News Articles

Voices of cooperation, coast to coast

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following compilation of quotes from pastors and other Baptist leaders across the country describe the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ method of supporting missions and ministries of state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention. CP Sunday is April 26 in churches across the SBC. The quotes are from a monthly series dating back to 2001 on churches that provide significant CP missions support. Some pastors may have moved on to new places of service.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—In Southern Baptist churches across the country, the Cooperative Program is known — and utilized in reaching the ends of the earth with the Gospel. April 26 is Cooperative Program Sunday in churches across the Southern Baptist Convention.

In short, the Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ method of supporting missions and ministries of state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention.

But here’s the larger story, from the heart of pastors and other leaders:


“I think the Cooperative Program is one of the most ingenious funding mechanisms ever created and I support it. The Cooperative Program allows me to participate with other Southern Baptists in Kingdom work.” –- Ed Litton, pastor, First Baptist Church of North Mobile, Saraland

“The Cooperative Program makes it easier for our missionaries to know their needs are met. While they’re out serving, we’re holding the rope for them, providing resources so they can be busy about what they’re called to do: Share the Gospel and continue the work.” –- Travis Coleman, pastor, First Baptist Church, Prattville


“There’s strength in numbers. That’s what makes the Cooperative Program work…. With the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ working through us, and with us working together, we can make a difference in God’s Kingdom. The Cooperative Program allows us to be involved in missions with other churches in a way we could never do alone…. There’s just a synergy that happens when people work together.” –- Randy Graham, pastor, Grandview Baptist Church, Anchorage


“I just think it’s a principle. If I am going to ask my church members to give 10 percent, it would be sort of blasphemous if the church didn’t. And besides … why not give to thousands of missionaries, rather than just one or two? It’s just such a great tool for global evangelization. I believe a church that is not globally minded will never be locally effective.” –- Billy Van Camp, pastor, San Tan Heights Baptist Church, Queen Creek

“Real Kingdom work is cooperative work because we’re not going to reach the masses without cooperating. It’s just an impossibility. The more strands in the rope, the stronger the rope; the greater the work, the more you can lift. The Cooperative Program works. It gets more missionaries to the field effectively doing Kingdom work than any other method.” — Steve Ballew, pastor, Trinity Southern Baptist Church, Casa Grande


“Involvement in missions –- giving, going and praying –- has motivated our church family to give more sacrificially to our church’s budget and to be more excited about reaching the lost people of our area…. Every Christian needs to be part of something bigger than himself, bigger than his own little part of the world. Then he gets a sense of what Christianity is all about –- the love, the unselfishness, the burden for people. People who are involved in the action are more fulfilled Christians. Our commitment is to missions at home and abroad and we need to be as faithful as a church body as we ask our church members to be. We wanted to set the example for them in catching a vision for the world mission effort of our Southern Baptist Convention.” –- Stephen P. Davis, pastor, First Baptist Church, Russellville


“The Cooperative Program is a way in which we can fulfill the biblical mandate. It’s a way in which our resources — regardless of the sizes of our churches — can accomplish a common goal — of going into all the world and preaching the Good News that God loves all people. The Cooperative Program is the very essence of the reason for the existence of the church. We stand with the SBC’s strong commitment to reach all people and fulfill the Great Commission. Our philosophy is that if we teach our members to tithe, we as a church should tithe. We see the SBC as the church’s church, and that’s where our tithe goes.” –- Horatio Jones, pastor, Fremont Bible Fellowship, Fremont

“The Cooperative Program is a way God gave Southern Baptists to respond to the world’s needs like Jesus. When we give we can be sure that our dollar will do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. –- E.W. McCall Sr., pastor, St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church, La Puente

“More gets done when we work together and put aside our individual goals to seek a corporate goal of reaching the world for Christ. Giving to the Cooperative Program is also a step of faith as a church, that we trust God by giving sacrificially to his cause outside our own sphere of ministry. It’s kind of like tithing. We do what God leads us to do, and part of that leading is to give to the Cooperative Program to help in the doing of what we aren’t able physically be a part of.” –- Tomas Angulo, pastor, First Bilingual Baptist Church, Pico Rivera


“A pastor has to ask, what could we do in impacting the lostness in our world if every person would get involved in the Cooperative Program? How many more people could be reached? What could we do if every church cooperated the way they want their members to cooperate? If we’re not as a church giving at least 10 percent to the Cooperative Program, how can we ask our members to tithe? I know there are other ways of doing missions, but there is no better way than the Cooperative Program. I’m talking to you as a former missionary. The Cooperative Program is the most effective way to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s why we’re involved with it.” –- Calvin Wittman, pastor, Applewood Baptist Church, Wheat Ridge

