NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Information on how Southern Baptist churches in Texas can maintain and expand their support of Cooperative Program missions and ministries has been mailed to churches throughout the state.
The mailing was prepared by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, which acts in behalf of the convention between its annual meetings.
A brochure in the mailing notes options open to Texas Baptist churches in forwarding Cooperative Program gifts to support the work of some 10,000 missionaries internationally and across North America, the preparation of more than 12,000 ministers yearly at the SBC’s six seminaries and other convention causes, such as advocacy of ethics and religious liberty in governmental affairs.
The options include:
— Selecting the SBC on the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ gift remittance form under the option: “BGCT Budget (67%) & Church-Directed Worldwide (33%).”
Churches can choose to direct their 33 percent allocation to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Churches fill out the gift remittance form on a monthly basis and return to it to the BGCT offices in Dallas.
— Selecting the “Other” option on the BGCT monthly gift remittance form, which allows churches to designate the percentages of their giving to be directed to the SBC or other groups through the BGCT.
Churches may make a 50-50-percent designation between the BGCT and SBC, for example, or any other designation of their giving.
— Sending Cooperative Program gifts through the new Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, which forwards 51 percent of its CP receipts to SBC missions and ministries.
Larger percentages also can be designated through the SBTC, which can be contacted at P.O. Box 168585, Irving, TX 75016-8585; phone, (972) 953-0878; Internet site, www.sbtexas.com; or e-mail, [email protected]
— Sending Cooperative Program gifts directly to the SBC Executive Committee, although the brochure notes that “Cooperative Program gifts from the churches traditionally come to us through a state convention.”
The Executive Committee mailing also included an overview of sources of information about the Cooperative Program, SBC missions and ministries and local churches, along with a cover letter by Morris H. Chapman, the Executive Committee’s president and chief operating officer.
Among the resources noted in the mailing are:
— SBC LIFE, the Executive Committee’s monthly journal.
— Baptist Press, the SBC’s official news service, with daily Internet postings at www.bpnews.net.
— the convention’s www.SBC.net website, which includes links to every SBC entity, information about the SBC’s annual meeting and an electronic version of SBC LIFE.
— Baptist2Baptist.net, a website focusing on current issues in Southern Baptist life, with archives ranging from studies and reports to audio question-and-answer sessions and sermons.
— Church Search, an Internet feature capable of providing a map to any Southern Baptist church in the country based on city or Zip Code.
— SBCPray.net, called the “upper room on the Internet,” where Baptists can learn of prayer needs, find daily devotional material and commit to pray 30 minutes a day for SBC missions and ministries.
Chapman, in his cover letter to Texas Baptist churches, referenced the actions taken at the BGCT annual meeting last fall to defund the SBC’s six seminaries, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the Executive Committee’s work in behalf of the convention, an overall reduction of more than $5.3 million in CP missions gifts from the state.
The defunding, Chapman wrote, is “certainly detrimental to the ongoing witness of the BGCT, the SBC, and most of all, the Kingdom of God. The cooperative spirit that has been the hallmark of relationships among Southern Baptists has eroded between the BGCT and the SBC, and the Cooperative Program methodology that has served our conventions so well has been imperiled.”
Chapman noted, “I personally do not want the Southern Baptist Convention to be a stumbling block to whatever the BGCT chooses to do apart from the SBC that glorifies the Lord. I do intensely pray that God will raise up Southern Baptists everywhere as the mightiest force for righteousness this world has ever known. …
“We are compelled to make a difference for Christ’s sake,” Chapman wrote. “We must ask the question, ‘Is my church making a difference in my community and beyond, or have we grown deaf to the cries of those with spiritual and material needs?'”
(BP) graphic posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Graphic title: GIVING FORM.