With Thanks for the Cooperative Program
I hope you didn’t miss what we announced yesterday (Sunday, April 11), and I hope you didn’t miss what we didn’t announce yesterday.
What we announced yesterday was this: God has answered our prayer to send some from among us to bring the gospel to those who have never heard! Later this year, a young couple from our church will be moving to Richmond, Virginia to begin training with the International Mission Board. In the Fall, Lord-willing, they will be moving overseas to join a team bringing the gospel to an unreached people. Praise God!
But here’s what we didn’t announce yesterday: we didn’t announce a campaign to raise the funds to send them. And we didn’t announce that, because we don’t have to raise those funds, and that is due to the SBC Cooperative Program. Praise God!
The Cooperative Program is the means that Southern Baptist churches have used since 1925 for fulfilling the Great Commission through funding missions and theological education. In this current year alone, SBC churches from across North America will partner together through the CP to give over $187 million, with more than 95% of that used for International Missions, North American Missions, and Theological Education Ministries.
Thanks to the Cooperative Program, right now in our congregation alone we have several who have benefited or who are benefiting from the reduced costs of seminary education in our SBC seminaries; we partner with a church plant in Boston, MA that is funded primarily through the North American Mission Board; we have two couples who have served for a number of years through the IMB without ever having to raise their own financial support, and we are preparing to send another couple overseas – again, without them having to raise any of their own funding.
That last item is important. After I graduated from college, I served for three years on staff with a collegiate ministry at North Georgia College and State University. During those years, I had to raise funds to cover my living expenses while I worked to evangelize and disciple college students. I know the labor that is involved in maintaining that support base, the worry that comes when individuals drop off of your support team, and the time that is lost engaged in ministry when you need to go back home and raise more funds. That labor was not all bad, to be sure, and there were plenty of encouraging moments along the way, but I thank God that through the CP we are able to send this couple out, fully funded, to the work of bringing the gospel to the nations.
Every week when you give at Mountain Creek, 10% of that gift goes to the Cooperative Program. Your giving is reaching individuals across the globe who have never heard the name of Jesus; your giving is sending relief to disaster victims; it is planting churches in South Carolina and across North America; it is training the next generation of pastors and missionaries in our seminaries. Your gift is making an eternal impact.
We’re able to do all of that because we partner with 47,000 other churches in this giving. And because we partner together through the CP, Mountain Creek is able to send not only this couple, but we’re praying for more behind them, equipped and fully-funded, to the most important work of all, taking the gospel to the nations and fulfilling the Great Commission. Praise God!
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.