Some well meaning Baptists are criticizing the Cooperative Program (CP). They present it as though the CP is meant to get money to the foreign mission field, but the callous state conventions and other entities scoop up so much of it, only a small percentage gets to the international mission field. That appears to me a little unfair.
The purpose of giving through the CP is not to get money to the International Mission Board (IMB). The purpose of giving through the CP is to get money and resources to the Baptist ministries of the State Convention, national Southern Baptist Convention, AND to the IMB.
Why not give it all to the IMB? Do that and soon our own state and national ministries will suffer. Without a strong church base here in America, the money and resources going to the international field will decrease or even disappear.
The purpose of giving through the CP is to give to the varied ministries of the State Convention: supporting state leadership, conventions, evangelism conferences, evangelism promotion and materials, ministries to churches and pastors, church starting, State Baptist Newspapers, Christian education, and the list goes on.
The purpose of giving through the CP is to give to the varied ministries of the national Southern Baptist Convention. That includes our national SBC leadership, the annual meeting of the SBC, six SBC seminaries, the SBC Historical Library, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
And, of course, the purpose of giving through the CP is also to support the IMB.
Each Southern Baptist Church autonomously decides the percentage they will and can send through the CP. This is sent to their State Convention.
Each State Baptist Convention autonomously decides the percentage they will use for their state ministries and what percentage they can and will forward to the national SBC.
Some states have fewer churches than many Baptist Associations. Some struggle financially and it is more difficult for them to send large percentages on to the SBC. But the long term goal has been for all states to eventually get to a 50/50 split between the state and the national SBC.
The SBC then divides up their portion of the CP among their national and worldwide ministries. I believe it speaks well of Sothern Baptists that we send roughly 50% of this national portion of the CP to the IMB. 50% goes to international missions! Another roughly 22% of the national CP then goes to the NAMB! About 75% of the national CP goes to missions! Add to this the two annual missions offerings sent exclusively to the IMB and NAMB. Don’t tell me Southern Baptists care little for missions.
Not all churches can or do give 10% or 15% or even more of their undesignated funds to the CP. God bless those who do! But whatever percentage a church gives through the CP, that is a profound way of promoting Christ’s Kingdom throughout your state, your nation, and the world.
Note: All agencies of the national SBC subscribe to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. That means they believe in and promote the inerrancy of the Bible, or that the Bible is totally true and trustworthy.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 9, AD 2012.