“One thing I know: God blesses the churches that support missions and missions giving through the Cooperative Program. We’ve always given through the Cooperative Program –- it’s the best program out there –- but we haven’t always given 10 percent. When I went on [Colorado Baptists’] executive board and saw all that we were doing with that money just in our state alone, I thought we needed to be giving 10 percent. In the past, we had problems paying our bills, but since we started giving 10 percent to the Cooperative Program, we’ve not had that problem…. The work of a missionary is more than just preaching the Word. It’s life to live, people to help and difficulties to go through. With the Cooperative Program, you’ve got some support there; otherwise, you’d have to do that –- raise your own support –- on top of everything else.” — Larry Mallett, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Grand Junction


“When you follow His leadership in giving, He provides…. It’s important to us to be a good neighbor in our community. But with the Cooperative Program we go global.” –- Mike Orr, pastor, First Baptist Church, Chipley

“We have a missionary heart, and the Cooperative Program is a help to us in this. Our membership is very efficient in the offerings so all of us support the missionary work because we feel that is the most important part of our church. To win souls for Jesus Christ is the most important part of our church and should be every Christian’s priority.” –- Herberto Becerra, pastor, Primera Iglesia Bautista, Plantation


“To me, the Cooperative Program is a no-brainer. It’s just such a well-rounded ministry. Through the Cooperative Program, we support more than 10,000 missionaries around the world, plus schools, medical programs and so much more. We focus strongly on taking the Gospel to the world, beginning here at home, and through the Cooperative Program, throughout the entire world.” –- Larry Wynn, pastor, Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula

“The Cooperative Program provides a structure for missions that I find maturing believers are attracted to. What the Cooperative Program tells these people is that we have a safe way — a tried and tested, most effective way — of partnering in missions in North America and around the world that they can be a part of.” –- Charlie Bridges, pastor, Grove Level Baptist Church, Dalton

“We’re committed to it. It works. It brings unity and keeps us focused on what we’re called to do. Two can do more than one is the basic fundamental, and when you talk about millions pointed in the same direction, think of what God can do.” — Jim Bledsoe, associate pastor for missions, evangelism and administration at Grove Level Baptist Church

“The church made a commitment more than 30 years ago to steadily increase giving to the Cooperative Program. But it’s not enough to give money…. When our church goes somewhere and does something for another church, God will bless us for that effort…. [T]he genius of the Cooperative Program is not how much a church gives, but the percentage. Think what we could do if every Southern Baptist church made a goal of at least 10 percent to the Cooperative Program…. I graduated from Southern Seminary and New Orleans Seminary, and I never could have afforded that if it had not been for the Cooperative Program. That’s a personal issue for me.” –- Fred Evers, pastor, Northside Baptist Church, Tifton


“No one church, no matter how big, could begin to even think of doing together what we [as Southern Baptists] can do through the Cooperative Program. We have people here [at Olivet] with ties to Korea, South Pacific islands –- at least seven ethnicities –- and because of the Cooperative Program, no one has to feel Southern Baptists don’t care about their homeland. Like a blanket of God’s love, the Cooperative Program spreads across the entire world.” –- David Hockney, pastor, Olivet Baptist Church, Honolulu


“When we’re involved in missions, the Cooperative Program is always there to help. When we partner up to do missions work, it’s a joint partnership with all Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program. We believe it’s important to reach our community for Christ and to have an influence in our world. The Cooperative Program helps us do both. It’s the best missions giving and missions opportunity out there. It’s the best budgeting tool that exists.” –- Kirk Casey, pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Idaho Falls

“There is no other way you could spend your money and have it do more than with the Cooperative Program. I think the Cooperative Program is one of the greatest tools God has ever put together to reach the world. CP money is where most all of us start, here in Idaho. It was CP money that began [Southern Baptist work in] Elk City, and [Southern Baptist work] in Kamiah before that. Kamiah started the work in Elk City, and Elk City’s where I became a Christian. The Cooperative Program has been the backbone of the mission work for the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s been a blessing to the association, to the churches, in our church and throughout the world. There’s just no other way you could spend your money and have it do more than with the Cooperative Program.” –- Bill Horn, pastor, First Baptist Church, Clearwater

“The needs in Maryville are tremendous, but who’s to say there aren’t greater needs elsewhere? We believe the Cooperative Program is the best way to meet mission needs around the world. It doesn’t matter if there’s a direct benefit to us, because it benefits others…. God affirmed the principle that it is better to give than to receive. We discovered the blessing of not thinking of our own needs, but to think of the needs of others. We give to the Cooperative Program because it’s right, and it benefits others. As we learn the discipline of giving, we step into the abundance of God.” –- Fred Winters, pastor, First Baptist Church, Maryville


“For our church, the Cooperative Program isn’t just a good team process; it’s also good business. Where else can a church’s financial investment reap such eternal rewards? Through the Cooperative Program we get to have a hand in all six SBC seminaries, affect policy in our nation’s capital, and have a hand in missionary efforts all around the world. It’s a unique team process. There’s nothing like it and I believe it is just one reason Southern Baptists remain so effective.” –- David Pope, pastor, Western Avenue Baptist Church, Connersville


