Kat Harris serves as support staff in research with our mission board. As I read her personal thoughts regarding the Cooperative Program, I rejoiced in my heart, expressing, “She’s got it!”
There are so many who have yet to grasp the significance of the Cooperative Program, but Kat has!
As you read her reflections, I pray that God will thrill your heart over the reality that we can do so much more when we unite our efforts.
Our transitional pastor, Butch Butcher, has suggested the topic of the Cooperative Program (CP) for my August newsletter article. As a seasoned employee of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board for the last 19 years, one would think I’d know everything there is to know about a program in existence for nearly 175 years. However, the more I delved into the far-reaching influence of this Southern Baptist organization, the more fascinated and intrigued I became.
At this point I could list off all the programs, entities, and people the Cooperative Program supports, but God has something else in mind as I write and present this article. He reminded me of the influence one person could have on the world. So, what can one person do?
By considering the question God put before me, it became clear He wanted this article to be personal. “I” am that one person. Our role as individuals has a hand in multiplying the efforts of ministry. As I give my time, energy, support, and prayers, I can proudly claim I’m a vital instrument in God’s Kingdom work. My efforts spur the work of others, who in turn, promote the efforts of others, and so on.
My heart responds to what I see, even in the walls of the building where I work. I see a Hispanic specialist in Intercultural Church Planting and Church Ministry, (ICP) who started out as a pastor with a goal of obtaining a seminary degree.
I watched him obtain that degree, and then I observed him becoming a consultant to the Intercultural Church Planting department. His next step was to obtain a doctorate from seminary. After this accomplishment he became the specialist in ICP that plants new ethnic churches and ministers to Hispanic, Korean, Chinese, and many, many more ethnic groups.
I see the influence he renders over this precious ministry and the impact of his goals are realized. I have watched as his staff hands Bibles over to church workers in an ethnic groups’ native tongue. I’ve watched Dennis Rivera’s ministry grow over the years. The Cooperative Program donates a significant amount to every pastor’s seminary education.
I see hands giving medical supplies and meeting basic needs whenever disaster strikes from the Disaster Relief and Community Missions department the Cooperative Program supports. I see hands touching the underprivileged when the Baptist Mobile Health Ministry provides free medical and dental services. It doesn’t stop there, because they also minister to the lost that receive services, resulting in new Christians!
I also read the sweet thank-you letters from retired ministers and their wives who live on minimal wages but receive support from CP. I am touched by their grateful spirits, but mostly proud that they are included in the vast list of entities, programs, and organizations CP supports. From state, national, and international missions to education programs, training events, medical services, and even disaster relief, I am a proud and vital part of increasing the sphere of influence the Cooperative Program enacts.
So, is it personal? It is. God is showing me that one person can make a difference. He will multiply our efforts at every turn and every corner.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”