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On The Ninetieth Anniversary Of The Cooperative Program

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention was created in 1845 “for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the Gospel”; and

WHEREAS, Through the Convention’s first eighty years, prior to the establishment of the Cooperative Program, its reach expanded to include cooperating churches in seventeen states and the District of Columbia and the financial support for five boards and numerous ministries; and

WHEREAS, The “Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists” was proposed and established in 1925 as a financial channel of cooperation between the state conventions and the SBC, making it possible for churches to support the missionary, education, and benevolent work in their state convention and the SBC, and was viewed as “the best and most practical way of meeting our obligations and providing for the ongoing of all our enterprises”; and

WHEREAS, During the remainder of the twentieth century, Cooperative Program giving from the churches helped fuel an aggressive global vision through the appointment and deployment of more than 4,800 overseas field personnel by the year 2000 and, according to the final report of the Convention’s Bold Mission Thrust initiative, more than 206,500 reported short-term overseas volunteers who participated in partnership missions projects; and

WHEREAS, During this same seventy-five year period, the Convention strengthened its home base through effective evangelistic and church planting efforts across the United States, enjoying, by century’s end, cooperation and support from churches in all fifty states and several United States territories, organized into forty-two state and regional cooperating conventions and worshipping in more than one hundred languages in North America; and

WHEREAS, Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the cooperating state Baptist conventions have continued to serve the ministry needs of the churches in their respective states while simultaneously forwarding, often sacrificially, a larger portion of Cooperative Program funds they received from their churches (from 35.86 percent in 2000 to 37.80 percent in 2014); and

WHEREAS, The SBC ministries funded through the Cooperative Program have continued to thrive since the turn of the twenty-first century, sustaining what may be history’s largest fully-funded evangelical overseas missions force; continuing to expand its North American church planting network; addressing social, moral, and religious liberty concerns domestically and globally; and supporting a thriving theological higher education enterprise with more than 18,000 students currently enrolled through the Convention’s six seminaries; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, on the occasion of the ninetieth anniversary of the Cooperative Program, express gratitude to God for His providential guidance in the creation of the Cooperative Program and for His multiplied blessings through this missions support enterprise; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we reaffirm the 2010 SBC action calling Southern Baptists to “continue to honor and affirm the Cooperative Program as the most effective [financial] means of mobilizing our churches and extending our outreach,” while also acknowledging and affirming the value of other Great Commission Giving from the churches; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we celebrate each Southern Baptist congregation that, in addition to its own congregation’s other missions activities, supports the missions and ministries of the Convention by its generous giving through the Cooperative Program; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we encourage all Southern Baptist churches prayerfully to consider increasing their support for the time-honored giving channel of the Cooperative Program to help push back lostness across our nation and around the world.