“This [2008 flood] definitely was an object lesson for the Cooperative Program. We were greatly blessed, our community was greatly blessed and church members could see in a fresh way the cooperative efforts of Southern Baptists and the blessings that flowed from that. I think the Southern Baptist style of cooperating for missions is a distinctive that is worth trumpeting because of the coordinated fashion for extending the Kingdom — both in North America and around the world. It’s a strategic effort worthy of support.” –- Dan Wiersema, pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids


“It’s the unity of all the churches working together for a common purpose that makes the Cooperative Program possible. It’s having a plan and working that plan –- that’s what we have with the Cooperative Program. The Cooperative Program gives me the opportunity to share in a global mission effort while my heart cry is to this continent. We give to missions because there’s a world that’s lost and if we don’t give to missions they won’t be reached.” –- Ray Kempel, pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Hutchinson


“We ought to be connecting around the world, and the Cooperative Program lets us do just that. I frequently remind our folks that when they return their tithes and give their offerings, their money literally goes all over the world. This is something to be proud of, including helping ministers through seminary and being a part of [post-hurricane] ministry efforts in New Orleans. The Cooperative Program is a reminder to us that every member really is a minister. It’s more than what happens at 307 Center St. [the church’s address]. Some growth isn’t always reflected on reports we look at here. It’s growth we might not see or know about until we get to heaven.” –- Todd Linn, pastor, First Baptist Church, Henderson


“I have friends in ministry all over the globe because of the Cooperative Program. I can’t improve on how the Cooperative Program allows me as an individual and us as a church to be involved in global, Kingdom-seeking ministry. We can do more together for Kingdom purposes than any of us could on our own. Each of our pastoral staff has personally benefited from SBC seminary education. When we take in all the ministries funded by the CP, it solidifies our commitment and conviction in doing cooperative ministry.” –- James Law, pastor, First Baptist Church, Gonzales

“Our leadership on down understands well about the Cooperative Program; that’s why we support it so many years. The Cooperative Program means to work together for the Great Commission. One person cannot do by himself. That’s scriptural. That’s why Jesus built His church and not just one temple.” –- Vinh Nguyen, associate pastor, Vietnamese Hope Baptist Church, Baton Rouge

“We experienced the reality of the Cooperative Program [after Hurricane Katrina]. We give 10 percent –- we consider it a tithe. We know the good the Cooperative Program does here in Louisiana and around the world. But there’s a difference between knowing something and experiencing it. We’ve had hundreds of people working on our church. I’d say maybe even close to a thousand. Churches large and small, working together to do something that without the joint effort would have been overwhelming. That’s what the Cooperative Program does. I’ve made a commitment that every church I pastor is going to give 10 percent or more to the Cooperative Program. One, I just feel comfortable doing it. That money goes to support missionaries. To me, it’s like the tithe of the church. I have pastor buddies who disagree with me, but I can tell you –- we, as a church, we give to the overall work of the Kingdom. It’s a great way to be involved in missions…. Because of the Cooperative Program we have a part in the salvation of souls, and that’s what it’s all about –- God’s redemptive work all over the world.” –- John Galey, pastor, Poydras Baptist Church, Poydras


“To me the Cooperative Program is a dynamic way of supporting Kingdom work at many levels in the church. It allows us to support future church leaders through the seminaries, current international and national missionaries through IMB and NAMB, works of ethics and justice through the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and educating our local membership through denominational publications.” –- Eric Redmond, pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Temple Hills

“I’m a product of a Southern Baptist seminary and the Cooperative Program made it possible for me to go. I’ll always remember that. You see why it’s so important to give to the Cooperative Program? When you don’t give here, you break faith with our missionaries halfway around the world. Our people see that when they give that dollar, it goes everywhere, because millions of other Southern Baptists also are giving. –- Lyn O’Berry, pastor, Linthicum Baptist Church, Linthicum


“People around the world are drawn to God’s love by people who already have that love, and the more of that love you share, the more you have to share –- and to keep.” The Cooperative Program works the same way. Without the broad vision of the Cooperative Program, you have tunnel vision that limits you. With it, you can see that the more you’re able to give, the more you will be blessed. –- Bob Remic, pastor, Victory Baptist Church, Brant Rock


“Our first priority of the church’s giving is the Cooperative Program.” The Cooperative Program is the greatest blessing God has given to Southern Baptists. Here’s how it works: When I first came here and we were a small church, we needed help from others. Between our national convention, state convention and association, we were on the receiving end of the Cooperative Program. They helped us get through difficult times. … God used other people to help us. But now we are a church that’s on the giving end. In fact, two years ago we reached a wonderful milestone: We gave more to missions than the budget was for the entire first year I came here to the church. So now by our giving we can help other churches like we were [helped].” –- Herb Harbaugh, pastor, Memorial Baptist Church, Sterling Heights


