My generation of pastors has been accused of worshipping the Cooperative Program by some of the younger generation of pastors that are upcoming. Of course, my answer to that remark is simply that I only worship Jesus Christ, but I do have great respect for the Cooperative Program of giving among Southern Baptists.
I believe in the Cooperative Program of giving for several reasons:
- It has proven to be an effective giving plan for more than 85 years. Those who criticize supporting it have not understood how this plan of giving has financially supported all the ministries of Southern Baptists globally. I have yet to hear of a better plan!
- It is a biblical plan of giving. In Acts 2, the early church was encouraged to pool their collective resources together and bring those resources to the body so that ministry needs could be met. This is exactly what every local church does each Sunday when you collect the tithes and offerings from the congregation. The monies are used to support the entire ministry budget of the church. This is what our associations, state conventions and Southern Baptist Convention do through the Cooperative Program. It is the ministry lifeline of our work together around the world!
- It is a simple plan that allows all size churches to participate.
Every Southern Baptist church has been encouraged through the years to give 10 percent of their undesignated offerings through the Cooperative Program plan of giving. Why 10 percent? It is the amount of the tithe in Scripture! Churches can tithe too. I find it ironic that pastors stand to teach the tithing principle to their congregations and yet do not practice the principle when it comes to the giving of their church to the Kingdom.
Some of them want to decide on the percentage (and most of the time it is not 10%) and they want to designate what their church gives too. What if every tither in the local church designated the Lord’s tithe to their own special ministry project in the local church? What would happen to the budget? Who would pay the pastor? I can almost guarantee you that most designated monies would not go to salaries and benefit packages. (You may want to really think about this approach!) Also, only a few ministries in the church would be supported if this method of giving was followed.
- It is the cooperative way. Through the Cooperative Program plan of giving, local churches, associations, state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention voluntarily work together to help support our mission causes at home and abroad. It is the most effective plan. It is a biblical plan. It is a simple plan. It is a cooperative plan. This is why I believe in it, why I have always supported it and why I continue to defend it!
It is my prayer that Southern Baptists will continue to support this effective, biblical, simple and cooperative plan of giving until Jesus comes again!