May 20, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – Monte Shinkle, president of the Missouri Baptist Convention, is asking Missouri Baptists to get behind the Cooperative Program.
"We need a new kind of Project 1000," Shinkle told The Pathway. "If 1,000 Baptists would give $1,000 to the work of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), it would result in the $1 million needed to meet an immediate crisis.
"It is no secret that controversy in our convention has taken a toll on the Missouri Baptist Convention budget," he said. "We seem to have turned the corner and the future looks bright, but we have a long way to go. Financial woes have led to budget cuts and Missouri Baptist Convention downsizing.
"The reduced budget adopted at the 2002 annual meeting has been cut again to maintain financial responsibility."
Shinke believes ministry could strengthen and expand like never before if 1,000 churches would agree to increase giving by 1 percent to the Cooperative Program.
"It would result in good budget growth, lay a solid financial foundation and fuel the vision of planting 100 new Missouri Baptist churches every year for the next 10 years. This will make Kingdom impact on Missouri and the world," the president said.
Shinkle added that he was encouraged by recent financial data released by the MBC financial office. The data revealed that Missouri Baptists have increased CP giving the last three months.
"Many Missouri Baptist churches have faithfully given through the Cooperative Program," Shinkle said. "The flow of money from these churches under ideal circumstances can reach the uttermost parts of the earth in 14 days. The Cooperative Program remains the best pipeline to move our gifts to worthy endeavors around the world."
Shinkle added, however, that he found some of the financial information "very disappointing."
"Many good churches are giving a pittance to the work of the MBC/SBC through the Cooperative Program. Some clearly disagree with the direction the MBC/SBC has taken in recent years," Shinkle said.
"They have expressed that disappointment by cutting off funding that ultimately impacts our missionaries and results in good people losing their jobs. Ministry suffers. That is disappointing."
Shinkle said he is even more disappointed by conservative churches that talk much of their support of the conservative direction of the MBC/SBC and yet don’t carry through with strong support of the Cooperative Program.
"It is time for conservative Missouri Baptits to put their money where their mouth is," Shinkle added. "Go to the convention and vote. Every MBC church should send its messengers to the annual meeting, but voting is not enough. In the midst of difficult times, good Missouri Baptists must support this new direction."