Pastors and churches across the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention are encouraged to share their stories of the impact of the Cooperative Program from the pulpit, in newsletters and through social media using #ourCPstory.
“We not only need to have a passion for promoting the Cooperative Program, but also need to pass this message on to future generations,” shared Caleb Lasater, social media and IT catalyst for SBTC. “Many people in the pews know they give to missions but do not realize the importance the CP plays into this.”
Local SBTC churches give a portion of undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program through the state convention, which sends 55 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention for missions and ministries in North America and around the world. The portion that remains within the state is used to start new churches, strengthen church ministries and partner with educational institutions and family ministries.
Examples of the impact of CP giving include the student who is the beneficiary of reduced tuition costs for seminary education, the family who received help from disaster relief volunteers after storms damaged their house, and the church planter taking the gospel into a community with no gospel influence.
“In 2017 we are looking to leverage the sustainability of the Cooperative Program and viral nature of social media to get the word out of what God is doing through the CP. These stories can create an awareness of the CP and the many lives being impacted,” he predicted.
Videos and photographs can be posted to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ourCPstory, offering practical examples of how the Cooperative Program is changing lives and expanding ministry.
Initial posts include a discussion on church revitalization with a Houston church that has lost its pastor and its building and a church replanting strategy in San Angelo.
Thirty percent of churches within the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention have increased giving to the Cooperative Program over the past year. When compared to the same point in 2015, the increase among this group from $8,379,523 to $10,469,232 amounts to an average of 25 percent per church.
At the same time, 36 percent of SBTC churches have decreased giving, collectively in what amounts to an average decline of 17 percent per church. Another 28 percent of churches are not giving at all. Together, these factors have contributed to a net loss of $143,506.
“With a realistic view of where we are in terms of CP giving so far this year and an encouraged mindset from the churches that have made significant increases from 2015 to 2016, we must ask ourselves what we can do to not just finish this year strong but set the tone for next year as well,” Lasater said.
Churches that have not been giving are encouraged to start by allocating one percent of their undesignated receipts for CP. Those that have established a track record of CP support are asked to consider increasing that portion by one percent.
Reaching the world with the gospel is a daunting task, Lasater admitted, but he appealed to Matt. 28:19-20 in reminding believers of the Great Commission mandate. “Individually, it’s overwhelming, but together the possibilities are endless.”