NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Since its launch in 1925, the effectiveness of Cooperative Program (CP) Missions has been dependent upon individuals, churches, state conventions and SBC entities cooperating, working toward a common goal of sharing the Gospel with every person on the planet.
HOW IT WORKS
Simply put, it begins with you. You give yourself first to God (2 Corinthians 8:5). Next, out of gratitude and obedience to God for what He has done for you, you commit to give back to Him, through your church, a portion of what He provides. This is commonly called a tithe and represents 10 percent of your income (Leviticus 27:30, Malachi 3:10).
Your church decides the next step. Every year your church prayerfully decides how much of its undesignated gifts will be committed to reaching people in your state and around the world through Cooperative Program (CP) Missions. This amount is then forwarded to your state Baptist convention.
During the annual meeting of your state convention, messengers elected from your church and other churches across your state decide what percentage of CP Missions gifts contributed by local congregations stays in your state to reach people and support local missions and ministries. The percentage to be forwarded to the SBC for North American and international missions and ministries also is determined at this time. This is the SBC portion of CP. On the average, states retain 64 percent of the gifts they receive from the churches and forward the remaining 36 percent to the SBC Executive Committee for distribution according to the CP allocation budget.
At the SBC annual meeting, messengers from across the country decide how CP gifts received from the states will be distributed among SBC entities. These gifts are used by Southern Baptist entities to send and support missionaries, train pastors, missionaries and other ministry leaders, provide relief for retired ministers and widows, and address social, moral and ethical concerns relating to our faith and families.
More than 94 percent of the CP gifts forwarded to the SBC Executive Committee go toward sending, supporting and training missionaries, pastors and other church leaders.
The bottom line -— people around the world hear the Gospel and receive Christ.
WHAT IT DOES
Churches in your state work together through your state convention to reach people and 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 and camps. For additional information concerning your state convention, log on to www.sbc.net and click on state conventions.
Through the International Mission Board, Southern Baptists support more than 5,380 missionaries who are engaging 1,400-plus different people groups around the world.
New churches numbering more than 1,788 were planted through the efforts of more than 5,200 North American missionaries, whose efforts are coordinated through your North American Mission Board and individual state conventions.
Six Southern Baptist seminaries (Southern, Southeastern, Midwestern, Southwestern, Golden Gate and New Orleans) educate more than 15,250 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. They also provide print resources that offer scriptural responses to the moral and ethical problems of our culture.
Your prayers and support also undergird the work of the Annuity Board and the Southern Baptist Foundation.
As a result of local churches, state conventions and SBC entities working together, Southern Baptists saw more than 816,000 new believers baptized in 2002, the latest year for which overall statistics are available. That’s the power of cooperation!
Simply defined, Cooperative Program (CP) Missions is caring people, partnering together, to touch the world.
Reprinted from SBC LIFE, the journal of the SBC Executive Committee, which adapted this article from “CP Missions 101” brochure and “CP Missions Express” bookmark. April 18 is Cooperative Program Sunday. For more information on CP Missions and promotional resources, go to www.sbc.net/cooperativeprogram or call 1-800-722-9407. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MISSIONS PARTNERSHIP.