(This message was originally published on May 21, 2015)
Matthew 28:18-20 is simply and often referred to as The Great Commission. As followers of Christ we are called to “make disciples.” Some form of Christ’s commission is also found in the other places of the New Testament, but Matthew 28 seems to be the most heralded. Christ has called us, has commanded us to proclaim the gospel unto the ends of the earth. The Great Commission is no small suggestion!
Since the New Testament era, church and mission leaders like the Apostle Paul have called upon churches to work together to plant, strengthen, and mobilize churches so the gospel of Christ is proclaimed. Likewise, this month of May marks the 90th anniversary of Southern Baptist church pastors and leaders adopting a strategy to unify resources for global missions and ministry. (May 13, 1925 was the date). This unified and strategic missions support plan became known as “The Cooperative Program.”
SBC of Virginia churches have the opportunity to partner together in this time tested strategy to pray, give, and send. Through this “Cooperative Program” or Cooperative Partnership, a church is able to support a greater missionary force and have greater ministry impact. For instance, local, regional, national, and international mission fields are reached when a church provides financial support through the Cooperative Program of SBC of Virginia churches. Reasons for this plan:
Immediate Impact. It could take years for a church to develop a missions strategy. The Southern Baptist Cooperative Program allows for you to act now.
Mutual Support. Instead of missionaries having to constantly plead for resources, we work together to provide a system of mutual support so they can focus on their calling.
Global Strategy. Even though the world may seem to be getting “smaller.” It is still a big world, with many people groups. Even in Virginia, we are seeing a multiplication of people groups right here. The Southern Baptist Cooperative Program is a strategy to reach locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Personal, even though it is comprehensive. Because the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program is so comprehensive, you may think it is impersonal. But it is not. It is as personal as the boy who came to your church in 3rd grade, heard the gospel, went on a high school mission trip, was called to ministry, went to seminary, was mentored by pastors, planted a church…it is as personal as me (as so many others who have a similar story as mine).