DULUTH — Georgia Baptists led the way in Cooperative Program and designated missions giving for the first month of 2018. In fact, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board sent $3,514,923.60 in Cooperative Program receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, approximately $2 million more than the state convention in second place.
Georgia Baptists also contributed $4,049,519.87 in designated gifts. North Carolina gave $3,752,316.68, but no other state convention gave as much as $2 million in designated gifts.
The churches of the Georgia Baptist Convention are to be commended for their generosity and faithfulness to mission causes in the state, in North America, and around the world.
The Cooperative Program is the lifeline of Southern Baptist work in missions, theological education, church planting, disaster relief, ethics, and religious liberty.
Churches that have the Cooperative Program in their budget fund 3,506 international missionaries, including the 299 added in 2016. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is also funded through the Cooperative Program.
Gifts channeled through the Cooperative Program also assisted in the planting of 732 churches in 2017, as well as the training of 21,155 students in six Southern Baptist Seminaries
When current FOX News commentator Todd Starnes was with Baptist Press he described the day when the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention voted to approve the Cooperative Program.
It was in June of 2000 that Starnes wrote, “It was a muggy day in Memphis, Tennessee and that made conditions a bit unbearable inside the city’s brand new convention hall – packed with 5,600 messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“And the oppressive humidity added to an SBC meeting already rife with debate. The issue of the day was evolution and Baptists had brought the national fight with them to the Convention. And while the debate was subdued, a few messengers were edgy and short-tempered about it.
“But the bigger issue at the 1925 Convention was a report brought by E. Y. Mullins, whose committee presented its first draft of the Baptist Faith and Message.
“There was another issue that was discussed at the 1925 Convention and even though it did not elicit much debate, its approval would revolutionize the Southern Baptist Convention – the Cooperative Program.”
It was the Cooperative Program that sustained Baptist work throughout the Great Depression, retired significant debts throughout the denomination, and ignited a Christian missionary movement unequalled in American history.
The leaders who proposed the Cooperative Program believed that the combined gifts of many churches would produce a greater united effect than the sum of their separate efforts.
Rod D. Martin, technology entrepreneur and author, commented, “One of my favorite quotes came from Benjamin Franklin: ‘We must all hang together, or we shall surely hang separately.’ The Cooperative Program brings together the resources of God’s people from all across America and exponentially increases the impact of each individual SBC church and church member.
Dr. J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, stated, “The strength of Georgia Baptists is in our churches that have a desire to reach Georgia, North America, and the world with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“It is a distinct honor and joy to serve among Georgia Baptists, and to see the devotion and generosity of our churches. I am grateful for our pastors who are generating in their congregations a passion for missions. To God be the glory!”