Point of View: Cooperative Program fuels us with bold global vision
by JOHN SULLIVAN
Executive Director-Treasurer

Article Date: Jun 6, 2014

I have revisited some Cooperative Program materials in preparation for this article, including a profile produced in February by a study group of state and national leaders.

In this report, the study group defined the Cooperative Program or CP as: “Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptists gives a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries.” The definition referenced an identical one published in the SBC Annual in 1960 and 2007.

The study committee continued with these statements:
 
► The Cooperative Program fuels a strong home base with an aggressive global vision.
 
 Great Commission/CP Advance: Not a new paradigm but a renewed passion.
 
► We believe Southern Baptists are a missionary people committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20).
 
► We believe the Cooperative Program is the best foundational delivery system for a biblical, comprehensive, effective and efficient missions strategy.
 
► We believe missions giving is a product of biblical stewardship which grows from vibrant discipleship.
 
► We believe that we can do more together than we can separately.
 
► We believe that our Cooperative Program relationships are interdependent.  Our progress is not individual but symbiotic.  Together, we make disciples, plant churches, train leaders and send missionaries.  Together, we have one mission and it is His (Mt. 28:18-20).
 
These conclusions clearly reflect my own understanding and passion for this magnificent missions/education delivery system. 
 
Through the Cooperative Program, our missionaries have the assurance that Southern Baptists are sustaining them and they will not have to raise their support to stay on the field where God has called them. 
 
Through the Cooperative Program, our seminary students will know the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention are willing to give so that our seminaries can provide quality theological education for the next generations of missionaries, preachers and ministers. The
Cooperative Program still contributes considerable dollars to our six seminaries.
 
For nearly 59 years, my wife, Nancy, and I have been tithers and avid Cooperative Program supporters of our churches. Why, you may ask. 
 
The Cooperative Program makes visible the unifying spirit of a common commitment.  We are one in Christ and the Cooperative Program affords at least one way to express this common commitment.  
 
The Cooperative Program also affords a channel for us to grow to the edge of our abilities.  This is not built on compulsive giving but intentional and comprehensive giving that helps us reach our potential.
 
It must have been in the early ‘80s when I made a statement that is still a major understanding of my life, the “Cooperative Program is not a sacred cow but it is a holy how!”  It is God-given and missions-driven!

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