The Cooperative Program is the plan of Southern Baptists for supporting all seven phases of their benevolent, educational, and missionary work through the regular weekly contributions of the members of the churches to this common fund, in which all the causes share in proportion to their needs.
There are seven reasons why I like this Cooperative Program.
First: It enables me to carry out my part of Christ's program of service—benevolent, educational, and missionary.
When he was here he healed, he taught, and he preached the gospel (Matthew 4:23). When he went away he committed this three-fold ministry to his disciples. They, in turn, have passed it down the generations until now the task is in our hands.
Our Cooperative Program carries out his service of benevolence to the human body in (1) orphans' homes, (2) hospitals, and (3) old ministers' relief.
The ministry to the minds of men, or education, is carried out in our (1) schools and colleges, (2) seminaries, and (3) missionary training schools.
His ministry of preaching the gospel is carried out in (1) state missions, (2) home missions, and (3) foreign missions.
When I give time, talent, or money to the Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists I am carrying out the full plan of Christ to this whole lost world.
Gives Share in Every Task
In the second place, the Cooperative Program enables me to have part in all that is being done. I am not personally able to build an orphans' home, or hospital; to build a school or to send missionaries. But when I put my gift, however small, into the Lord's treasury and four million other Baptists do the same thing the aggregate of all the gifts can then perform all of these tasks. If I am not contributing, therefore, to the full Cooperative Program I am denying myself the privilege of taking a part in the whole.
Third: The Cooperative Program enables me to have some part in the whole work of Christ each and every week of the year. It is very different from making a spasmodic emotional gift to some one cause just once a year.
Fourth: This Cooperative Program enables me to do all that needs to be done because it includes every sort of service to every sort of somebody that any sort of anybody may wish to render. It is the only program in the world that is all inclusive of every human need. Other institutions and organizations serve young men exclusively, or young women and boys, or the sick, but none of them except this, includes all human beings. This Cooperative Program serves needy humanity of all ages, classes, races, colors, nationalities, kindred peoples, and tongues in all parts of the world. Therefore, there is no justification for anyone feeling that it narrows his life and service and influence for him to concentrate all his efforts in this Baptist Cooperative Program. It is the widest, broadest, biggest, fullest, richest program of service to be found on the face of the earth.
Program Embodies God's Plan
Fifth: This Cooperative Program enables me to carry out God's financial program for his Kingdom. If God has a plan for this world, and a plan for every human life, and a plan of salvation, and a plan for the church, and a plan for church officers and ordinances, he certainly has a plan for financing his Kingdom. He surely would not leave the world in its need to haphazard methods of meeting that need. Personally, I believe with all my heart that this plan is for God's people to bring God's money into God's house on God's day for God's work, on a minimum basis of one-tenth of the net income for everybody, and the generous gifts in addition to the extent of one's ability and willingness (Malachi 3:10; 1 Corinthians 12:2).
Sixth: This Baptist Cooperative Program fixes the support of Christ's causes as a permanent principle in life and does not leave them to the temporary emotional appeal. It is the same as the difference between salvation by grace and salvation by works. When the principle is once fixed it does not have to be done over each time there is special need.
Seventh: The Cooperative Program does not leave the causes of Christ to become the victims of temporary weather conditions, depressions in business, or other hindering causes.
The Baptist Cooperative Program justifies itself from every conceivable standpoint. It is obligation in perpetual effort to meet opportunity; it is desire being constantly directed to the discharge of duty; it is power persistently and purposefully promoted to produce prosperity for Christ's causes. It is the soundest, safest, surest, most successful, and most Scriptural method we have ever found for carrying out Christ's will in the world. When all Southern Baptists come to support this Program week by week they alone will be able to carry the whole gospel to the whole world.