JEFFERSON CITY – When you give to your church, you provide foster homes for children, rescue women from human trafficking, support survivors of disasters, start new churches, advance Christian education, offer compassionate care to the elderly, keep roughly 9,000 full-time missionaries on the field, train the next generation of Southern Baptist leaders … and that’s just for starters.
Through the Cooperative Program, your tithes and offering extend beyond the reach of your local church. That’s because your church joins hands with 1,800 other Missouri Baptist churches and 47,000 Southern Baptist churches to accomplish more for God’s kingdom than any one church can accomplish alone.
October is Cooperative Program Month for the churches and church-type missions of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is a month to celebrate the unique funding process that Southern Baptists have used since 1925 to support missions and evangelism around the world.
“The Cooperative Program is the envy of the evangelical world,” according to John Yeats, the MBC’s executive director – treasurer. “When Southern Baptists give through CP, our faithful stewardship has a global impact. By pooling financial resources, Southern Baptists are able to do so much more together than we ever could alone.”
How the Cooperative Program works
Here’s how CP works:
It begins with you – your tithes and offerings to the local church.
Your church then gives a percentage of its annual budget, or a specific dollar amount, to the Missouri Baptist Convention, whose messengers determine how CP funds are distributed.
Currently, the Southern Baptist Convention receives 38 percent of Missouri’s CP gifts and uses those funds to support thousands of full-time missionaries, six seminaries, ethics and religious liberty, and other causes.
The MBC invests 35 percent of CP gifts in Missouri missions and ministries, which include evangelism and discipleship, church multiplication, leadership development, disaster relief, collegiate ministries on 26 Missouri campuses, and much more.
Missouri Baptist entities – the Children’s Home, Baptist Homes & Healthcare Ministries, Hannibal-LaGrange University, Southwest Baptist University, and Missouri Baptist University – receive 22 percent of Missouri’s CP funding.
Finally, 5 percent goes to GuideStone pastor protection benefits, along with production and distribution of The Pathway.
How to celebrate
There are many ways local churches can celebrate Cooperative Program Month and raise awareness of its value. Below are five simple ideas. All of the following resources may be downloaded or ordered free of charge at mobaptist.org/cp.
1. Show a video. Most CP videos are 1-3 minutes in length, ideal for a worship or Bible-study setting. Choose from among dozens of videos.
2. Use flyers and bulletin inserts to teach your congregation about how the Cooperative Program helps Missouri Baptists carry out the Great Commission. This includes the pamphlet, “7 Ways the Cooperative Program Helps Your Church.”
3. Give each member of your congregation a bookmark that informs them about the Cooperative Program in Missouri.
4. Hang up copies of the poster, “How the Cooperative Program Works.”
5. Distribute the children’s activity book, “Let’s Share Together!” Order copies online or by calling the MBC.
Pastors also may want to share a message on stewardship, missions, or evangelism – all of which are enhanced through the cooperative efforts of Missouri Baptists. Check out The Stewardship Journal for “offering talk” ideas at mobaptist.org/stewardship/stewardship-journal.
“The Cooperative Program is the fuel for mission efforts in Missouri and around the world,” said Yeats. “Missouri Baptists see the value of faithful giving and the benefits of working cooperatively to change lives and communities with the gospel.”
Free CP resources are always available at mobaptist.org/cp. Also, check out the free resources from the Southern Baptist Convention – including dozens of compelling videos – at sbc.net/missions/the-cooperative-program.