SBC Life Articles

Cooperative Program: The Fuel That Drives Southern Baptist Missions and Ministries


A strong home base of ministry with an aggressive global vision for reaching the nations with the Gospel has been the driving passion of Southern Baptists since the SBC was formed.

During the first eighty years of the Convention’s existence, its missions and ministry entities routinely experienced financial hardship. Things came to a head in the first two decades of the twentieth century when many of our boards incurred massive debt. It seemed at the time that some would not survive.

Southern Baptists desperately needed a funding mechanism that would provide a steady, dependable source of income for the missions boards and seminaries.

In 1925, leading pastors in the Convention led the Convention to adopt a plan by which churches could send a weekly or monthly check to their respective state Baptist convention and provide support for a whole range of state, national, and international ministries. They named this plan the Cooperative Program.

The Cooperative Program is the fuel that drives the missions and ministries of the Convention. It is Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving.

Under this plan, state Baptist conventions retain a portion of their churches’ contributions for ministry in their respective states. The state conventions forward the balance to the Southern Baptist Convention to fund its missions and ministries.

Since 1925, more than $5.4 billion dollars has been contributed through the SBC (national) portion of the Cooperative Program to help fuel Southern Baptist missions and ministry causes of international missions, North American missions, and theological education. This is more than the combined cumulative totals of the Lottie Moon Offering since 1888 and the Annie Armstrong Offering since 1933.

The Cooperative Program fuels Southern Baptists’ passion to propagate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by building a strong home base with an aggressive global vision.

October is “Cooperative Program Emphasis Month.” Each local church is challenged to study the Cooperative Program. Learn about it. See what it does. Pray about your part. Show the “1 Percent Challenge” video to your church.

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  • SBC Staff