FORT TOTTEN, N.D. (BP)–Coupons in hand, I race through the grocery store attempting to find the most nutritious foods for the least amount of money. Today’s economic climate pushes me to pinch every penny while the thought of the latest strain of flu keeps my focus on fruits and veggies for my two-year-old.
It’s a delicate balance: cost versus nutrition. However, I am willing to spend the extra on fresh fruit and children’s vitamins if it means a healthy little girl.
On the way home, I drive through one town with no Southern Baptist church and pass the road to another that has no evangelical presence. Though I’m saving my pennies for the necessities, I continually see the need for giving to the Lord’s work. Despite the economic situation, giving to the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program remains a priority for my family and church.
“Since its launch in 1925, the effectiveness of the Cooperative Program has been dependent upon individuals, churches, state conventions, and SBC entities cooperating, working toward a common goal of sharing the gospel with every person on the planet,” explains the Cooperative Program website, www.sbc.net/cp.
It truly is the Body of Christ pulling together to spread the Good News into every corner of our world. Cooperative Program giving is an indicator of the health of the Body of Christ and our willingness to give sacrificially for the continued health and growth of our Body, under the direction of the Head, Jesus Christ.
Why give to the Cooperative Program? Besides being one of the greatest demonstrations of Christians joining together in united effort in the work of Christ, the Cooperative Program touches many areas of our lives and ministries:
I grocery shop in a small North Dakota town where a Southern Baptist church may be planted in the near future — empowered through the Cooperative Program.
On a Christian radio station, I can hear news commentary and quotes from Richard Land and others from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission — empowered through the Cooperative Program.
My husband, who is the pastor of a small church on the Spirit Lake Reservation, participates in seminary classes through Golden Gate Theological Seminary — empowered through the Cooperative Program.
Our church hosts volunteer mission teams each summer that help us share the Gospel in our community — teams that are largely empowered through Cooperative Program giving.
Our state convention helped us obtain mission’s education materials so that we can host a mission’s education class for girls. We have an average attendance of 17 each week, and I personally know eight young women who will now spend eternity with Jesus their Savior — thanks to Southern Baptists commitment to reaching people through the Cooperative Program.
Our church partners with two International Mission Board missionaries and four North American Mission Board missionaries — who depend greatly on Cooperative Program giving in order to share the Gospel with those who have not heard it.
In short, giving to the Cooperative Program makes an eternal difference.
When I see God working in so many areas and using Cooperative Program gifts to accomplish His purposes, I can do nothing but worship Him for including us in His work. I thank Him for so many who are willing to give. I am broken for the myriad of needs that still exist and that lack only the resources to be accomplished.
In your state, the Cooperative Program supports many ministries: evangelism, volunteer missions, mission’s education, church planting, state Baptist colleges and universities, collegiate ministries, and state camps.
Simply look around to see how the Lord is using Cooperative Program gifts to accomplish His purposes. It is proof of the Body of Christ joining together to do the work it was called to do.
Though our financial situation may be causing us to cut back on our spending, the Cooperative Program is one area that we cannot afford to neglect. Just as we spend extra to support the health of our families, we must give sacrificially through the Cooperative Program, doing our part to contribute to the health of the Body of Christ.
Sarah Young is a pastor’s wife at Dakota Baptist Church in Fort Totten, N.D.