“This is the beginning place, the launching place, but through the Cooperative Program we also have a joy in being involved in the work that goes so far beyond us. It is quite simply the best plan. I think the Lord gave it to us to do missions in a way that would be supportive and strengthening to the mission work we do both locally and globally. It’s a joy to the congregation to realize that when we give on Sunday here in Rochester, we’re supporting not only the local work, but we’re also reaching around the world, supporting a worldwide ministry through our cooperation. We’re helping to fund thousands of missionaries around the world. This emphasis on multiplication through cooperation is very exciting to our congregation.” –- George Ray, pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Rochester


“We’re committed to maintaining our level of commitment to the Cooperative Program because, number one, we know what it means to have nothing. We understand the value of a cooperative partnership because we have benefited from the cooperative efforts of Southern Baptists around the nation. But even before [Hurricane] Katrina, we knew the value of the Cooperative Program. It gives the church an organized and efficient channel … [to] engage in significant Gospel ministry that impacts people in time and for eternity.” –- LaRue Stephens, pastor, First Baptist Church, Long Beach

“When we give to the Cooperative Program we are investing in the Kingdom of God and in eternity, because God uses our resources to see people saved. What better investment is there than that…? I’ve been Southern Baptist all my life. I’ve seen the way we send our missionaries and train people to be missionaries. The Cooperative Program is a vital way for churches to cooperate and get more done than one church could ever do by itself…. I try to stress to our church that we’re not a lone ranger church. We’re part of a whole uniting together to see the Kingdom expand to God’s honor and glory…. We place a maximum amount of importance on the Lordship of Christ. He’s the head of the church. He gave us the Great Commission and we feel like we need to take that commandment seriously. He limits us to ‘the ends of the earth,’ and to fulfill that mandate, we need the Cooperative Program.” –- Wade Humphries, pastor, Longview Point Baptist Church, Hernando


“Giving to the Cooperative Program teaches our people that we don’t live in a box here. The Bible tells us that we have a responsibility to be disciples and to make disciples of all nations. We can’t all physically go, but we can all give. I don’t think giving money excuses you from going, but I do think giving helps our congregation realize we are helping fulfill the discipleship mandate of the Great Commission. The Cooperative Program is the greatest, the wisest, the most resourceful way of supporting missionaries around the globe. It enables local churches that would not have the ability to support a missionary on their own to be part of a global missions strategy. I think the Cooperative Program is essential because it’s the best way of getting resources spread out across the world.” –- Phil Bray, pastor, First Baptist Church, Puxico

“One of the greatest tools we have is working together. The way we cooperate and work together has allowed us to do far more than we ever could on our own. I believe one reason our church is financially blessed is because we give freely -– from the heart. You can’t out-give God. The Cooperative Program helps people unite in ministry –- to have a common goal, a common task. It keeps us from playing tug-o-war; we’re all pulling in the same direction.” –- John Rhodes, pastor, New Bethel Baptist Church, Jackson

“I could add 10 more staff locally and not have the impact that we can by giving faithfully to the Cooperative Program. It is, I think, the most ingenious strategy we have as Southern Baptists; it’s the most effective. It works! It allows us in Centralia to have that worldwide impact. The genius of the Cooperative Program is that it harnesses energy built up by a local church’s members. People get involved, learn and do missions and ministry at the local church level. That gives them a vision, outlet and method for Kingdom-expanding global evangelization. … For someone who struggles with a commitment to tithe, it’s a good way to show the benefit of doing so. And it’s a good way for a church to be giving a large percentage of their monies to missions around the world and never missing it.” –- Jim Tolliver, pastor, First Baptist Church, Centralia


“For me, the Cooperative Program helps provide the financial security our missionaries need and deserve after having already given up so much else in their lives.” –- Darwin Scofield, pastor, Libby Baptist Church, Libby

“While Fellowship Baptist may be a relatively small church, we know that we participate in missions across our country and around the world and are a part of reaching the lost with the Gospel message by our support of the Cooperative Program. It helps [our church members] have a sense of ownership in mission endeavors. Every week we share stories from the International Mission Board or North American Mission Board as part of our worship service to keep people up to date about the mission endeavors we help support through the Cooperative Program.” –- Ken Kirby, pastor, Fellowship Baptist Church, Billings

“I am a Southern Baptist because of the Cooperative Program. I served overseas with an independent mission agency in my younger days and saw how much difficulty the missionaries had staying on the field because of a lack of funds. Not so with Southern Baptists. Because we cooperate we see more go [to the mission field] and more stay [on the mission field.] We also accomplish so much more by cooperating together in our giving. Hospitals, health care, schools, universities, orphanages, political action and more are all a part of what we can do when we work together. I believe this is biblical, worthwhile and very productive. Consequently I am and will be a Southern Baptist so as to help see our world touched more effectively for my Lord Jesus. -– B.G. Stumberg, pastor, Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church, Helena


