Since its beginning in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has always had one mission: to do everything possible to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). In the early decades of the Convention, each SBC entity raised money for their work by making special offering appeals to the churches. This method was not very effective. More time and effort was spent raising money than reaching people. It greatly hampered the expansion of the ministry opportunities God was giving Southern Baptists and resulted in severe financial deficits.
In 1925 the Cooperative Program (CP) was launched. This God-given partnership of missions support is dependent upon individuals, churches, state conventions, and SBC entities cooperating working toward a common goal of sharing the gospel with every person on the planet. Through the years, this approach has proven to be very successful.
Now, Southern Baptists are a fellowship of over 16 million members in approximately 45,010 churches in all 50 states and Canada. These churches work together through approximately 1,182 associations, 42 state conventions, and the Southern Baptist Convention to accomplish through voluntary cooperation far more than they could ever do alone.
If “two are better than one” (Eccl. 4:9), how much better are more than 16 million?
Tom Stolle, chief finance officer for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, put it this way: “Have you ever noticed when you go to the grocery store how quickly everything adds up in at the cash register? We are surprised at how easy it is to spend a lot of money on a few things.”
He challenged, “In the same way, we don’t realize that when we give to missions, it adds up just as quickly.”
He explained how most people see what he or she gives, but they often don’t see the cumulative effect of what happens when “lots of little gifts becomes a big gift that really makes a difference.”
“The ‘little’ becomes ‘much’ that impacts people all over the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.