By Eric Reed
Roger Marshall, pastor of First Baptist Church of Effingham, said at a recent IBSA meeting, “People used to say, ‘We can do more for the Cooperative Program.’ Now they ask, ‘Why do we support the Cooperative Program?’”
He’s right. No longer can we assume that people appreciate the Cooperative Program, or understand it, or even know what it is. So when we ask our church to make sacrifices for the sake of missions, many aren’t sure what we’re talking about.
It’s time to teach the basics again.
Have you considered how often bring the Cooperative Program before your congregation? When speaking about vision, Rick Warren used to say he had to restate the vision at Saddleback every 30 days. If reaching the world with the gospel is part of our vision, then the same applies to Cooperative Program. People need to know that their offering supports the most effective missions ministry in the world.
Consider these ways of sharing about CP:
- Distribute the IBSA bulletin insert. Delivered six times a year, it’s provided free to IBSA churches. E-mail Communications@IBSA.org.
- Include a short note in your church newsletter or on your website.
- Tell an SBC or IBSA missions story in a sermon, and mention that your church supports that work through CP.
- Hold a new members’ class. Keep it short. Include CP. (A 90-minute seminar is a popular format.)
- Add a short CP fact as part of the offering time. Pray for a missionary or country by name, and mention the Cooperative Program.
- Observe CP Sunday in April or October. Put in on the church calendar.
- Hold a missions fair. Give CP a table or booth.
If we are to make new sacrifices for the sake of the gospel, pastor will lead the way. If we are to keep funds flowing to support missions, then we must educate our people about Cooperative Program. It’s the way we get things done.