What is the Cooperative Program?
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention and the missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.
How Does The Cooperative Program Work?
It begins with you!
You give yourself first to God (2 Corinthians 8:5). Next, out of gratitude and obedience to God for what He has done for you, you commit to give back to Him, through the church, a portion of what He provides. This is commonly called a tithe and represents ten percent of your income (Leviticus 27:30; Malachi 3:10).
Our Church decides the next step. Every year our church prayerfully decides how much of its undesignated gifts will be committed to reaching people in our state and around the world with the Gospel through The Cooperative Program. This amount is then forwarded to the Dakota Baptist Convention.
Messengers at the State Convention Annual Meeting from our church and other churches across the Dakotas decide what percentage of Cooperative Program gifts contributed by local congregations stay in our in the Dakotas to support local missions and ministries. The percentage to be forwarded to the SBC for North American and international missions and ministries is also determined at this time.
Messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting from across the country decide how the gifts received from the states will be distributed among SBC entities. These gifts are used by SBC entities to send and support missionaries, provide theological education for pastors other ministry leaders, provide relief for retired ministers and widows, and address social, moral, and ethical concerns relating to our faith and families.
The bottom line – people around the world hear and have an opportunity to respond to the Gospel!
Why Southern Baptists Embrace The Cooperative Program
- It presents a unified and comprehensive budget, throwing a funding blanket over statewide, national and international missions and ministries.
- It provides long‐term sustainability for our entities. When a church makes their missions giving as a percentage of their church budget, it provide consistency and stability.
- It adheres to the long-held Baptist principle that “we can do more together than alone.”
- The Cooperative Program mitigates competition between entities thereby allowing a balanced Acts 1:8 strategy.
- It levels the playing field, and makes a place at the table for small and ethnic churches. Every church can stand hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, on level ground, as partners in the Gospel (large churches, small churches, new churches, old churches, growing churches, graying churches, and ethnic churches).
The History of the Cooperative Program
Since its inception in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has always had one mission —the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). To fulfill its assigned part of this divine mandate, each SBC entity made special offering appeals to the churches. This method was referred to as the “societal” approach to missions and resulted in severe financial deficits, competition among entities, overlapping pledge campaigns, and frequent emergency appeals which greatly hampered the expanding ministry opportunities God was giving Southern Baptists. Some entities took out loans to cover operating costs until pledges or special offerings were received.
In 1919, the leaders of the SBC proposed the 75 Million Campaign, a five‐year pledge campaign that, for the first time, included everything – the missions and ministries of all the state conventions as well as that of the Southern Baptist Convention. Though falling short of its goals, a God‐given partnership of missions support was conceived – the Cooperative Program. Since its launch in 1925, the effectiveness of the Cooperative Program has been dependent upon individuals, churches, state conventions, and SBC entities cooperating as they work toward a common goal of sharing the Gospel with every person on the planet.