Synergy, cooperation = our Cooperative Program
August 12, 2003
Synergy has been described, "when the output is greater than the sum of the inputs." For example, using an illustration from nature, one draft horse can pull four tons. If you harnessed two draft horses together, they can pull 22 tons. How is this possible?
When one horse is lifting a foot, the other horse has his feet firmly planted. When in the harness together, encouragement and strength are drawn from each to the other. It would also be easy to describe synergy in two words familiar to Southern Baptists — Cooperative Program.
Our Cooperative Program (CP) of missionary and missions support is certainly full of synergism. Its genius lies in the fact that every church and every gift, no matter how large or small; owns a "piece of the world-wide missions action." I learned about this when I was young. It was amazing to me to think that with my weekly offering of 10 to 25 cents I had a direct part of every Southern Baptist mission activity and missionary in the world. It is still an amazing thought.
What a day to be a Southern Baptist! Today, we have more CP gifts for missions, more international missionaries, more North American missionaries, more seminary students (our future pastors and missionaries), more new church starts and more baptisms world-wide than ever before in the entirety of our 158-year history! Every dollar I give to my church and missions buys me a "piece of the action." I believe your giving also adds to eternal rewards as well. Why? Because King David taught us the principle that all warriors in an army are to share equally in the spoils.
"… For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike (1 Sam. 30:24)."
But, among all this good news is some difficult news as well. It is news about our Baptist Family. So you need to know.
During our trip to Iraq a few weeks ago, we had occasion to visit with many of our North African and Middle Eastern missionaries. They told us that in spite of record CP and Lottie Moon gifts, they had not had an increase in their ministry dollars in more than three years. This comes at the same time that a new nation has had its doors thrown wide open to us — Iraq! Why has there been no ministry dollar increases?
New countries and people groups are opening up to the Gospel and missions work so fast, that new personnel deployments have used all the new funds. In addition, historic trust fund earnings for our International Missions Board (IMB) are at record low levels due to a poor performing stock market.
Another of the negative results is that we now have more Southern Baptist people surrendering to serve in overseas missions than the SBC has the financial ability to send. But this challenge can be met.
If 140,000 Missouri Baptists were committed enough to the cause of Christ to give just $1 per day, per year to missions, this would equal $51.1 million. Today, the entire Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual mission’s budget is $17.5 million. We can make a substantial difference in the world — together. Suzie and I have added to our regular giving $1 per day, per year, per person solely for missions. Will you join us?
In this day of strategic missions opportunities, will you and your church gladly be one of those that steps into the harness in an even bigger way to work synergistically (cooperatively) with the other 40,000-plus churches of our Southern Baptist Convention? This is our time — our day in the harness! Together, we can do more than the sum of all our individual efforts. That is synergy. Or rather let’s call it: our Cooperative Program!
You are loved!