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When I think about the Cooperative Program, I oftentimes think about my mom and dad. I know that’s probably unique. As I’ve said before, I was basically born and raised at FBC Mayfield, Ky., then later in life I had the honor of pastoring my home church. Growing up, my parents faithfully attended, served, and contributed to FBC. They were faithful because the church was perfect. No issues. No drama. No disagreements. No disappointments. No bad decisions. No problems at all. Therefore, since the church was perfect, they were faithful.

Wes Fowler

Do you believe that? I mean, that everything was perfect. I’ve jokingly said that sarcasm is one of my spiritual gifts, so I trust you’ll recognize the impossibility of a perfect church.

Although FBC Mayfield has a long history of faithfulness, there have certainly been peaks and valleys along the way. Every church faces difficulties. Every church deals with drama. Every church experiences problems. Why? Because every church has members who struggle with sin – just like you and me! And every church has an enemy actively working against it! I’ve often heard it said, “If you find the perfect church, don’t join it … because you’ll mess it up!” There’s simply no such thing as a perfect church. 

What does any of this have to do with my mom and dad? Guess what they did through the valleys – through the difficult times? Out of frustration, they stopped attending, serving, and giving. Well, there goes my sarcasm again. That’s not even close to what my mom and dad did. My parents remained faithful. They continued to attend, serve and give. In fact, through the valleys, I believe their commitment was deepened.

When it would have been easier to stay home, they attended. When it would have been easier to leave, they stayed. When it would have been easier to withhold, they gave. Why? They did this, not because the church was perfect, but because its mission was greater than their frustration, the church’s future was more important than their opinion, and the next generation (i.e. – me) needed a faithful example of perseverance. I’m incredibly thankful for my mom and dad.

What does any of this have to do with the Cooperative Program? If there’s ever been a time in Southern Baptist life when we’ve needed an example of how to move forward in cooperation, it’s now. And the example we need is represented by the faithfulness of my mom and dad. When times were great, they were faithful. When times were difficult, they remained faithful. Their faithfulness was never circumstantial – it was stable and consistent.

I humbly ask you to deepen your commitment to the Cooperative Program – rejoicing in the good times, persevering through the difficult times, so the next generation has a solid example of faithfulness.

To all who serve the local church, thank you for serving so faithfully!

    About the Author

  • Wes Fowler

    Wes Fowler is the executive director-treasurer of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

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