WHAT IS CP?
The Cooperative Program—How it came about:
Since its inception in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has always had one mission—the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). To fulfill its assigned part of this divine mandate, each SBC entity made special offering appeals to the churches. This method was referred to as the “societal” approach to missions and resulted in severe financial deficits, competition among entities, overlapping pledge campaigns, and frequent emergency appeals which greatly hampered the expanding ministry opportunities God was giving Southern Baptists. Some entities took out loans to cover operating costs until pledges or special offerings were received.
In 1919, the leaders of the SBC proposed the 75 Million Campaign, a five-year pledge campaign that, for the first time, included everything—the missions and ministries of all the state conventions as well as that of the Southern Baptist Convention. Though falling short of its goals, a God-given partnership of missions support was conceived—The Cooperative Program. Since its launch in 1925, the effectiveness of CP has been dependent upon individuals, churches, state conventions, and SBC entities cooperating, working toward a common goal of sharing the gospel with every person on the planet.
Cooperative Program (CP) Missions—How it works:
Simply put, it begins with you. You give yourself first to God (2 Cor. 5:8). Next, out of gratitude and obedience to God for what He has done for you, you commit to give back to Him, through your church, a portion of what He provides. This is commonly called a tithe and represents ten percent of your income (Lev. 27:30, Mal. 3:10).
Your church decides the next step. Every year your church prayerfully decides how much of its undesignated gifts will be committed to reaching people in your state and around the world through Cooperative Program (CP) Missions. This amount is then forwarded to your state Baptist convention.
During the annual meeting of your state convention, messengers from your church and other churches across the state decide what percentage of CP Missions gifts contributed by local congregations stays in your state to support local missions and ministries. The percentage to be forwarded to the SBC for North American and international missions and ministries is also determined at this time.
At the SBC Annual Meeting, messengers from across the country decide how the gifts received from the states will be distributed among SBC entities. These gifts are used by Southern Baptist entities to send and support missionaries, train pastors, missionaries, and other ministry leaders; provide relief for retired ministers and widows; and address social, moral, and ethical concerns relating to our faith and families.
The bottom line – people around the world hear the gospel and receive Christ.
Note: Your local Southern Baptist association does not receive CP gifts directly. It ministers through gifts received directly from churches and often receives CP gifts indirectly in the form of support from state conventions and the North American Mission Board.
Cooperative Program (CP) Missions—What it does:
Churches in your state work together through your state convention to support a wide array of ministries and missions including: evangelism efforts, children’s homes, volunteer missions, missions education, new churches, colleges and universities, collegiate ministries, camps, and much more. For additional information concerning your state convention, log on to www.sbc.net and click on state conventions.
Through the International Mission Board (www.imb.org), Southern Baptists support approximately 5,375 missionaries who are engaging more than 1,371 different people groups around the world.
New churches numbering over 1,436 are planted through the efforts of more than 5,176 North American Missionaries, whose efforts are coordinated through your North American Mission Board (www.namb.net) and individual state conventions.
Working together, Southern Baptists saw 887,537 new believers baptized in 2003!
Six Southern Baptist seminaries (Southern, Southeastern, Midwestern, Southwestern, Golden Gate, and New Orleans) educate in excess of 15,500 pastors, missionaries, and future church leaders each year.*
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is dedicated to addressing social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith. They also provide print resources that offer scriptural responses to the moral and ethical problems of our culture.
Your prayers and support also undergird the work of the Annuity Board and the Southern Baptist Foundation.
Although they receive no CP Missions support, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) actively promote CP Missions in publications and missions resources.
Cooperative Program (CP) Missions—Its Potential:
If “two are better than one” (Eccl. 4:9), how much better are 16.3 million? This is the current membership in more than 43,000 Southern Baptist churches across the United States. With a global population exceeding six billion and a command to take the gospel to every nation, we must enhance our cooperative efforts if we are going to fulfill Christ’s command.
* Statistic found in the 2003 SBC Book of Reports