SBC Life Articles

CP Missions “World” View Fuels Local Churches’ Enthusiasm

"Without the broad vision of CP missions, you have tunnel vision that limits you," says Bob Remick, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Brant Rock, Massachusetts. "With it you can see that the more you're able to give, the more you will be blessed."

Remick echoes the sentiments of pastors who share a Southern Baptist worldview that has produced what has been labeled "the most effective Christian missions support concept in existence."

It is called the Cooperative Program, or CP Missions. In it, Southern Baptists have a multifaceted, comprehensive, far-reaching missionary endeavor that is undergirded by a national network of churches united by a common bond in Christ, a common understanding of the church, and a common passion for preaching the gospel to the entire world.

Any vision that doesn't envision the "uttermost parts of the world" is too small. "I believe God wants to do something extraordinary among us," Executive Committee President Morris Chapman told last year's Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, "and it will come only when we are able to determine what God wants of us for the sake — not simply of myself, not of my church, not of my association, not of my state convention, not of the SBC — but when we discover what it is that God wants us to do for the Kingdom's sake."

Any plan capable of implementing that vision must be just as expansive. That is why CP Missions is so vital. Robert Butt, pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Saskatchewan, Canada, appreciates the expansiveness of CP Missions. "We like being part of something bigger than we are," he said. "The Cooperative Program motivates us and stretches us and gets us involved … around the world; because we have a system that is both simple and effective."

After seventy-seven years of Cooperative Program operation, the results — the lives that have been touched — speak for themselves. More than 31 million people have been baptized worldwide through the cooperative efforts of more than 21 thousand International and North American missionaries, hundreds of thousands of volunteers, and more than 42 thousand local congregations. In addition, more than 141 thousand pastors, missionaries and ministry leaders have been equipped through six seminaries, and over 31 thousand retired pastors and their widows, many living below poverty level, have received assistance. This cooperative "world" view has also empowered Southern Baptists to support colleges and universities; plant thousands of new congregations; care for children, the poor, the elderly; reach out to minorities and to internationals in the USA; and to speak up for the family and for religious liberty. The list of Kingdom accomplishments goes on.

Pastors like Tom Jones of the First Baptist Church in Hamilton, Montana, see CP Missions as a bonding agent. "The church is a family connected by the Cooperative Program to all other Southern Baptist families across the nation," he said. "When you have people who have that passion and that calling, and churches who are committed to supporting those called, when you put those ingredients together, to me that's the best recipe for getting the work done, for accomplishing the Great Commission."

CP Missions multiplies the missions efforts of local congregations. George Ray, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, Minnesota, knows that by itself, the church's impact on the world would be minimal. "If we didn't have the Cooperative Program and tried to do missions on our own, we certainly couldn't do very much. This is the beginning place, the launching place, but we also have a joy in being involved in the work that goes so far beyond us.

"It is quite simply the best plan," Ray continued. "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."

Anthony Jordan, Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma says CP Missions is one of the main reasons why he is a Southern Baptist. "The most distinctive reason I am a Southern Baptist is because of the way we do missions," said Jordan. "The Cooperative Program allows me to put my arms around the world."

The bottom line of this cooperative worldview is its effectiveness. Whether state missions, North American missions, or international missions, CP Missions is reaching more people and sending more people than ever before. "People get saved because of the Cooperative Program," according to missionaries Don and Minnie Giddens of Utah. "People work together to make that happen, because with the Cooperative Program, we're all in this together."

The CP Missions "world" view simply stated is: Caring people partnering together to touch the world.



It's Always Been About Missions

In the beginning — Southern Baptists came together for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the whole denomination in one sacred effort for the propagation of the gospel. In other words, we came together to work as one, as a team, to ensure that the gospel would be shared around the world. Simply put, we decided the best way to fulfill the command of Christ was to combine our efforts, energies, and resources. We came together to do missions.

In the beginning — the vision was the same, but the roads to fulfilling the mission took various directions. Assignments were made, trustee boards were elected, and everyone set out to rally the churches around their cause so their part of the mission could advance. The result – expanded ministries, expanded debt, expanded appeals, and exasperated churches. Yet, it was all about missions.

In the beginning — (or 1925, to be exact) God led Southern Baptists to launch the Cooperative Program for the purpose of doing missions on a broader scale — more effectively and more efficiently. Churches were encouraged to unify their own loosely-knit missions efforts and to teach their members about the biblical principles of stewardship — all for the purpose of reaching people, doing missions.

From the beginning — the Cooperative Program has always been about missions, beginning with missions in the states. The vast majority of all the missions and ministries coordinated by state conventions are empowered by the Cooperative Program. Some believe that America is saturated with the gospel, but a quick review of the morning paper or local news programs reveals there is much to do at home. The mission in the states is far from over.

From the beginning — the Cooperative Program was designed to go beyond the borders of individual states. Its intention was, and is, to do missions comprehensively and cohesively across North America and Internationally to the largest and smallest places on the planet. With an expanding global population and changing world climate, we must enhance our cooperative efforts if the mission is to be accomplished.

What was true then is true today. Whether it's preparing pastors, missionaries, and ministry leaders, or sending them to the place God is calling, it's all about missions. Whether it is standing up for the family, for religious liberty, or assisting a retired pastor, missionary, or widow struggling to make the month and the money match, it's all about missions.

From the beginning it was called the Cooperative Program. Today it is often referred to as CP Missions. That's a shorthand way of saying the Cooperative Program is missions! The connection is clear: it's always been about missions.



Cooperative Program (CP) Missions Day is April 14 and CP Fall Focus is observed in October. Help your congregation catch the CP Missions vision and see the people they are touching every day by previewing and purchasing resources online at www.cpmissions.net or by calling 1-800-722-9407.

    About the Author

  • SBC Staff