“By giving to the Cooperative Program, we don’t have to be concerned about ‘How do we help?’ We’re already helping. We’re supporting missions, we’re supporting families, we’re supporting disaster relief through the Cooperative Program…. The Cooperative Program is an instrument that is used to break down the strongholds and the barriers of sin and an instrument of delivering people through the teaching and application of the biblical doctrine of Jesus Christ. Yes, we use the Cooperative Program locally and, yes, we use it globally.” –- William Upchurch Jr., pastor, Desert Harvest Baptist Church, Las Vegas


“We believe in the Cooperative Program. We believe that together everybody accomplishes more…. As a first-time pastor, the more I went to [association and state convention] meetings and really understood what we do and how we help churches, missionaries and pastors, the more I knew we wanted to invest in the Cooperative Program. I grew up in a very small church that unfortunately did not have access to the kind of helps the Cooperative Program provides –- summer missions workers who will come to your church to conduct Vacation Bible School or do training for your teachers; access to seminary education and continuing education for bivocational pastors who may not be able to go to seminary; even reasonably priced retreats for pastors who otherwise may not be able to afford them…. These are the kind of things that inspire me about the Cooperative Program.” –- James Betner, pastor, Delaware Valley Baptist Church, Willingboro


“We do some pretty spectacular things through the Cooperative Program. It’s pretty amazing to think you can actually get some 44,000 churches to cooperate on anything, yet we do it regularly. The Cooperative Program is just the life-flow of Southern Baptist churches and the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s a beautiful way for our missionaries to have stability so they can focus on their ministry.” –- Kirby Kennedy, pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Farmington

“God has blessed us so much, we just feel like we could do more than just give a tithe. Because we support the Cooperative Program, our church supports more than 10,000 missionaries. And not just missionaries, but our six seminaries and the Ethics & Liberty Commission too.” –- Tim Marrow, pastor, First Baptist Church of West Albuquerque

“The Cooperative Program helps us to be the kind of Christians Christ challenged us to be. We’re a benefit to other people as we meet their needs and we benefit ourselves as we grow as Christians and become more Christlike.” –- Bob Bacon, pastor, First Baptist Church, Carlsbad


“When you think about the Cooperative Program, you think about global missions. That’s New York. We minister here in 28 languages so we see CP Missions right here, globally, in New York…. The Cooperative Program isn’t just about funding. Cooperation is a Southern Baptist imperative. We couldn’t do what we do without volunteers.” –- Terry Echols, church growth director, Baptist Convention of New York, East Syracuse.

“We are grateful to God’s people giving through the Cooperative Program to support innovative ministries such as North Country Ministries. CP gifts allow us to reach outside the walls of the church and share the Gospel with people from all over the world as they visit our small village in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. This village of 3,000 people welcomes 3 million tourists each year. CP gifts allow us to witness to the world without ever leaving Lake Placid.” –- Derek Spain, resort missionary, Lake Placid

“The theological education I received I did not pay for. It was the [Cooperative Program that] gave me my education. I feel greatly indebted because of that.” –- Arnaldo Campbell, pastor, Evergreen Baptist Church, Brooklyn


“I can call the North Carolina Baptist state convention office, Nashville, or any SBC [entity], and get my ministry needs met. That expertise would not be there without the Cooperative Program…. We’re pulling our resources together because we can do more together than we can independently for the Kingdom of God. This is something that has to be constantly taught to the younger generation. We cannot take the Cooperative Program for granted. The vision has got to be maintained. I know for myself, there was just no way I could have gone to Southern Seminary without the Cooperative Program. –- R. Shawn Edwards, pastor, Cowee Baptist Church, Franklin

“It’s not enough just to support the Cooperative Program and mission projects like a Habitat house financially and prayerfully. Once you incarnate missions and the Gospel, it keeps the fires of missions glowing; it puts flesh and blood to your missions giving…. You can’t spend all the money on yourself. We have to be Kingdom-minded; Scripture teaches it and the Cooperative Program makes it possible.” –- Pat Cronin, pastor, Friendly Avenue Baptist Church, Greensboro


“God is not going to bless us to stockpile His resources. With that motivation, we want to give as much as we can to help Southern Baptists in ministry around the world. A church that is not willing to give is not really in line for the blessings of God. The Cooperative Program is an important part of who we are. We’ve been a recipient of CP dollars, and we want to give back.” — Bob Pittman, pastor, Hazen Christian Fellowship, Hazen

