Lynwood sets good example with 14 percent for CP
By Allen Palmeri
January 20, 2004
CAPE GIRARDEAU – Lynwood Baptist Church, Cape Girardeau, is setting a good example for the rest of Missouri Baptists by maintaining its Cooperative Program (CP) giving at 14 percent of its overall budget.
Ten percent has become a type of benchmark in Missouri Baptist life, said Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Clippard. Churches like Lynwood, he said, are those that view CP as both a denominational strategy to fund missions as well as a biblical mandate.
“There are a lot of churches that will do eight percent to Cooperative Program and two percent to associational missions," Clippard said. “When you see churches that exceed 14 percent, you’re talking about churches that have an exceptional heart for missions. They’re demonstrating an exceptional vision for international missions through the Cooperative Program."
Lynwood Pastor Derek Staples said he has simply maintained what the church has previously established.
“Cooperative Program giving was at 14 percent before I came, and I don’t ever envision that figure decreasing," he said. “It’s a big part of who we are as a church. Our missions impact is growing each year as we look at how we can best impact Cape Girardeau as well as Missouri , around the country and around the globe."
A reduction in CP giving is seen by some churches as a way to free up money. Churches like Lynwood, which are never tempted to lower the CP number, demonstrate how to keep CP giving a high priority.
“A vision for missions comes out of maturity," Clippard said. “As maturity comes, we go beyond self and start looking at the world. When you have a church that’s giving 10, 14, 20 percent, that church has really matured in their worldview."
Lynwood is supporting Southern Baptist missionaries around the world through its CP giving, but it’s not stopping there. Lynwood is sending missionaries of its own to places like Miami and Costa Rica. Staples went with two of the men from his church to Costa Rica in November.
“We prayer-walked in the morning and distributed the Gospels in the afternoon," Staples said. “Just walking up and down the streets and seeing people who are scattered as sheep without a shepherd, who are dealing with a works-righteousness system where they think they can earn their way, that will break your heart to make you want to give more like nothing else.
“If pastors can participate in a missions venture, and get their churches to participate, and if those people come back and communicate that vision with the congregation, that will give them an even greater appetite to pray more, and to do more and even to give more."
When it comes to doing what the Bible teaches us to do in the area of world missions, the vehicle of CP offers a smooth, sure ride, he said.
“The Cooperative Program is the absolute best means of being able to share the Gospel and reach people all over the world," Staples said. “Every church is able to share their nickels and their dollars in order to be able to fulfill the Great Commission. That’s the great joy of our heart."