Published November 19, 2009
WHEREAS, the Cooperative Program was established by the Southern Baptist Convention in its 1925 meeting in Memphis, Tennessee as the “… only way of liquidating our debts and creating an adequate financial support of all our institutions and activities under God …,” calling all Southern Baptists to “… commit ourselves thoroughly to our Co-Operative Program, taking the nucleus of regular and systematic givers and the wholly or partially enlisted churches and the great body of the unenlisted members, and week by week and month by month, build them into a great and mighty host of never failing causes …”(SBC Annual 1925, pp. 24-31); and
WHEREAS, from its inception, the Cooperative Program has been established as a holistic partnership in cooperation between state conventions and “Southwide” (SBC) causes entrusting “… the initiative in raising funds sufficient to care for the needs of all our general Baptist work – state missions, home missions, foreign missions, ministerial relief, and Baptist schools, orphanages, and hospitals” (The Christian Index, May 28, 1925, p. 32); and
WHEREAS, since its beginning the Cooperative Program has proven to be a powerful instrument of God through which Southern Baptists have given $13,816,281,153 to worldwide and local state mission causes including forwarding $5,203,488,908 to Southern Baptist Convention causes which have expanded the missionary range from 394 missionaries serving in 11 countries in 1925 with 12,214 baptized during that year to 5,587 international missionaries serving in 190 countries resulting in 565,967 baptisms reported in 2008; and
WHEREAS, the Cooperative Program supports an additional 5,611 missionaries serving throughout the homeland and Canada through which five new churches are started every week, half of which are language congregations, in partnership with state conventions, local associations, and partnering churches in fulfillment of the Acts 1:8 challenge to be “… witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the world”; and
WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention in its 2006 annual meeting, convened in Greensboro, North Carolina, approved a definition of the Cooperative Program which was likewise approved by the messengers to the 2009 meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention, meeting at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, which states:
“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 Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries.”; and
WHEREAS, the Georgia Baptist Convention also approved in its 2009 annual meeting a working definition of what constitutes a “Cooperative Program Gift” stating:
“A Cooperative Program gift is one identified for the Cooperative Program or an undesignated gift made through the Georgia Baptist Convention for the missions and ministries of the Georgia Baptist and Southern Baptist Conventions according to the Georgia Baptist Convention budget approved by messengers to the annual meeting.”
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention 2009 annual meeting at the First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA, as follows:
That the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention 2009 annual meeting urge all member churches to commit their unreserved support for the Cooperative Program as the most effective and Biblical means for advancing worldwide mission and ministry causes according to the command of Christ through the Great Commission.
That the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention 2009 annual meeting challenge all member churches to commit to a bolder level of mission support through the Cooperative Program than ever before, understanding the command of Jesus Christ that we take the Gospel to the nations beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47), and that each church increase its support of the Cooperative Program on an annual basis until it is satisfied that it has reached a level of giving commensurate with the command of Christ to extend the Kingdom of God throughout the entire world.
That the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention 2009 annual meeting commend those churches that are giving at traditional and extraordinary levels receiving their faithfulness as an inspiration to do likewise just as the Apostle Paul called upon the Corinthian church to follow the example of faithful giving by the Macedonian church saying, “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others” (2 Cor. 8:8).
That the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention 2009 annual meeting strongly endorse the state conventions’ historic role as the collecting agencies for all Cooperative Program funds received from the churches for both state and national convention purposes as it was determined by the Southern Baptist Convention as early as 1923, which was restated in 1928 and reaffirmed in 1971:
“The state convention boards are at present recognized by this Convention as the principal promotional and collecting agencies for all Cooperative program funds whether intended for state or Southern Convention” (SBC Annual 1971, p.59).
That the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention 2009 annual meeting affirm the historic formula by which the Georgia Baptist Convention continues to distribute Cooperative Program receipts from the churches for state and national causes being a true 50/50 division known as the “50% GBC and 50% SBC after Shared Responsibilities” as it was approved by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1934 whereby:
50% for Southwide (SBC) purposes and 50% for statewide purposes
50% of the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program allocation for foreign missions and 50% for all other Southwide purposes
50/50 percent division of expenses necessary for administration and promotion related to the state convention’s responsibilities for collection and advancement of the Cooperative Program (SBC Annual 1934, pp. 38-49; SBC Annual 1983, p. 42-43, 45)
That the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention 2009 annual meeting strongly affirm the report and nine recommendations of the Ad Hoc Cooperative Program Committee approved by the Southern Baptist Convention in its 2006 annual meeting giving special attention to Recommendation 4 which states:
“That we encourage the election of state and national convention officers whose churches systematically and enthusiastically lead by example in giving sacrificially and proportionally through the Cooperative Program.”
That the messengers to the Georgia Baptist Convention 2009 annual meeting recommend that every member church create a special annual stewardship emphasis in which tithing is given highest priority as the Biblical way to continually undergird God’s kingdom work and that every member church utilize stewardship resources from the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program, Stewardship and State Missions Ministry Department.
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