Celebrate Cooperative Program Sunday on April 10by Mike Creswell, BSCNC
Our Cooperative Program is a practical, low-cost way for Baptist churches of all sizes to share the costs of sending missionaries and supporting ministries. It is how Baptists respond to the Bible’s missions instructions to take the gospel far and wide and to send missionaries.
Sixty percent of the 2016 Cooperative Program budget funds the Baptist State Convention’s ministries in North Carolina, including its related institutions and agencies. Forty percent of the funds go on to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) as we partner with more than 46,000 autonomous Southern Baptist churches — and 41 other state conventions — across the country to support international missions, North American missions and the six SBC seminaries, including Southeastern in Wake Forest, plus the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
In 2015, N.C. Baptists led all other state conventions in giving more than $13.65 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions and more than $5.89 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions. Thus, through CP and offerings, N.C. Baptists sent more than $30 million to the SBC — more than 60 percent of their total missions giving. That compares to about $20 million used for missions and ministry in our state.
N.C. Baptists have increased the SBC’s share of their Cooperative Program budget every year for the past 10 years, and sent $1.6 million more to the SBC in 2015 than in 2014.
The Cooperative Program is shockingly simple: N.C. Baptists adopt a budget at their annual meeting in November. During the year, churches send in their contributions to our Baptist State Convention accountants, who allocate and distribute the funds according to the budget. That’s it in a nutshell.
Baptists from churches like yours serve on the boards of directors and trustees that run our mission boards and other work. The convention was organized to serve the churches.
Most of our churches would be unable to send even one missionary. But consider all that Baptists are able to do together.
Overseas, our Cooperative Program helps support thousands of missionaries serving around the world and sharing the gospel with 949 people groups. They helped baptize more than 190,000 new believers a year and start more than 13,000 new churches a year.
Consider that across North America, our Cooperative Program helps support missionaries and church planters who are starting nearly 1,000 new churches a year — that’s some 82 new churches a month and about two new churches every day.
In North Carolina, our Cooperative Program enables the Baptist State Convention’s Church Planting Team to assist in starting over 100 new churches a year in our state. Meanwhile, our convention’s staff helps equip existing churches for ministry and outreach in many ways. A bold new effort to reach non-Christian internationals is being launched to reach more of our state’s estimated 5.8 million lost people, who also speak more than 300 languages.
The Cooperative Program helps support many other ministries: Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, Fruitland Baptist Bible College, N.C. Baptist Aging Ministry, among others.
On April 10, celebrate what we Baptists can do together through our simple way of partnering on the costs of missions and ministry! To learn more about the Cooperative Program, go to ncbaptist.org/cpresources.