Celebrate the Cooperative Program

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The call to champion or celebrate a program rings hollow in most instances. But the call for Florida Baptists to celebrate and champion the Cooperative Program is significant. Since the inception of the Cooperative Program in 1925, Southern Baptist churches have provided funding for the global advancement of the Gospel.

The resources advanced from our churches to the Cooperative Program fuel the fire of global missions and evangelism.

I prayerfully suggest three observations on the current state of the Cooperative Program.

UNIFICATION

The Cooperative Program yields a source of unification of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Florida Baptists can celebrate the 51 percent of our $29 million CP budget being advanced for Southern Baptist causes in this manner:

–$7,455,639 to the International Mission Board

–$3,370,641 to the North American Mission Board

–$3,277,464 to the six Southern Baptist seminaries

–$686,256 to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Executive Committee

This totals $14,790,000

The Cooperative Program unifies our work together in Florida. We retain 49 percent of our CP receipts—or $14,210,000–for Florida ministry, funding the following areas:

–$11,121,000 to come ‘Right Beside’ our churches to #ReachFlorida

–$3,089,000 for the Cooperating Ministries of the Florida Baptist Convention

PARTICIPATION

You make a difference when through tithes and offerings you participate in the Cooperative Program through your local church.

As a young boy in a small rural church in North Alabama, I understood that our church was part of global missions through the Cooperative Program. I remember missionaries sharing and expressing their appreciation to our church for giving and enabling them to serve without financial encumbrances.

We can do more together then we can do individually. The Cooperative Program intentionally focuses upon fulfilling the Great Commission. It is a privilege and joy to participate with our Southern Baptist churches in this manner.

I encourage you to visit our website at flbaptist.org/cooperative-program/  for additional promotional materials on CP participation available in English, Spanish and French Creole. A 90-second video is available for you to share with your church.

SEPARATION

The Cooperative Program was never intended to be a source of separation of trust or fellowship for Southern Baptists. It is not a tool for heaping guilt upon churches for their level of support.

I am fully committed to not allowing the Cooperative Program to be a means of division among Florida Baptists. I will not treat churches differently because of their determined level of giving. I will not question or guilt a church concerning their CP support. We celebrate and champion our unity and participation in the value of the Cooperative Program.

I am excited to report that Cooperative Program giving by Florida Baptist churches has shown an increase in 2016 when compared to the same time period in 2015. My commitment to Florida Baptist churches is to continue to increase our percentage of giving to the Southern Baptist Convention as CP dollars grow. When we reach $34 million in CP receipts, we will adjust the next year’s budget to 55 percent for SBC causes and 45 percent to Florida Baptist ministries as this goal is achieved.

Florida Baptists are leading the way in the Southern Baptist Convention in Cooperative Program commitment. May God continue to bless our churches as they fulfill a local and global calling. Together, we celebrate the eternal Kingdom impact of the Cooperative Program!

Tommy Green is Executive Director-Treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention

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