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FIRST PERSON: Cooperative Program plays key role in preparing seminarians for ministry


I believe I will always remember two phone calls from pastors who were Baptist, but not Southern Baptist. They were both desperately trying to receive the benefit of a high-quality theological education at the reduced rate received by Southern Baptists.

One of them asked, “Is there anything they can do to extend that discounted rate to a non-Southern Baptist?”

The other said, “You know, to get that good of an education for such a reduced rate makes me want to become a Southern Baptist.”

It’s because of the generous Cooperative Program giving of Southern Baptists that thousands of seminarians have received a top shelf education at an affordable rate. Students who are members of SBC churches start with a discount of 50% when they are accepted by one of the six seminaries.

Don’t let the discounted rate fool you, the teachers at the seminaries of the SBC are world renowned scholars who are well trained and respected in their fields. In addition to their academic chops, though, they know they are called to serve more than academia. They love Jesus and His church. And, they want to help train students to do the same.

Faculty and staff at SBC seminaries are grounded in the Baptist Faith and Message. They are held accountable by seminary presidents who regularly report, not only to their school’s trustees, but to SBC messengers. As Southern Baptists, these seminaries are truly our seminaries.

Seminaries teach students how to think, how to study the Bible and how to apply what they learn to the local church. They train missionaries to understand their context and take the timeless truth of the Gospel to those who have never heard. They help equip those headed to the front lines of ministry.

Today, there are nearly 20,000 students enrolled in Southern Baptist seminaries across the United States. Many of the seminaries helped pioneer distance learning technology to place a theological education within reach of every Southern Baptist pastor and missionary.

While Cooperative Program funds do not provide the seminaries their full budget, the dollars given by Southern Baptists lay the foundation semester after semester.

As your church gives a portion through CP, know that you’re playing a key role to train ministry leaders. You are not only helping to train your pastor, but pastors and missionaries, literally, across the globe.

The Cooperative Program is the financial fuel for reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state and every nation.

Thank you for your generosity.

    About the Author

  • Brandon Porter
    Brandon Porter serves as Associate Vice President for Convention News at the SBC Executive CommitteeRead All by Brandon Porter ›