Cooperative Program … ‘Friends and Family’
Do you remember the long distance calling plan called “Friends & Family?” In that plan the customer created a list of people – “Friends & Family” including, Mom and Dad, sons and daughters, grandparents, brothers and sisters, other family members, but also best friends, people with similar interests, people who would talk together, people who came together to participate in particular activities, people who came together to save money.
May I suggest another set of “Friends & Family.” This group also is a group of “Friends & Family” who:
• come together to “save money” – i.e. teach and practice Biblical Stewardship
• we also have “similar interests” – i.e. worldwide missions
• we are family in the purest sense of the term – i.e. “brothers and sisters”
• come together to “participate in particular activities” – i.e. Cooperative Program missions and ministries
Obviously, I am talking now about the “Friends & Family” of the Missouri and Southern Baptist Conventions. “Friends & Family” work together for the common good. The Missouri Baptist Family is made up of friends in Christ who are working together cooperatively to reach more friends and family for Christ. The Missouri/Southern Baptist family depends on teamwork, cooperation and partnership. Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision—worldwide evangelism. Cooperation is the willingness to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives—the Missouri/Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) network of missions and ministry organizations. Partnership is the fuel that allows God’s people to attain supernatural results—fellowship in the Spirit of God.
Doug McGlaughlin, one of my friends and a part of the Missouri Baptist family, is a “history buff” and something of a historian in his own right. Brother Doug, also, is a good friend of Cooperative Program missions. I want you to look quickly at the result of some of Brother McGlaughlin’s research:
“I have found no evidence in all of Baptist history of missionaries going out to raise their own support. This appears to be the responsibility of the sending agencies. Robert Samuel Duncan, prior to 1925, raised the money for foreign missions here in Missouri. He lived his entire life in Lincoln and Montgomery counties (Missouri) and is buried near Montgomery City. He traveled all over our state, visiting churches and annual associational meetings taking offerings for foreign missions and Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Ky. There were three other men working in Missouri for other Baptist institutions. These men kept up to half of the money they raised to take care of their own salaries and travel expenses. They rarely ever went to the very small churches because they probably could not get enough there to cover their own expenses. But these small churches can now participate in supporting on a national level: foreign and home missions, six seminaries, and more. On a state level they support: colleges, a children’s home and many other ministries. They do all this and more by giving to the Cooperative Program.”
It’s true, regardless of the size of the church, the family of Missouri Baptist churches participate together in worldwide missions and ministry through the Cooperative Program. Look back at the phrase in Brother McGlaughlin’s paragraph that says “They rarely ever went to the very small churches…” The beauty of the Cooperative Program is that the largest Southern Baptist churches in Missouri participate together with the smallest Southern Baptist churches in Missouri.
And together, Missouri/Southern Baptist churches:
• place approximately 10,500 missionaries around the world sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ…
• support approximately 5,100 NAMB missionaries, starting more than 1,700 SBC churches in the United States last year…
• support approximately 5,400 IMB missionaries, currently working with more than 1,200 nations and people groups around the world…
• support six world-class seminaries, including Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City…
• provide seminary education for more than 15,000 future Gospel ministers training to fulfill the calling that God has placed on their lives…
• educate and inform Missouri/Southern Baptists and the world concerning the moral issues of the day…
• baptized more than 831,000 new Christians last year.
Together we participate in over 30 different ministries through the Southern Baptist Convention and the Missouri Baptist Convention, including, Disaster Relief, Men’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry and Woman’s Ministry Union, Children’s Ministries, the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, Family Ministries, Small Group Discipleship Ministries, Pastoral and Church/Minister Relations, Student Ministries, college and university education at Hannibal-LaGrange College and Southwest Baptist University, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Collegiate Ministries in the secular colleges and universities in the Show-Me state, Partnership Missions, Biblical Stewardship, Worship Leadership, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC and the Christian Life Commission of the MBC, Evangelism and Spiritual Awakening, Support Services including financial services and accounting for your Convention staff and Technology Services for the staff, churches and associations of the MBC.
And I’m sure I’ve left something out … but that’s the beauty of the Cooperative Program … there is more to do and more being done than any one church can do and more than any one person can keep up with. From the smallest to the largest church – we all play our part and do our share to be witnesses of Jesus Christ “… in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the end of the earth”.
Friends and family work together for the common good. The Missouri Baptist family is made up of friends in Christ who are working together cooperatively to reach more friends and family for Christ. In Missouri, Southern Baptist churches from Tarkio to Hayti; churches from the northeast to the southwest corners of the state; from the Arkansas line to the border of Iowa; small churches and large churches; suburban and rural churches; churches in the middle of our cities and churches out in the middle of nowhere – all types and sizes of Show-Me Baptist churches come together to reach Missouri and the world for Christ. That’s what I call real “Friends & Family”!