SBC Life Articles

Partners in the Harvest

Partners in the Harvest is the theme of the nationwide campaign of Southern Baptists on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Cooperative Program in the year 2000. The jointly sponsored effort of the Baptist state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention is being directed by an eighteen-member steering committee made up of state and SBC leaders.

The campaign will use the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Cooperative Program to remind Southern Baptists of its great history, its continuing value, and the need to support it strongly as a new millennium begins. The campaign strategy for the year 2000 is to enlist as many pastors and churches as possible in three key areas: "hands-on" participation in Cooperative Program mission projects; local church education emphases about Cooperative Program; and sacrificial giving through the Cooperative Program. The sub-theme of Partners in the Harvest is "Go … Give." Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, notes, "The theme Partners in the Harvest captures the essentials of Southern Baptist work. The 'harvest' is our common task of reaching the lost. 'Partners' indicates our common methodology of working together. Every Baptist pastor I know has a heart for leading his congregation to reach beyond their own community with the gospel. The pastors, as always, will be key leaders in this effort and I believe they will respond enthusiastically to this opportunity to be a part of a far reaching, effective missions endeavor."

In order to promote personal awareness of what the Cooperative Program does, pastors will be challenged to enlist their members to participate in a Cooperative Program project. The projects will include efforts such as NAMB's World Changers, associational hunger projects, short term mission trips in the USA or overseas, state convention church planting endeavors, and many other activities. With the encouragement of associational, state, and national leaders, pastors and churches will choose one or more projects that they find compelling. "This is the 'Go' element of our celebration," said David Hankins, vice president for the Cooperative Program and convener of the steering committee. "What a tremendous accomplishment it can be to have more Southern Baptists than ever before personally involved in Cooperative Program missions in the year 2000."

The steering committee believes this personal touch will help church members better understand what they support all year through their Cooperative Program gifts. Committee member Anthony Jordan, Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma said, "The 75th anniversary affords us the opportunity to educate new generations to the effectiveness and efficiency of doing missions through the Cooperative Program."

The campaign also includes a unique giving goal. Leaders hope churches will respond to the celebration by giving $750 million on the occasion of the 75th anniversary. Morris Chapman said, "Not only will there be more Baptists involved in hands-on missions than ever before, but also Baptists will give more to the Cooperative Program than ever before." The goal encompasses state and national Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong Mission Offerings and all state convention mission offerings. The total of this composite goal is about $65-75 million more than projected receipts if no challenge was made.

"In a way, it is a new 75 Million Campaign," said Hankins. The 75 Million Campaign in the early 1920s was the first time state and national SBC conventions and institutions participated in joint missions support promotion. It was also the forerunner of the Cooperative Program which was established in 1925. The Partners in the Harvest emphasis is reminiscent of that early campaign. It calls for a common state and SBC theme, a composite goal, and aggressive local church involvement. South Carolina's Executive Director Carlisle Driggers is pleased "that the SBC and all the state conventions are working together to plan a much needed emphasis on the Cooperative Program. I have no doubt that the Cooperative Program concept was a gift from God in 1925 and continues to be at this time in our Baptist history."

SBC LIFE and other Baptist publications will be featuring Partners in the Harvest information throughout the campaign. Pastors can receive information on campaign involvement by calling 1-800-722-9407 or their state convention Cooperative Program office.



Members of the 75th Anniversary Steering Committee

Nate Adams; Vice President of Mobilization and Mission Education, North American Mission Board; Mike Arrlington, Vice President of Corporate Affairs Division, LifeWay Christian Resources; James Austin, Director of Cooperative Program Promotions, SBC Executive Committee; David Button, Vice President for Public Relations and Development, International Mission Board; Morris Chapman, President and Chief Executive Officer, SBC Executive Committee; Carlisle Driggers, Executive Director, South Carolina Baptist Convention; David Hankins, Vice President for Cooperative Program, SBC Executive Committee; Anthony Jordan, Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma; Jack Kwok, Executive Director, State Convention of Baptists in Ohio; Glenn Majors, Director of Cooperative Program Services, The Baptist General Convention of Texas; Eddy Oliver, Director of Cooperative Program, Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia; Bobbie Patterson, Associate Executive Director of Missions, Woman's Missionary Union; Paige Patterson, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary/President, Southern Baptist Convention; James Powell, Director of Cooperative Program Relations, SBC Executive Committee; Gary Rickman, Ministry Coordinator, Tennessee Baptist State Convention; Jimmie Sheffield, Associate Executive Director, Arkansas Baptist State Convention; John Sullivan, Executive Director, Florida Baptist Convention; and Fermin Whittaker, Executive Director, California Southern Baptist Convention.

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