Editor’s note: The following quotes were compiled from monthly Baptist Press stories featuring churches that give at least 10 percent of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program, the funding mechanism by which Southern Baptists fuel missions and ministry in the U.S. and around the world. October is Cooperative Program Emphasis Month in the Southern Baptist Convention.
“We want our best and first fruit to be given in a way that brings forth a bountiful yield. Our church body is convinced more Kingdom work can be done in cooperation within the body of Christ than we could accomplish on our own. There’s an advantage to being part of a large family when things need to get done.” – Greg Fields, pastor of Nellis Baptist Church, Las Vegas
“The Cooperative Program shows the power of being united in doing God’s work. The Cooperative Program allows a church our size to combine with other churches to support full-time missionaries, which is hugely important.” – Charles Beaucond, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu
“I don’t see a way for us to do ministry better than through the Cooperative Program. Southern Baptists are holding the rope on this end so missionaries get to stay overseas, doing what they’ve been called by God to do and don’t have to come home to raise funds.
“When you invest in the ministries the Cooperative Program funds, you are investing directly to your future and in the future of your church. By giving through CP, First Ponca was investing in my training as a young seminary student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary long before they had ever heard of me.” – Michael Taylor, pastor of First Baptist Church of Ponca City, Okla.
“As we reach people, meet their needs and help them grow in Jesus, we complete the circle by encouraging them to live out their faith. Giving to missions through the Cooperative Program is an important way to do that.
“At Highland Baptist Church, we believe in giving to missions and we find no more trusted way to do that than the Cooperative Program. CP gives us an opportunity to do some things in partnership with other SBC churches we could never do alone.
“In addition, through our trustee system, all the agencies that receive our Cooperative Program funds are accountable to us. The SBC really is very much a grass roots combined effort to reach people worldwide with the Gospel message.” – Barry Campbell, pastor of Highland Baptist Church, Redmond, Ore.
“We’re a strong believer in accountability. There are a lot of ministries out there that are not fruitful. We love the accountability the SBC provides.
“If we didn’t believe what the Cooperative Program is doing, we wouldn’t give anything to it. We’re the gold standard for missionary care and support. CP is simply the best way to pool our resources nationally to make a difference in God’s kingdom.” – Chad Garrison, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
“If it wasn’t for the Cooperative Program, I might not be a Christian. I wouldn’t have an education through Seminary Extension. I might not be a pastor. I am where I am because of the Cooperative Program.
“There are some who have the calling to go out [as missionaries.] We believe it is our privilege to help support that. For us to be able to support someone who’s been called by God to be part of that Great Commission missionary call? In some ways we live vicariously through that.
“With the support of the Cooperative Program, the churches in our area are able to use their different gifts and talents collectively and that makes us able to punch holes in the darkness more effectively. The Bible tells us three strands are better than two.” – Jeff King, pastor of Ainsworth Baptist Church, Flint, Mich.
“People in the rural West understand the value of a rope. It connects a rider on horseback to the calf he’s after, secures hay bales to a wagon, serves as a temporary fix until a sturdier option is available. A braided rope is one of many strands of fibers twisted together for compounded strength.
“We talk about holding the rope. Missionaries are counting on us to hold the rope, the Cooperative Program rope. If that was gone, it would be pretty tough to do the work on their own.
“The Cooperative Program is a lifeline. We talk about that around here all the time. The Cooperative Program is a unique way to unite churches of any size in an incredible missions plan where even the smallest church can take as much credit as the biggest church.
“We support the Cooperative Program first because of the Great Commission. We want to be obedient to Jesus’ command. Secondly, I see the impact it has on the local church. There’s an increased desire to share the Gospel, and more people wanting to participate in overseas projects.” – Clint Henry, pastor of Central Valley Baptist Church, Meridian, Idaho
“I know where the money goes. We see the fruit of churches across the Southern Baptist Convention partnering together. We are part of that fruit. We benefit from the larger churches, and giving to CP teaches us. It embeds giving and being generous with our funds.” – Barry White, NAMB church planter and pastor of Pioneer Community Church, Eagle Mountain, Utah
“I see the start-up of church plants and house churches and realize it is Cooperative Program funding that makes them possible, and that’s how God is using Southern Baptists to grow His Kingdom.
“The Cooperative Program has earned the love and respect of Southern Baptists by the effects it has produced. I understand how much more we can do cooperatively and I can’t help but support that. Southern Baptist missionaries don’t have to worry each month about losing support the way other missionaries do. Our missionaries are free to focus on the ministry God called them to.” – Chris Richards, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Havre, Mont.
“We receive peace, contentment and joy from being able to see the results of our giving around the world.
“Missions is what Southern Baptists have been founded upon. If we fail to do missions and teach missions and give to missions, eventually we won’t have missions.
“If we’re going to be Southern Baptist and have a cooperative effort to send missionaries around the world and in North America, we have to have the Cooperative Program. It’s a blessing for us to see by our giving we’re able to be the hands and arms and eyes of Jesus.” – Phil Bryant, pastor of Sandy Valley Baptist Church, Warner Robins, Ga.