“When I was a new believer, looking for fellowship on my college campus, I walked into the BSU [Baptist Student Union] center, which the Cooperative Program helped fund, as it did my seminary education. When we were planting a church in Redfield, S.D., the downtown portion of that town was destroyed by fire. I was able to pick up the phone to our state convention director and immediately –- immediately! –- had $5,000 to help people with. That was Cooperative Program money. Southern Baptists also helped us get this building [in West Fargo]. When I deployed for Hurricane Katrina [as a chaplain with the North Dakota Air National Guard] the first people on the scene were Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams. That’s the Cooperative Program right there. Wait. I’m not done. Here in the Dakotas, Cooperative Program money provides for leadership training, and some of our state staff are able to help churches in crisis situations and by serving in interims. If a church gives a percentage through the Cooperative Program, every believer who puts a dollar in the offering plate is participating financially to the spread of Christ’s Kingdom. Individual believers need to be tithing or moving toward tithing, and I think the church models that concept if it gives away part of its income to the larger cause of Christ in the world.” –- John Flowers, pastor, Living Hope Baptist Church, West Fargo


“We’ve just got to have our eyes open and look for opportunities to join God where He’s working. Sometimes we try to create opportunities and miss what He’s already doing. For one thing, He’s been using the Cooperative Program all these years. It’s our goal to be a partner, to cooperate with other likeminded churches to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mission trips are wonderful and great, but there is no way we would be able to reach everyone and do everything. We can accomplish more together than we can alone. We’re not here to build our kingdom; we’re here to build the Lord’s Kingdom. I think that’s the attitude of the whole congregation. We want to touch the uttermost parts of the world, and we can do that with the Cooperative Program. It’s the most effective tool there is for reaching our world for Jesus Christ.” –- Travis Smalley, pastor, Lakota Hills Baptist Church, West Chester

“The Cooperative Program does what the local church cannot. It’s all about the Great Commission. We go on mission trips … but the only way to fulfill the Great Commission –- to go into all the world –- is through the Cooperative Program. We’re partnering together with other Southern Baptists and extending our mission throughout the world with CP Missions, and we can do that without taking special offerings. When we bring our tithes and offerings every Sunday, that makes us part of a worldwide missions thrust.” — Ron Mitchell, pastor, First Baptist Church, Huber Heights


“Our missions partnerships are with Southern Baptists. That way, when our people think of the Cooperative Program, they have a connection with real live missionaries. When we as pastors talk to our people about sacrificial giving for Kingdom causes, and then reduce our giving because of other pressing needs, that sends a mixed message. We as church leaders must practice what we preach.” –- Hance Dilbeck, pastor, Quail Springs Baptist Church, Oklahoma City

“We believe our primary purpose is to reach people for Jesus. We want to do that on a local level, individual level, national level and international level, and the best tool to do that is the Cooperative Program. In order to broaden our horizons and to have as great an outreach as we possibly can, Southern Baptist churches need each other. With the Cooperative Program we can reach way beyond our borders. We might be able to support four or five missionaries with the resources in this church, but together with all other Southern Baptist churches we can support 5,000-plus in international outreach and that principle would apply here in the United States as well…. With cooperative effort, by uniting with other churches, we can do a great deal more. And there’s no way we could provide seminaries and Baptist colleges on our own, even though we’re committed to education.” –- Ray Sikes, pastor, First Baptist Church, Choctaw


“We believe we have the responsibility and privilege to be involved in world missions. Through the Cooperative Program we can be a part of touching the world for Christ in thousands of culturally relevant ways. As a young church we directly benefited from CP giving. We now have the opportunity to give back. Through the Cooperative Program and people available to the Lord, we believe God can use us to make a significant impact for Christ in our community and around the world.” –- Keith Evans, pastor, Greater Gresham Baptist Church, Gresham

“The Cooperative Program ministers around the world in totally different ways from what we can do locally. We are not an end unto ourselves. We’re only an integral part of the Kingdom. We have to give beyond ourselves or we become ingrown. Once you turn inward, you lose all sense of godliness. The Cooperative Program helps us get beyond ourselves without the concern for getting back. When we give to the Lord, He will use it in the world and it will account for eternity.” –- Ted Haws, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Lebanon


“The Cooperative Program is an efficient way to do missions. The key to our percentage giving is that we give in real dollars that are used by real missionaries as they do God’s Kingdom work around the world. Our world missions ministry budget is well over $100,000 to needs beyond ourselves. CP missions is the bulk of it –- almost $84,000 –- because of its global scope. What you see today is not the culmination, but a further milestone in the journey of faith we have traveled together. The Cooperative Program is more the global ministry that also helps support our state convention, but these things all support one another, and that’s the essence of cooperation.” –- Chuck Teague, pastor, Country & Town Baptist Church, Mechanicsburg

“For each of the last 18 years, the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey has increased its giving through the Cooperative Program. At 25.1 percent this year, 2009, it’s more than halfway to its goal of a 50/50 partnership between the regional convention and SBC global missions. Part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus is to give yourself away. We give to the Cooperative Program because it is the right thing to do. It’s our channel for giving beyond ourselves, giving that honors God. This year because of the economic crisis, we had to cut our budget by 5.1 percent, but we still increased our CP giving from 25 percent to 25.1 percent. We believe in the Cooperative Program!” -– David Waltz, executive director, Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, Harrisburg, Pa.


