Cooperative Program and affiliation

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by agedman, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. agedman

    agedman
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    Years ago, I was sitting with the deacons of a church defending my families practice of giving to foreign missionaries directly rather than through the "cooperative program."

    I was told I could not be Southern Baptist and not give to cooperative program. I found this line of reasoning absurd and let them know my thoughts. My family and my "call" to that assembly was terminated. I have no idea what was told to the general population of the church other than we had "been called to another church" which was not the truth but a cover story so people wouldn't dig into the matter.

    About two years latter, I cut ties from the convention churches. I even received a nice letter from Nashville asking why, and that they had great plans for me. In disgust I threw the letter away and never looked back.

    Because this happened some 40 years ago, I have some questions for those of you who are affiliated with the SBC:

    1) Do typical SBC churches hold to this thinking?

    2) Are you familiar with any SBC churches that do not support the cooperative program and give directly to the support of missionaries and mission boards?

    3) If you are in a leadership position, and if you designate your giving to programs of the church in which you sense you can biblically support, do you fear being "found out" and questioned by the political body of the church (deacons, pastors...)
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    The CP is genius and one of the best ways to effectively pool resources and support missionaries thoroughout the world. The SBC has the largest, and strongest, missionaries reaching unreached people with the Gospel. I love the CP...honestly, its the single largest reason we are still SBC at our church.

    That said we also support individual missionary families and missions as well. It is a balanced approach. We love the CP.
     
  3. mandym

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    There is no reason to be affiliated with the convention if your not going to give to the cooperative. Such an idea doesn't make sense.
     
  4. Robert Snow

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    Perfect response!
     
  5. Salty

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    Not sure about other SBC churches as a whole.
    Will tell you this - First Baptist of Atlanta - supports dozens of independent Baptist missionaries. I have seen some of the other churches in our association supporting non-SBC missionaries


    In order to be SBC you must support the CP. However, there is no minimum amount that must be given. In addition it should be noted that does not preclude you from supporting other non-SBC approved ministries or missionaries.
    In our own association, (Central New York) one of our pastors will be going to Peru as a full time missionary. But he will not be going under the IMB. In fact, our association will be (at least temporary) acting as the mission board!
    Rick Martin has been on deputation for the past few months. Though up to this point it has all been SBC churches, he is lining up independent churches as well. If your church would like to consider supporting Rick - for his website, click here


    No, not at all. If there were to be a problem - I would simply point to scriptures.
     
    #5 Salty, Dec 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2011
  6. mandym

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    Actually to be a church in the cooperative there needs to be a minimum of 250 a year.
     
  7. Salty

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    I wasn't aware that decision of giving $250 was made back in 1845
    Click here for info form the Alabama Baptist Convention

    Yet, as I look over our association financial report - many churches are no where near the $250 threshold and some have a great big goos egg on the report.
     
    #7 Salty, Dec 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2011
  8. agedman

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    I suppose I should have stated that the reason I stopped supporting the cooperative program was the coverup of sin and the hiding of moral failures throughout the program(s).

    I am many years from the known facts, and have no need now to regurgitate it all, but the program at that time was very political and not at all accountable to the local assembly. When questioned about what they were doing, stonewalling, redirection, and none of our business were the typical responses. My family and I felt we could not support what was not accountable or even reported to the local assemblies.

    I suppose, the local assemblies of that day really never knew or cared about much of what the "back room" of the cooperative board(s) and member(s) hid. Those many years ago, I certainly wouldn't have painted them all as being bad, and there were many that had wonderful insight, but I did not have much good to say at that time about the program as a whole.

    Have it changed? I don't know.

    Are they held accountable to the local church? Not then, but now - I don't know.

    Are convention churches held accountable if they don't give to the cooperative program? They were - I don't know if they still are.

    Are local church pastor's "judged" according to the level of giving to the cooperative program, and are certain "levels" of recommendations filtered down to search committees based upon how the convention views the support of that pastor toward the cooperative program? They were at that time - I don't know if they still are.

