The M.E. Dodd Cooperative Program Award

Dudley Shoals Baptist Church in Granite Falls, North Carolina, and its pastor, Don Ingle, were singled out as exemplifying Southern Baptists' cooperative missions spirit when they were presented the M.E. Dodd Cooperative Program Award during the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting June 15.

In his thirty-two-year pastorate, Ingle has led the congregation to increase its (CP) Missions giving through the Cooperative Program from about 10 percent to 25 percent of its undesignated receipts. In 1999, the congregation reached a goal of giving $100,000 through the Cooperative Program and is projected to give $142,000 in 2004.

The congregation has maintained its commitment to percentage growth in missions giving through two building programs, a major land purchase, and economic slowdowns.

In an age when Southern Baptist missions advance is outstripped by population growth, SBC Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman praised Ingle and the congregation for their steadfast commitment to increased missions giving so the gospel can be proclaimed across North America and to the farthest reaches of the globe.

Ingle told the assembly he has found fulfillment in leading his congregation to be part of a worldwide missions partnership that allows them to accomplish more than they ever could as a lone church.

"This award is a great honor for me and the church God called me to pastor," Ingle said. "It brings me great satisfaction to know that I am a partner with 5,400 international missionaries and more than 5,200 North American missionaries and that we were a partner in baptizing more than 800,000 people in 2003."

"During our building programs and church growth, there were economic slowdowns in our area, and some suggested that we cut the Cooperative Program," Ingle said. "As their pastor, my response was, 'Cut the pastor's salary,' then if we could not meet our financial obligations, we would look to other areas to cut — but not the Cooperative Program."

Ingle said during those lean years not only has missions giving increased, but the staff has been "properly cared for," the church has paid off any indebtedness earlier than expected, and thirty acres of land have been purchased on which to build.

The M.E. Dodd Award is named after the chairman of the Southern Baptist commission that in 1925 recommended creation of the Cooperative Program, the SBC's unified budget approach to funding missions efforts at home and abroad.

The award is presented each year "to the person, congregation, or organization that has demonstrated continuous long-term excellence in supporting the principles, practices, and spirit of CP Missions."

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