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CP EMPHASIS: In reaching the world, it’s not either/or

EDITOR’S NOTE: In recognition of the SBC’s October emphasis on the Cooperative Program, Baptist Press will provide readers with extra news and information detailing the scope and depth of the Cooperative Program and its impact for the Kingdom. Using vignettes and profiles of churches and individuals, as well as historical and ongoing accounts, our intent is to explain the Cooperative Program not just as a funding channel but as one of the critical ties that bind Southern Baptists in voluntary fellowship for cooperative ministries and missions.

HIGHLAND, Calif. (BP)–I love the Lord! He has saved me, loved me and blessed me beyond words. Why He even called me to the ministry is beyond me, but I love serving the Lord. I have a passion to preach and my desire is to see people saved and Christians grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a product of God’s grace, reached through the Cooperative Program.

We are a people who have been called by God to go into the world with the Gospel. We are a people with a command to make disciples, baptize them and teach them. Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that “you will receive power … and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” That is a big task, and unlike some today who want to go to only one or the other, we must understand it’s not either/or, it’s both/and.

How do we accomplish such a large task? The answer is, we do it together! The Great Commission can be accomplished if we will come together to get the job done. There is no one church that can do it, but together we can do much.

The genius behind the Cooperative Program is a spirit of unity. It is an opportunity for every size church to give as God leads and pool the gifts to reach a common goal. No other denomination has what we have as Southern Baptists. Through the Cooperative Program, local churches can reach their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and world for Christ. Our churches help train ministers and missionaries to accomplish their tasks, and through the Cooperative Program we start new churches here and all around the world.

Some say there is too much bureaucracy, that we need to be more efficient, and I say, “Amen!” But you can’t make it better if you’re not involved. What other denomination is supporting more than 10,000 full-time missionaries here and abroad? What other denomination is in more than 130 countries around the world? What other denomination undergirds much of the cost not only for its seminaries but the students as well?

We have much to be thankful for. Are we perfect? No, but I’d rather be involved and working toward the goal than not be involved at all.

God, help us to get a heart and a vision for the world and fulfill the command that You have given us. God, help us all to want to be involved in reaching our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rob Zinn is pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, Calif.

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