Resources abound for imparting Cooperative Program vision

EDITORS’ NOTE: The following story is part of a package on giving that appeared in the Southern Baptist Texan earlier this fall. It is reprinted by permission.

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP)--“The Difference” is clear. The challenge is, most Southern Baptists may not know about it.

How many members of your church understand the difference they are making around they world as they participate in the Cooperative Program (CP)? With so many members who are new to Southern Baptist life, many might wonder, “What is the Cooperative Program?”

Are the acronyms IMB, NAMB or ERLC easily recognized by most of your church members?

The bad news is that the Cooperative Program has become one of the best-kept secrets among Southern Baptists. The good news is that there are many resources available to help your congregation understand the impact they are having as they partner with sister churches throughout the SBC to fulfill the Great Commission.

MULTIMEDIA RESOURCES FOR ADULTS

-- “The Difference -– A Resource Suite for Southern Baptist Missions and Ministries, Volume 2” ($15) is scheduled for release around the first of the year. Promoted as “The Ultimate Resource for the Mission-Minded Church,” the DVD-ROM features more than 30 video features, most under three minutes in length, including never-before-seen features highlighting various Southern Baptist missions and ministries. Sermons, Sunday School lessons, PowerPoint presentations, posters, bulletin inserts and graphics also are included on the disc.

The Difference has many potential uses, including: ongoing missions promotion; a special missions emphasis or conference; morning, evening or midweek worship services; new member classes; leadership meetings; educational tool for a church’s budget planning team; small-group Bible studies; church newsletters; and missions bulletin boards.

-- “Project M Praise and Worship” and “Project M Classic”: These music CDs ($8 each and sold separately) feature praise and worship songs from the artists who made them known and beloved hymns of our faith. The CDs are punctuated with stories of how God is using Southern Baptists to change the world through the Cooperative Program. These also will be available after the first of the year.

Suggested uses for Project M CDs include: gift for new members or first-time guests; high attendance day incentive; leadership appreciation/recognition; missions conference prize; leadership training resource for deacons, Sunday School teachers and other church leaders; special emphases (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Senior Adult Day, etc.)

-- “Missionary Moments Video Vignettes, Volume 6” ($6) -– the latest in this series highlights the ministries of six international and six North American missionaries. Hosted by 2006 “American Idol” finalist, Mandisa, all of the vignettes are under three minutes in length.

Among its suggested uses: during the offering; morning, evening, or midweek worship services; Sunday School department time; sermon illustrations; missions emphasis.

(A missions kit for young adults is currently under development and will be available to 2008.)

PRINT RESOURCES FOR ADULTS

Many state conventions carry print resources (and some of the resources listed above) and make them available to their churches. Some of the new print resources available for 2007 include: the “Flip Side Bookmark”; “CP – Making a Difference”; “Hi-Definition Missions”; “Missionary Moments Prayer Guide.” Previews are available on the resource page of the CP website, www.sbc.net/cp.

Suggested uses for the printed resources: bulletin inserts; new member classes; missions emphases; church tract rack; budget/missions committee meetings; church library; leadership training.

Several free or inexpensive resources are available at www.sbc.net/cp including:

-- “Missionary Moments,” an inspirational resource for a church service or small group, is a weekly prayer guide telling the stories of Southern Baptist missionaries across the globe who are supported through the Cooperative Program. It’s available online or in print.

-- A brief history and overview of the Cooperative Program.

-- A free downloadable PowerPoint file titled “CP in a Nutshell,” a 12-slide presentation with short descriptions of the ministries supported by the Cooperative Program such as the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, Southern Baptist seminaries, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the relief ministry for needy church retirees or their widows administered by GuideStone Financial Resources.

-- Free reproducible articles, bulletin inserts, posters and Cooperative Program graphics.

CP EDUCATION FOR KIDS

“Teamwork Works” is an eight-session curriculum that can be downloaded free from www.sbc.net/cp. Children in grades 1-5 can discover how they are part of a worldwide missions team as their church participates in the Cooperative Program. Using fun and creative activities, each session highlights a different state or SBC entity supported through CP. Children will learn about the purpose of seminaries, the role of their state convention and the roles of the IMB, NAMB and the ERLC. A parent letter included in each session gives parents ideas for reinforcing and practicing a missional mindset at home.

LifeWay’s children’s resources containing CP Missions material include:

-- TeamKID, a recreation-based discipleship program. This year’s material, “Count on Me,” provides opportunities in several meetings to reinforce missions giving and educate children about the Cooperative Program. The third meeting, “God Can Count on Me to Use Money Wisely” covers CP giving. Other lessons throughout the year educate children regarding such topics as world hunger and the Lottie Moon offering for international missions and Annie Armstrong offering for North American missions.

-- “I’m a Christian Now!” is a four-week curriculum that helps new Christians grasp the basics of living the Christian life. CP missions is covered in the CD-ROM lesson on missions.

-- “Bible Teaching for Kids” Sunday School materials for the elementary grades typically emphasize CP missions in a November lesson.

From the North American Mission Board: “Backpack Missions” is a new free downloadable resource available at sbcmissioneducation.org. Twenty-four “anytime, anywhere” object lessons teach Great Commission principles and Southern Baptist cooperative missions using a world-trekking character, “Backpack Andy,” who pulls objects from his backpack to teach about missions.

OTHER ENRICHMENT TOOLS

The website actsone8missiontools.com offers a large assortment of free downloadable resources that are categorized according to a church’s “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world.”

A second installment in the “Forged by Faith” video series offers a 20-minute overview of the birth and purpose of CP. Titled “The Cooperative Program: One Sacred Effort,” churches can use the video for Sunday School classes, new member classes or special programs. A free copy of the film was included in the October issue of SBC Life mailed to all pastors at no cost. For information about how to obtain the first two installments of the “Forged By Faith” film series and to view a sample excerpt of each film, visit www.sbc.net/forgedbyfaith.


Adapted from an article by Kay Adkins that first appeared as part of a special report on giving published by the Southern Baptist TEXAN, newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, online at www.sbtexas.com/texan.

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