Point of View: Cooperative Program—The way to go
by JOHN SULLIVAN
Executive Director-Treasurer

Article Date: Apr 14, 2010

Most Southern Baptists know that we are anticipating a report and recommendations from the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force at the 2010 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando. The Task Force was initiated at the June 2009 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention to study and recommend how the SBC can become more involved in penetrating the lostness of the world. I commend the group for their honest and open candor and willingness to listen to what Southern Baptists are saying.

It is my conviction that the Task Force will bring the strongest recommendation possible on Cooperative Program. It becomes more apparent every time we study missions and evangelism in any context that God has given to Southern Baptists a delivery system for missions and
education unparalleled in church history. The Cooperative Program is God-given and missions-driven. It affords the greatest possibility of stewardship investment and missions accountability at every level of Baptist life. Many times, in print and conversation, I have said: The Cooperative Program is not a sacred cow, but it is a sacred how.

Members of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force have given great attention to our common work as believers in Christ. My prayer and plea is that they will continue to do so. The Cooperative Program should be a uniting factor, not a divisive factor. Whether on the church, association, state convention, or Southern Baptist Convention level, we always do more and do better when we work together. The Cooperative Program is the centerpiece of cooperation and must be the central conduit of our work in the world. There is no more expedient way to get the Gospel to the nations. Our missionaries and seminary students deserve our support.

Talking about the Great Commission will not equate with doing the Great Commission. There are only two things Jesus told us to do in the Great Commission: (1) Accept the authority of God; (2) Advocate the audacity of the believer. This is not a difficult demand. For me the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention embraces both elements of the Great Commission.

Our denomination has always operated on dual concepts: We must be biblically true in our theology; and we function best when we are working together. Another leader called it convictional and cooperative. I believe this with my whole heart and pledge to Florida Baptists my whole heart in support of the Cooperative Program for advancing the cause of Christ and pushing back the darkness of lostness to the ends of the earth. The Cooperative Program is the way to go!   

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