    I am merely saying that I had cause.

    I am not now being critical, nor in any way attempting to demean the SBC churches.

    My question had to do with the local assembly members and leaders' freedom of choosing who and what they will support and hold accountable and what impact that would have on the affiliation with the SBC.
     
  9. 12strings

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  10. John of Japan

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    Actually, according a survey done in 2008, independent Baptist groups have a total number of foreign missionaries (not counting home missionaries) that is larger than the SBC, though we have less than half the number of churches. Personally I believe that the faith missions method of individual churches supporting individual missionaries is the most efficient method. But good for your church anyway, that they support missions strongly.
     
  11. Scarlett O.

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    I strongly support the CP and my church does, too.

    I'm of the opinion that you are either going to physically go across the world and share the gospel as a short-term or long-term missionary or else you are going to support those missionaries with faithful prayer and sacrificial giving and be a missionary in your own hometown.

    I've really enjoyed the Lottie Moon missions videos that we have watched this month at church. This morning was of a man in China in particular "man's town" full of business men complete with a red light district.

    To see what goes on in that place was so disheartening, but to hear him tell of the decisions made for Christ over the past year was so hopeful.

    He ended by saying, "It's my job just to be faithful to God and to let Him take care of the rest."

    Last week we saw a husband and wife team in the South America. They live in such a terrible situation and deal with terrible things. She said, "Considering what Jesus did for me, this is no sacrifice." He (a big brawny manly-man) said with tears streaming down his face, "When I think of how Jesus gave His life for me, how can I not do this?"

    The Cooperative Program is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
     
  12. glfredrick

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    The practice of direct deputation by missionaries is generally frowned upon by the SBC, but that is not the same thing as saying that someone "cannot" do that. They can, and neither the SBC nor any local (autonomous -- for all SBC congregations are autonomous -- hence the term "cooperation") congregation or pastor say that to an individual.

    They were in error.

    So, instead of looking into the matter and doing a bit of research on your own, you instead got angry and walked away.

    But, I probably would have left THAT church as well. They were perhaps a bit too invested in the SBC program -- some are -- that is the nature of things when almost 44,000 autonomous congregations unite together under a single banner by cooperating together.

    When you mention "call" that would indicate to me that you were the or a pastor in that congregation. Was that true? And, if so, why or how was it that you knew so little of the SBC that you were involved with?

    So, you took a letter of reconciliation and grace and decided that your own experience was above that and turned your back because of some of the actions of the PEOPLE. Sounds rather immature, but who am I to judge.

    SBC congregations are all over the map on this issue, with some holding a hard line concerning cooperative giving and some not so much. I know MANY that have given direct support to missionaries, but the preference Convention wide is to support "fully vetted" and commissioned missionaries via the cooperative program, which has proven itself an immense vehicle for the spread of the gospel around the globe. More so, it has allowed missionaries to be missionaries instead of constantly running about raising funds.

    But, there is no hard and fast rule that stipulates that you dare not support any missionary directly that I know of and I am rather well connected within SBC circles. I am close friends with the past President of the SBC and current President of the IMB, Dr. Tom Elliff (I worked with him on his doctoral dissertation) and with his VP of Theological Education, Dr. Chuck Lawless. Tom is my "spiritual daddy" in ministry, and Chuck the second Dean of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism and Missions at Southern Seminary, for whom my wife worked for about 10 years. All of us support individual missions personnel.

    Not really... That is probably THE hallmark of what it means to be SBC. I can't imagine the scenario where an SBC church that was not dually-aligned (which raises a whole host of other issues) would stop giving through the cooperative program and to solely individual missionaries or mission boards apart from those of the SBC.

