Once a year, typically in February, I have the opportunity to attend a meeting of all of the state convention executive directors from across the Southern Baptist Convention. At this year’s meeting, we heard reports from SBC president Ronnie Floyd and several SBC agency heads, including David Platt (International Mission Board), Kevin Ezell (North American Mission Board), Frank Page (Executive Committee), Russell Moore (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission), and Jason Allen (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary).
Each of these leaders brings a unique set of gifts and vision to their roles in Southern Baptist life. Hearing them report about our agencies has caused me to reflect upon the remarkable work of God through Southern Baptists.
Through the IMB, God has blessed us with the largest overseas missionary-sending agency in the history of Christianity. Through NAMB, the Lord is using Southern Baptists to multiply churches across North America to the tune of 1,000 new churches each year and has also provided a disaster relief ministry surpassed in its size and resources only by the American Red Cross. Through the ERLC, nearly 50,000 Southern Baptist churches have a strong voice in our national government and can receive resources to help them navigate the political and cultural challenges to religious liberty and Christian values. Through our six Southern Baptist seminaries, the Lord is equipping nearly 18,000 ministry students to serve in His churches and on the mission fields of the world.
How is all this work possible? Ultimately, God must get the credit.
The primary means that God has used is the Cooperative Program. Without the CP, the mission boards could have never grown to the size or effectiveness we see today; nor could our six seminaries be flourishing by offering the best and most affordable theological education to be found; the ERLC couldn’t afford office space; and the Executive Committee couldn’t hire a secretary, let alone run the affairs of the denomination.
In addition to funding the mission work of the Southern Baptist Convention, the CP also funds the mission work of each state convention. In Kentucky, churches are planted and strengthened through the various ministries of our Mission Board staff. Students at Oneida, Clear Creek, and the University of the Cumberlands are helped with their educational expenses. More than 600 hurting kids have a safe place to live and sleep through Sunrise Children’s Services. Kentucky Baptists are able to stay informed about the church and denominational life through the Western Recorder. More than 10,000 kids hear the gospel at Crossings camps, the WMU continues to challenge us to give and go to the mission fields of the world, and the Kentucky Baptist Foundation helps secure the financial future of Kentucky Baptist work.
In short, the CP is the lifeblood of a missions enterprise that is advancing the gospel in every state, the United States, and to the very ends of the earth. Thanks be to God!