N.C. church, pastor honored for cooperative missions vision

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--Dudley Shoals Baptist Church in Granite Falls, N.C., and its pastor, Don Ingle, were singled out as exemplifying Southern Baptists' cooperative missions spirit when they were presented the M.E. Dodd Cooperative Program Award during the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting June 15.

In his 32-year pastorate, Ingle has led the congregation to increase its (CP) Missions giving through the Cooperative Program from about 10 percent to 25 percent of its undesignated receipts. In 1999, the congregation reached a goal of giving $100,000 through the Cooperative Program and is projected to give $142,000 in 2004.

The congregation has maintained its commitment to percentage growth in missions giving through two building programs, a major land purchase and economic slowdowns.

In an age when Southern Baptist missions advance is outstripped by population growth, SBC Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman praised Ingle and the congregation for their steadfast commitment to increased missions giving so the Gospel can be proclaimed across North America and to the farthest reaches of the globe.

Praising Ingle for his "outstanding commitment" and "faithfulness" to missions giving through 39 years of pastoral ministry, Chapman asked the 8,000 registered messengers to join him in applauding the congregation.

Ingle told the assembly he has found fulfillment in leading his congregation to be part of a worldwide missions partnership that allows them to accomplish more than they ever could as a lone church.

"This award is a great honor for me and the church God called me to pastor," Ingle said. "It brings me great satisfaction to know that I am a partner with 5,400 international missionaries and more than 5,200 North American missionaries and that we were a partner in baptizing more than 800,000 people in 2003."

Ingle said God has been faithful to bless the congregation as it has been faithful to missions giving, Ingle said.

"During our building programs and church growth, there were economic slowdowns in our area, and some suggested that we cut the Cooperative Program," Ingle said. "As their pastor, my response was, 'Cut the pastor's salary,' then if we could not meet our financial obligations, we would look to other areas to cut -- but not the Cooperative Program."

Ingle said during those lean years not only has missions giving increased, but the staff has been "properly cared for," the church has paid off any indebtedness earlier than expected, and 30 acres of land have been purchased on which to build.

"Our church continues to use Southern Baptist materials to teach missions in Brotherhood, WMU, Acteens, GAs, RAs and Mission Friends. In all, our church supports missions with 40 percent of the weekly collection dollar."

The congregation invests Vacation Bible School offerings in worldwide missions, Ingle said. Just the week before the meeting in Indianapolis, 328 children and adults enrolled in their Bible school were taught that their giving helped missionaries in Charleston, W.V., Japan, Indonesia and Uganda "so they could win people to Jesus Christ" -- and they responded by giving $700 to missions through the Cooperative Program.

The M.E. Dodd Award is named after the chairman of the Southern Baptist commission that in 1925 recommended creation of the Cooperative Program, the SBC's unified budget approach to funding missions efforts at home and abroad.

The award is presented each year "to the person, congregation, or organization that has demonstrated continuous long-term excellence in supporting the principles, practices and spirit of CP Missions."


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