Where do I start, and how do I end? The Cooperative Program of Great Commission Baptists is our Lord’s anointed means of effectively fulfilling the Great Commission.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 provides this principle: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.”
However, the Cooperative Program goes well beyond the “two.” More than 45,000 Southern Baptist churches with an approximate total membership of 16 million support the Cooperative Program.
Think about the force of this unprecedented missions movement. Every faithful Southern Baptist church – whatever the size, circumstances or location – shares in the wonderful, incredible, global missions involvement.
The greatness of this missions movement is seen in how these offerings flow from individuals through churches into the 42 state conventions and then into the Great Commission ministries of Southern Baptists. This is the same way streams flow into rivers and rivers flow into the ocean.
I have always been pleased by the effectiveness of the stewardship of Cooperative Program resources. Our Southern Baptist Convention, through the Cooperative Program, invests more than 70 percent of receipts in world missions ministries (international and North American). More than 22 percent is invested in theological education ministries of our six fine seminaries.
May I give a word of personal testimony here? I have family members who serve as IMB missionaries.
Their ministry would be impossible without the Cooperative Program.
My opportunity to earn degrees from Southwestern Seminary and Southern Seminary would have been impossible without the support of the Cooperative Program for our seminaries.
Our Lord greatly blesses and uses the Cooperative Program, which affords all Southern Baptist churches to tithe. Each church encourages church members to tithe. I believe if we ask our membership to tithe, we as churches should tithe also. “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…” (Malachi 3:10). We have a wonderful opportunity as churches to tithe through the Cooperative Program.
Ray Stonecypher, pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Ardmore, serves as a trustee for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.