Published July 1, 2010
Jerry Cross sits in his office at Flat Creek Baptist Church in Fayetteville surrounded by eagles. As pastor of this congregation he is reminded every day that by waiting upon the Lord we can “rise up on wings like eagles.” He wants to see his people soar to new heights in missions involvement and missions giving.
Last year, Cross attended the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Louisville, Ky. There he witnessed the creation of a task force to bring recommendations to the convention regarding a Great Commission Resurgence in the SBC. He reflected on this and came to the conclusion that if we are going to have a Great Commission resurgence it has to be a grass roots movement – beginning in the local church.
Cross has always been a champion of the Cooperative Program (CP). “I have been a beneficiary of the CP through my student days at Mercer University and at Southwestern Seminary. I’ve seen the impact of our giving and know we are making a difference for Christ and for His Kingdom,” he said.
As a result, he has always led churches he has pastored to give generously through this Great Commission offering. Over the past 10 years, Flat Creek has averaged giving between 12 and 16 percent of undesignated gifts through the CP.
As he returned to his church from the Convention in Louisville, Cross prayed about how to bring about a Great Commission resurgence in the hearts and minds of his own congregation. God answered his prayer and led him to challenge the members of Flat Creek to become “Great Commission Partners – Changing the World.”
This began with the idea that Southern Baptists love the CP but they do not always understand all that it does to impact the Great Commission. They need to be educated and informed in order to be fully committed to be Great Commission Partners. Here is how Cross challenged his people.
Great Commission Partners
As a Great Commission Partner you’ll become prayer partners with missionaries and ministry leaders across the state of Georgia, North America, and the world. We’ll connect you with one of our state missionaries here in Georgia, a NAMB missionary serving in North America, one of more than 5,000 international missionaries serving through the International Mission Board, or someone in one of our six Southern Baptist seminaries. As you pray for these individuals and their ministries, you’ll gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the effectiveness of our CP dollars.
The church provided each Great Commission Partner with a “bank” (a Mason jar) to collect loose change each day. Each bank was labeled as a reminder that 100 percent these offerings would go directly to the CP over and above the church’s regular giving.
The members were reminded that with their participation in this program they would truly have a part in changing the world. The response in the church was outstanding.
According to Cross, 140 families in the church took home their banks last September and by the end of December had given $4,380.11 for Great Commission causes through the CP. This year from January through May the church has received more than $5,800.00 from their Great Commission Partners.
As he pointed to one of the Mason jar banks on his desk about half-full of quarters, dimes, and nickels, Cross commented, “These coins can change the world!”
One thing is clear at Flat Creek Baptist Church, they understand and are committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission and know their giving through the CP plays a major role in accomplishing this.
As we pray for a Great Commission resurgence in our convention, let us not forget that it must begin at the local church level. Let us thank God for the CP, a plan He has already provided to help us in accomplishing this task at home and around the world.
May we all accept the challenge to become Great Commission Partners – praying and giving sacrificially so the gospel can reach to the ends of the earth.
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