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Pastor urges Baptists to make Cooperative Program personal

CARY, N.C. (BP)–More than 1,200 North Carolina churches have joined the Cooperative Program’s Partners in the Harvest campaign, and state Baptist leaders said they are astounded by the unprecedented participation.

“We should have more churches participating, but this is quite remarkable,” said Dan Euliss, team leader for stewardship education and offering promotion. “To be honest, we only thought we would have 500 churches participate.”

For the record, Euliss said 1,250 North Carolina churches signed commitment cards and that posed a problem. “Since we were only expecting 500 churches to sign up, we only ordered 500 planning kits. Now, we’re trying to find 750 more kits.”

Euliss attributed the success of the commitments to a presentation made at North Carolina’s state convention by Steve Scoggins, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.

“He gave a challenge to the pastors and told them to make giving to the Cooperative Program personal,” Euliss said. “His presentation was powerful.”

Scoggins encouraged pastors to take a different approach to the Cooperative Program. “So many times, we look at it as a fund instead of looking at the lives that are touched. We need to make giving personal,” Scoggins said.

According to Euliss, Scoggins practices what he preaches. For the past three years, First Baptist, Hendersonville, led the state in giving to the Cooperative Program. This year, the church is close to breaking the $300,000 mark, he added.

For his part, Scoggins said his church placed a high priority on being a missionary-minded church. One major component of that emphasis has been through education.

“In this day and time, people are not as denominationally oriented as they were before. I take pulpit time on Sunday mornings to explain to our people where the money goes. I think people will give if they know where the money is going.”

The self-proclaimed cheerleader for the Cooperative Program said personal involvement is the key to giving. At First Baptist, four church families are serving through the International Mission Board and Scoggins said many others participate in short term missions projects.

“When you go out on these partnership mission projects, it changes your perspective,” he said. “It brings the world home to your heart.”

Back on the state level, Euliss said many churches are making commitments to support the Cooperative Program. “I was told by some at our state convention that if we could get 10 percent of our churches to participate, we would have really done something right. To have 1,250 is simply incredible,” he said.

    About the Author

  • Todd Starnes