The Cooperative Program is the most tangible way Southern Baptists express their support together for missions and ministry. Certainly, there are many worthy appeals that deserve our attention, including special offerings and designated gifts to benefit a specific need or project. Still, the best way to extend the influence of the gospel is to regularly and consistently give through the unified giving plan of Southern Baptists—the Cooperative Program (CP).
The SBC budget is determined by the messengers each year at the annual meeting in June, and CP funds are distributed to SBC agencies according to a percentage-based funding formula. The International Mission Board receives a fraction above 50 percent of CP dollars. Most Baptists are aware of the serious shortfall in operating cash for IMB. David Platt is to be applauded for his willingness to right the financial ship at IMB. Presenting the gospel to those who have never heard takes priority for us. If you give more, more will have the opportunity to hear. We must rally behind the foremost reason for collaborative work among Baptists—missions. The SBTC is committed to seeing more dollars go to the places that need it most.
The North American Mission Board receives almost one-fourth of all SBC Cooperative Program dollars. While NAMB coordinates disaster relief, pastoral care, and other ministries, planting churches in the west and north is the focus of NAMB. Going to major population areas that are least evangelized is where your dollars travel through the Cooperative Program. The SBTC is committed to investing the gospel in dark areas of North America.
Southern Baptist seminaries equip pastors, church staff and missionaries. Because of the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptist seminary students have a portion of their education paid. You can have confidence in the theological integrity of each seminary’s faculty and staff because The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is the instrument of accountability. Some state convention-owned seminaries do not have this guarantee. Put your students and your money where your biblical convictions will be taught. You invest in the future when you give through the Cooperative Program. The SBTC supports seminaries that are doctrinal compatible with our faith statement.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission gets a tiny amount in comparison to the other SBC ministries but is a needed ministry in precarious times. In January the ERLC hosted an event in Washington D.C. championing the sanctity of life for the unborn. The SBTC and the ERLC joined in an amicus brief to uphold the Texas law that requires abortion providers to meet reasonable health standards for women. The ERLC speaks to social and moral issues that range from pornography to the First Amendment. The SBTC joins with the ERLC in biblically based efforts to be salt and light in the American culture.
Although the Executive Committee of the SBC is not a glamorous part of the Cooperative Program budget, it is a necessary one. Two days once a year, the messengers of the churches gather as the Southern Baptist Convention. The Executive Committee operates for the SBC ad interim. Public relations, communications, race relations and the SBC annual meeting itself are all functions of the Executive Committee. The SBTC is grateful to SBC EC for their frugal management.
When you give to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention through the Cooperative Program, 55 percent is directed to the SBC and 45 percent is invested in Texas. Church Planting is exploding all across our state, while established churches are being revitalized with a passion for people. Churches are being strengthened and pastors encouraged. Communities are impacted through our disaster relief volunteers.
Texas is rapidly growing with a population of 26 million people. Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in the nation. The need is great. This past November SBTC messengers voted to send 100 percent of all funds exceeding the 2016 Cooperative Program budget to the Southern Baptist Convention. Prayerfully consider having your church increase Cooperative Program giving so more can know our Lord Jesus.
When you partner through the Cooperative Program, you give internationally, nationally and across your state. Lives are being changed through the Cooperative Program. You will meet someone in heaven who will be there because you gave through CP. That’s why your church should participate through the Cooperative Program!