. … We must possess a sense of desperation for the lost and a passion to see souls saved.”
Concerning upcoming SBC budget decisions, Chapman said, “Once again in February we shall make hard decisions with regard to CP budget allocations. Now, not then, is the time to begin praying. Each entity needs more. As critical as each request is, unless God sends a mighty spiritual awakening, we will be unable to meet every need through the Cooperative Program. But what we can do is seek the mind and heart of God, undergird with prayer each of our entities, commend the heads of the entities and their staffs for the vision they have cast and the work they have accomplished.”
And, Chapman urged, Baptists must “pray that God will provide for our entities in ways heretofore unimagined in our minds.”