Published January 27, 2011
In an exclusive interview with The Christian Index on June 3, then-Southern Baptist Convention president Johnny Hunt was asked, “Has being the SBC president given you more or less of an appreciation for our Convention?”
Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, replied, “I have more appreciation than ever, which is one of the reasons First Woodstock chose to increase its Cooperative Program giving by $400,000 for this year alone. In 1986, our church gave $30,000 to the Cooperative Program. Last year we gave $475,000 and this year we will give $900,000.”
The Hunt added, “I pray that our Southern Baptist Convention will learn to celebrate the incredible increase that churches like First Baptist Church Woodstock have made.”
All those who know Johnny Hunt would have expected him and First Baptist Church Woodstock to deliver on their promise. In keeping his promise Hunt’s church gave $920,346.07 to lead the state in Cooperative Program giving in 2010.
The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, championed by Hunt, recommended, “Southern Baptists honor and affirm the Cooperative Program as the most effective means of mobilizing our churches and extending our reach.”
Component Three of the report declared, “A Great Commission Resurgence will require a new level of sacrificial giving from Southern Baptist church members and congregations. At the center of our funding stands the Cooperative Program, which since 1925 has served to mobilize the stewardship of Southern Baptists for worldwide missions and ministry.”
Georgia Baptist Convention executive director J. Robert White noted, “During the course of our Task Force meetings, Johnny told me that he wanted Woodstock to give more to missions through the Cooperative Program than ever before and added, ‘and I want to personally give more to God than I’ve ever given before. I don’t think we should ask others to give more if we ourselves are not willing to give more.’
“He told me,” White continued, “that he planned to lead his church to give at least $900,000 to missions through the Cooperative Program. Johnny and Woodstock were faithful to that commitment. Their CP gifts of $920, 346.07 practically doubled their gifts through the CP last year when they gave $468,749.80.
This commitment was fulfilled in spite of a budget shortfall of $2 million. As is always is the case, God’s work will be advanced and the church will be blessed by this increased support for missions. You absolutely cannot out-give God.”
SBC Executive Committee president Frank Page remarked, “After a year of deliberations, discussions, and prayer which surrounded the Great Commission Task Force, our president at that time, Dr. Johnny Hunt, told us that his church was going to make a sacrificial move of increasing its Cooperative Program giving during difficult economic times. He was joined by the chairman of that Task Force, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, in a similar pledge.
“At that time, I said to both of them that if this new direction was heartfelt and sustained, it would do more to help the Southern Baptist Convention than anything else the GCR could have ever done.”
With emphasis Page explained, “I knew that Johnny Hunt is a man of his word. Simply put, I love him and Brother Ronnie as well. To end this year seeing the significant turn in Cooperative Program receipts from First Baptist Church Woodstock is a great encouragement to all Southern Baptists and to me. This means that small churches will be helped in his state. It means more money will go to International missions and North American missions. It means more money will go to our seminaries and our Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
“It means the work of God is going to be helped in a corporate way … powerful! I believed this kind of significant turn exemplifies Christ-like selflessness in which we can do more together than we can do separately. I commend Johnny Hunt and First Baptist Church for such a significant contribution to the kingdom of the Lord.
“While we may know every church’s gifts are significant, I believe the leadership of this great pastor and church will be followed by many.”
Jim Law, executive pastor at the Woodstock church, stated, “Under the blessed leadership of Pastor Johnny, our people responded to the challenge to sacrifice greatly and do exceedingly and abundantly more in 2010 to make reaching the world with the Gospel a top priority.
“This was accomplished,” Law continued, “during a time when we cut our spending significantly due to the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Our people were reminded and it was confirmed that our God is not affected by or limited to a bad economy. We are shouting victory for His faithfulness to us and His blessings on us.”
Southern Baptists should celebrate all that FBC Woodstock is doing to advance the kingdom of God.
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