Alabama Baptist brothers and sisters: I believe in, participate in and thank God for the Cooperative Program.
The CP is personal for me because I am the pastor of an SBC church but also because my father has been an SBC pastor for more than 40 years.
I learned at an early age the value of cooperating with our sister churches. Stories of missionaries during Mission Friends, Lottie’s Tea Cakes, Vacation Bible Schools like StarQuest and Amazon Outfitters – these moments pointed us to our shared heritage of missional cooperation.
While a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, my tuition was subsidized by faithful brothers and sisters across our convention who gave through CP. This great cooperative work left an indelible mark on my life.
Our CP is rooted in what Jesus called us to do. The Great Commission is clear: “Go make disciples.”
Almost 100 years ago, our fathers and mothers in faith moved with wisdom to set up a mechanism that would bolster Gospel work. Churches of many sizes and from many contexts lock arms when we give through the Cooperative Program. “Great Commission Baptists” are convinced that we can accomplish more when we partner together.
Missionaries, church planters, six world class seminaries, resources for our churches and tools to reach our communities – these are all benefits of cooperating together.
Alabama Baptists benefit directly from this cooperation too. When Shelby and I experienced a difficult season last year, Dr. Rick Lance and our State Board of Missions staff were among the first to reach out with encouragement and concern. Our CP giving affords Alabama Baptists the best staff of any convention in the SBC.
If you’ve ever gone to Shocco Springs for a weekend retreat, sent your youth to Super Summer or called Alabama WMU for Annie Armstrong materials, you received tangible return on your CP investment.
At Lineville, we partner with NAMB church planters in Las Vegas and IMB missionaries in Dublin, Ireland. Faithful CP giving makes these partnerships possible. How else could a church in rural east Alabama connect with the nations in such an active way?
With joy, I commend the Cooperative Program to you and trust your faithful giving will continue. May our cooperative work and witness grow for the glory of God and the reaching of the nations through the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ben Curlee serves as a trustee for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. He is the lead pastor of Lineville Baptist Church in Carey Baptist Association.