“The Cooperative Program is what being a New Testament church is all about. Acts 2 talks about helping those in need. The better you work together, the more people you can help…. We want to do our part, but the Cooperative Program doesn’t start with us and it doesn’t end with us. We’re just a part of it, a part of the way God is using Southern Baptists to reach out and touch people around the world.” –- David Shirley, pastor, Mountain Creek Baptist Church, Greenville

“We believe in the Cooperative Program. We maintain a three-fold emphasis in mission ministry and send several groups each year all over the world, but we cannot go into all the places our [Southern Baptist] missionaries can go. When we give to the Cooperative Program, it makes us part of a greater work. Supporting the Cooperative Program is a serious intent to fund God’s command to go into all the world. We have to do this because God’s command is clear. It’s a matter of obedience. Obedience is a mark of maturity in a believer’s life. A church must exemplify obedience in order for church members to follow the example. We want to be a part of God’s global plan. The only way we can truly touch the world is by joining together with likeminded believers who can do a work we can never do alone. That’s the Cooperative Program.” –- Frank Page, pastor, First Baptist Church, Taylors


“To me, the Cooperative Program is more than money; it’s cooperating with other Southern Baptist churches. Our people work together –- it’s the shoulder-to-shoulder, heart-to-heart work the Cooperative Program was designed to foster. If it weren’t for the Cooperative Program, this church wouldn’t exist. Participating in the Cooperative Program is a debt we owe to those who sacrificed before us. Not giving to the Cooperative Program would be irresponsible. I think a lot of churches that started after the Cooperative Program was started have forgotten they owe that debt.” –- Vince Smith, pastor, CrossPointe Baptist Church, Sioux Falls

“Thank God for the Cooperative Program. After being in [a Southern Baptist] church most of my life and seeing how this thing works, I still think it is incredible. When churches large and small give together, it’s amazing what God can do through this effort. Fairview Baptist Church is a living testimony to this effort called the Cooperative Program.” –- Buck Hill, pastor, Fairview Baptist Church, Aberdeen


“The Cooperative Program allows us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and to do missions the New Testament way … together. I just believe that the Cooperative Program reflects back to the New Testament concept of working together. [The Apostle] Paul called on [the early church] to give and cooperate together. When we cooperate together we can do much more and on a much larger scale than we could begin to do by ourselves. And the Great Commission itself, when you read it, it’s a cooperative thing: We cooperate with God.” –- Mickey Basham, recently retired pastor of Eastanalle Baptist Church, Riceville

“The Cooperative Program is our handle on the world. It’s the way the Lord allows us to touch the world at all levels of the Acts 1:8 commission. Giving to the Cooperative Program and missions comes first, but when we do that, God always provides for us to minister to the needs of the people here as well. It all comes down to being Kingdom-minded. I look at the Cooperative Program for a church as obeying Matthew 6:33: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” –- Roger Freeman, pastor, First Baptist Church, Clarksville

“I just think the church ought to tithe to something we can’t do ourselves. Two can do what one cannot. Two hundred can do a whole lot more than one can do, and on it goes. I don’t know of any other program besides the Cooperative Program that can support nearly 10,000 missionaries with a living wage, and support six seminaries besides. There’s no way one church or a small group of churches could do that…. There’s strength in numbers. One church can’t ride herd on every missionary and make sure they’re trained, educated, equipped and supplied, but our Cooperative Program takes care of that through its mission boards.” –- Tom Mooty, pastor, First Baptist Church, Wartburg


“We support the Cooperative Program because we believe in the ministries it supports. It remains the best way to get the Gospel out and to do the ministries we need to do together.” –- Daniel E. Crosby, pastor, First Baptist Church, Cleburne

“The Cooperative Program is the best way for churches to prove that you can’t outgive God. Although our gifts to the Cooperative Program have been more than $1 million each of the last three years, God has blessed us with an amazing budget surplus every year. I believe if churches would give away more, they would see their total offerings increase.” –- David Dykes, pastor, Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler

“The Cooperative Program is absolutely indispensable to what we’re doing…. That’s what the Cooperative Program is for –- to help break down barriers here in the United States as well as around the world. Some think America is gospel-hardened, but the fact is, they’re gospel-ignorant. God is using the Cooperative Program and cowboy churches to change that.” –- Ron Nolen, church starter/pastor, Cowboy Church of Ellis County, Waxahachie


“People get saved because of [how God uses] the Cooperative Program, and they want [to find] a church because of it. And people work together to make that happen because with the Cooperative Program we’re all together in this. God just brought all this together. Without Cooperative Program support, churches in a lot of these towns like Blanding would close down. In most of these little towns, the only evangelical witness is a Baptist church. Where would the people go if the church closed down? That’s why the Cooperative Program is so important. It’s just as important in Utah as it is anywhere in the world.” –- Don Giddens, missionary to Native Americans and pastor, First Baptist Church, Blanding

