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Church’s Cooperative Program commitment, at 20%, asserts ‘you can’t out-give God’

WEST POINT, Ga. (BP)–It’s just “the best way to do things” and, besides, “you can’t out-give God,” are pastor Aaron McCollough’s explanations of why Roper Heights Baptist Church in West Point, Ga., gives more than 28 percent of its $118,638 annual budget to missions.

The Cooperative Program gets 20 percent of that — the other 8 percent goes to associational and local missions.

Nine years ago, when McCollough came to the church he noticed they weren’t giving 10 percent of their budget to the Cooperative Program, the channel through which individual Baptists and churches voluntarily support Southern Baptist missions and ministry in their states and in the United States and the “uttermost parts of the earth.”

“People need to tithe, so the church should do the same thing,” McCollough said. “We didn’t even have a budget committee back then, so I talked with the deacons and told them we needed to bump it up.”

The deacons agreed to increase the giving. “From there they took the ball and ran with it. They kept saying, ‘Let’s up the giving again,'” McCollough recounted.

The Roper Heights congregation’s understanding of Southern Baptist missions has spurred on their enthusiasm. They often host missionary speakers, including Jeff and Renee Hale, who serve under the International Mission Board in Benin, West Africa. “Jeff is from West Point. It always helps when they tell us how great it is to be a Southern Baptist missionary and have their finances taken care of,” McCollough said.

“They don’t have to come home and beg for money. They tell us, ‘We’re financially free to do the work.’ I’m convinced that’s the best way to do it,” the pastor said.

The church’s commitment to giving has grown the members as well, McCollough said. When members began to plan for expanding their building, they knew they would first have to purchase adjacent land. Four lots behind the church were for sale for $30,000.

“We decided to buy it, so we had a sacrificial giving one Sunday. All the money that was given that day would go toward the purchase of the property,” McCollough said.

He challenged them to give, not out of their abundance, but sacrificially. They raised $15,000 that day. But after the service a deacon, with tears in his eyes, approached McCollough. “He held up a diamond wedding ring and said he’d found it in the plate. He wanted to find the owner and give it back. But I said, ‘No, whoever gave that wanted to give sacrificially. And we’ll let them,'” McCollough said.

“You can’t out-give God.”

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  • Sherri Brown