WINNEMUCCA, Nev.(BP) –- A short video is shown each week at First Baptist Church in Winnemucca, Nev., illustrating Southern Baptist work either in Nevada, North America or the world.
Before the offering is received, worshippers are told that 10 percent of what they give goes through the Cooperative Program to help fund the work of missionaries such as those in the various videos.
Stace Cupples, pastor of the church in the town of less than 8,000 people, knows firsthand the Cooperative Program's reach.
"I've been part of the Cooperative Program all my life," said Cupples, who became the church's pastor five years ago after working as a Nevada Baptist Convention strategist. "I was a [North American Mission Board] missionary and so was my father, so I'm a product of it."
He knows from personal experience that CP dollars enable missionaries to do God's work, Cupples said, and has seen -- since before his start in ministry 15 years ago -- the beneficial effects of churches cooperating in fulfilling the Great Commission.
"When churches are cooperating financially, serving the Lord together so that missionaries can do what God has called them to do, God's Word will spread and people will be saved," Cupples said.
About 100 join in Sunday morning worship at First Baptist Winnemucca. Because the church is debt-free, it is able to give generously to missions through the Cooperative Program, the Northeast (Nevada) Baptist Association, and local and regional ministries. The Cooperative Program is the way Southern Baptists work together for the expansion of God's Kingdom.
Locally, First Baptist's children's ministry and music team minister to residents of a nursing home. The church holds its Vacation Bible School at community locations easily accessible by children, such as the three city parks for this summer's venues, or the backyards where VBS was held last year. And in addition to the church's food pantry, the youth serve in a local soup kitchen.
"Ministry goes beyond the walls of the church," Cupples said. "When we focus only on the world inside our walls, then we become complacent. When we all have the same goal to serve God and share God's love, the generational gaps fade. That is what we desire to do. We disciple each other."
The church was founded in January 1955 through home-based outreach.
"We started from a small Sunday School class, then an old renovated house that still houses an office and classroom, to a two-story building erected in the mid-1970s to a brick sanctuary built in the mid-'90s," Cupples said, describing the building itself as a ministry. Read More