In geese Jay Wolf sees an illustration of the Cooperative Program.
One goose “can fly 1,000 miles alone but in a flock that same energy expenditure will take a bird 1,700 miles,” said Wolf, pastor of First Baptist Church, Montgomery.
“So if you have the sense of a goose be part of God’s team,” Wolf said of Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program (CP).
“Being part of the larger Southern Baptist family is extremely important because Jesus called us to function as a synergistic team,” said Wolf, pointing out the CP — the way Southern Baptists work together in missions and ministry in state conventions and throughout North America and the world — provides the lift propelling the gospel to far corners of the globe, darkened concrete tunnels of urban centers and vast rural landscapes.
Churches participating in the CP determine the amount or percentage of their undesignated offerings to be allocated for cooperative work outside their local reach. That amount is forwarded to the state or regional convention which determines by vote at its annual meeting the percentage to be sent to Southern Baptists’ national and international causes.
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) allocates percentage amounts of what it receives to the International Mission Board (50.4%); North American Mission Board (22.79%); the six Southern Baptist seminaries (22.16%); Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1.65%); and the SBC operating budget (2.99%). These percentages were approved by messengers to the SBC annual meeting in Birmingham in June.
As of Sept. 30, the end of the 2018–2019 fiscal year, gifts received by the SBC Executive Committee (EC) for distribution through the CP Allocation Budget totaled $196,731,703.44, more than $2.7 million more than the projected budget. CP allocation receipts for SBC work for the month of September totaled $15,259,623.92.
The SBC’s new fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2019, and the convention adopted budget is set at $196.5 million.
“Southern Baptist churches continue to do more together than we could ever do on our own,” said SBC EC President and CEO Ronnie Floyd. “Cooperating together to reach every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state and every nation is exactly what the Cooperative Program is all about.” (BP)
EDITOR’S NOTE — October is Cooperative Program Emphasis month in the Southern Baptist Convention.