“I was saved in a little mission church in Yankton, S.D., when I was 37, and it really made an impact on me that Southern Baptists would care enough to go into small areas like that and establish churches. I think without mission money Yankton Baptist would have ceased to exist. Getting saved when I did showed me the importance of mission work. I realize what the Cooperative Program really does for areas that aren’t self-sufficient. Really, the Cooperative Program is churches working together not only financially but spiritually, with helping hands in the areas of prayer and hands-on assistance.” –- Ron Sathe, pastor, First Baptist Church, Vernal


“Actually I grew up as an independent Baptist and attended an independent Baptist seminary, but had one Southern Baptist professor who talked about the Cooperative Program one day in class and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a better way than the system I was used to where every missionary had to raise his own money.’ The Cooperative Program sounded like a great idea to me. It was one of the main reasons I decided to leave the independent Baptist system and become a Southern Baptist.” –- Terry Dorsett, director of missions, Green Mountain Baptist Association


“The Cooperative Program is a way for me as a pastor to get my church, my local church, involved in God’s global purpose. What’s so exciting to me about the Cooperative Program is that it enables our local efforts to be connected to a worldwide purpose. I tell them, ‘As you give every week you are touching every week North America and the world for Christ.’ We have a passion to reach our community for Christ, but a Great Commission church has a heart for the world too. Our giving to the Cooperative Program comes from our belief that we want to be part of something larger than what we can do on a local level.” –- Thurman Hayes, pastor, Bethel Baptist Church, Yorktown


“The Cooperative Program means something to me personally because it’s directly related to the salvation of not only me, but my mother and my father and my brother and my sister. I’m 43 and the Cooperative Program is doing the same thing today as it did when I was a kid –- it’s reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ who wouldn’t be reached otherwise. I believe if more leaders — pastors –- within our convention had been reached through Cooperative Program missionary efforts as my family was, they would see the value of CP and strive to lead their church to participate wholeheartedly. The value of the Cooperative Program is that it keeps us from thinking just about ourselves and our little projects. I’ve never been to China, but I’m helping someone in China.” –- Kevin White, pastor, First Baptist Church, Longview

“We have a responsibility to the entire world, not just the city of Bremerton. I want our church to grow larger because for me bigger simply means resources to bring the whole ministry of Jesus Christ to our community. Through the Cooperative Program, we’re all bigger.” –- Conrad Dodd, pastor, Kitsap Lake Baptist Church, Bremerton

“We have a heartfelt conviction that our convention stands for an array of missions projects that a church our size could never participate in apart from the Cooperative Program. We are created to enjoy God, to know Him and enjoy Him forever –- and that is together, not individually. The Cooperative Program gives us an opportunity to put that into practice in the here and now.” –- Frank Johnson, pastor, Chestnut Street Baptist Church, Ellensburg

“We have been part of the Cooperative Program so we have to support it. The Southern Baptist Convention has been doing [global outreach] more effectively than a single church could.” –- Chang S. Moon, pastor, Tacoma [Korean] First Baptist Church


“The Cooperative Program is not the only way to do missions, but I believe it’s the best way. Southern Baptist churches can accomplish more together as the body of Christ than we can alone. The Cooperative Program is a proven way for churches of like faith to cooperate together to accomplish God’s agenda. Where our reach ends, the Cooperative Program carries on.” –- Seth Polk, pastor, Cross Lanes Baptist Church, Cross Lanes

“We are very grateful to Southern Baptists for the Cooperative Program. Without the Cooperative Program, this work would be very limited and the things that have happened might not have happened…. The greatest thing that happened through [a CP-funded outreach to sportsmen] is that an entire family got saved.” –- Bobby Thomas, pastor, Indian Creek Baptist Church, Blue


“If we’re going to be Southern Baptist, we need to participate fully. I’m just thrilled with what’s going on in our nation –- with the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board –- and I just want, figuratively speaking, to put in my two cents worth. It’s my duty but it’s also my privilege…. Our little 10 percent to the Cooperative Program isn’t going to make a dent anywhere, but most churches across the SBC are about our size. Every church our size –- or smaller, even –- can have just as significant a role in helping to fulfill the Great Commission around the world as our brothers in the mega-churches…. Sometimes giving is simply a matter of obedience, and when you start giving out of obedience, that heats up your spiritual temperature. When God has dealt with us about some issue, we basically don’t go any further in our spiritual maturity until we do something with that issue. If the issue is about giving, that’s where we bottleneck spiritually –- we don’t grow any farther until we deal with it.” –- Ray Grindstaff, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Laramie

“We’re all a part of the Cooperative Program. We receive some CP money for the resort ministries, and we give some as a congregation. We serve here and we reach out around the world. It’s exciting to be a part of what God is doing through Southern Baptists and the Cooperative Program.” –- John Scudder, pastor, Wilson Community Fellowship.
Compiled by Karen L. Willoughby, managing editor of the Baptist Message, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention and the writer of each month’s Cooperative Program feature in Baptist Press.

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