FIRST-PERSON: It's time to increase our Cooperative Program giving
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- Increasing your church's financial giving through the Cooperative Program is like your church giving more money through its ministry budget. Just as the ministry budget moves up the financial base of support in your church, it moves up the overall financial base of our Great Commission ministries of our Southern Baptist Convention.
The answer is through the Cooperative Program
Over 90 years ago, the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention became weary of continual pleas for support from various ministries of our convention. This is why the Cooperative Program was born. It became the unified strategy for financial support of the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The easiest way for churches to consistently support the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention through the Cooperative Program is by inserting a regular line item in their budget. This provides the church consistency in their financial support and gives the ministries of our convention consistency in receiving funds.
This is a much better option than our SBC ministry leaders spending time making multiple appeals to our churches to support the work of our convention. It just makes sense for pastors, associational employees, state executives and their employees and all Southern Baptist entity presidents and employees to talk about one thing: the Cooperative Program.
A humble appeal for increasing your church's financial support through the Cooperative Program
If I were an employee of our Southern Baptist Convention or a missionary, I would rather the churches increase their giving through the Cooperative Program than having to continually raise my own financial support from multiple churches. The Cooperative Program is something every church can support financially regardless of the size of their membership. This is our agreed upon, unified, strategic financial plan; therefore, we do not need to minimize nor undermine it in any way. Through the Cooperative Program, each cause shares financial resources proportionately.
While some may want to designate monies or support only some of the ministries of the convention, this does not provide a healthy way to support the entire work of the Southern Baptist Convention. Blessing just one ministry at the exclusion of others eventually hurts other ministries of the Great Commission. There is not one pastor I know that appreciates a church member who only designates their contributions around the ministry budget of the church. This creates an unhealthy culture. Conversely, we believe in the autonomy of the local church and will honor and appreciate what you believe God wants your church to do.
Therefore, the financial priority of each of our churches should be to support the Cooperative Program. I want to appeal to each of our churches to increase your financial support through the Cooperative Program. As well, for the sake of the Gospel, please do so sacrificially and do so as soon as possible. Increasing your church's support through the Cooperative Program is the greatest way you can forward the work of reaching the world for Christ. Not one of us can adequately support any one cause, but all of us together can pray, plan, give, cooperate and support every cause.
If you are concerned about missionaries coming home
If you are concerned about some of our missionaries having to come home and the decrease of our missionary forces, the greatest thing your church can do to help turn it around is increase your giving through the Cooperative Program. It helps build our base of support financially, which in turn will increase our ability to reach the world.
Pastor and church leaders, please go to your finance committee, deacon body, church board, elders or whoever is key to leading in the decisions of your church financially and appeal to them to increase your church's financial support through the Cooperative Program as soon as possible.
This helps us reach our states, our nation and our world for Christ. This financial decision is a Gospel decision. In order for us to push back on the lostness of our world by advancing the Gospel, we must increase our giving through the Cooperative Program. If we are going to reach the nations, as well as help every Gospel endeavor we do together within our own respective states and across America, we need to increase our financial support through the Cooperative Program.
I pray your church will join my church and other churches that are stepping up during this time and increasing our financial giving through the Cooperative Program.