    But, individual congregations might support missionaries along with their activity with the cooperative program, and I have been a part of two churches that did just that. One had a resident missionary who was on continual trips to India and Africa and he took those in the church who could afford and prepare along with him on trips, which he averaged about once a quarter. This was all apart from the cooperative program, but the church still supported that as well. And, at Sojourn, we have developed the Sojourn Network which supports church planting in America and around the world. This too is distinct from the cooperative program, but not a replacement for it.

    Not at all... In fact, in a proper New Testament church there should be no secrets, lies, or otherwise hidden things that if found out would hinder the relationship between leadership and membership.

    I am curious as to whom it is that you have to support in such secrecy, and if it is a legitimate agency or individual -- or one who is theologically sound even for asking for funding in a manner that he or she knows goes against the Convention if they are SBC, and if not, the sky is the limit.
     
  13. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Like many have said here our church (SBC) supports both the cp and other independent missionaries. I don’t know about state or nation wide, but many churches in our local association are unable (or unwilling) to support the cp. Each month the news letter records the churches and the amounts given. I would say 75% of our SBC churches give nothing.

    Why? I would say that depends on the church.
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    Again, I said worldwide. Domestic and foreign missions are equally vital.

    The only reservation I have about the CP is that I wish more money went to missions, not less.
     
  15. Salty

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    The President of the Home Mission Board was the guest speaker at the Bap Convention of NY back in Oct. He told us that there has been several layoffs at the home office -but those funds will be used to put more missionaries on the field.
     
  16. mandym

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    Are you speaking of NAMB?
     
  17. John of Japan

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    Domestic mission efforts are hard to quantify in the IFB movement. Many young preachers start churches with no organization behind them. But I'll find the book with the survey and give some more figures tomorrow.

    I will say this. Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but does not the Home Board of the SBC include charitable efforts in the figures? If so, we are not talking about the same thing. Feeding the poor, however laudable, is not commanded by the Great Commission and is therefore not a part of world missions.
     
  18. agedman

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    I would like to answer a few misconceptions.


    First, I didn't leave the SBC with bitterness or anger.

    It was some 40 years ago and the conflict wasn't mine to start nor did my leaving end the matter(s).

    The cooperative program had their own politics and turf wars before I became involved, and when I began to ask questions there were some who retaliated. I didn't just get angry and "walk away." I was told to leave. My family and I did so quietly, found another ministry that needed us and continued for a few more years as SB before quietly leaving the SBC.

    I have had no particular regard nor desire to be affiliated with the SBC or the cooperative program.

    Second, I wanted to know if the cooperative program was being held accountable. From the responses, it looks as though not much has changed.

    Baptists pew sitters in general are very free with trusting others to make financial decisions without accountability and even more so once the monies travel beyond the local church. I would never diminish the importance nor the spirit of giving.

    Third. There were generally two questions. One was if the local church folks considered the cooperative program the touchstone of being SB, or if the cooperative program had been returned to being a tool. Being SB originally was distinct by the doctrines and principles held as opposed to other local denomination affiliated churches. However, as the cooperative program became more powerful and exclusive to what was or wasn't "SB" the program became the distinction.


    Another question had to do with whether local leadership (pastors, music directors...) were still awarded by recommendation(s) given by certain of the cooperative program ruling body depending on the amount of both political and financial support given to the program(s) or member.

    It was not unusual to hear a search committee recommend a person to a church with the remark that, " _____ ______ of the cooperative board of the Southern Baptist Convention speaks (or writes) of this man as being ...."

    Of course, no typical SB pew sitter would ever consider they were more wise or less endowed by the Holy Spirit's leading then a cooperative board member.


    The young blood of this generation have a great advantage in finding information, background, validating resume's, and even some knowledge of doctrine that were not available to my group.

    It would be sad if such advantages have not lead to greater accountability and more ownership over the programs of the convention by the local church.
     
  19. glfredrick

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    That is no longer a part of the North American Mission Board of the SBC. They stopped being the HMB a couple of decades ago.

    And, there is a good sized national church planting movement through NAMB. I know, I am part of it.
     
  20. glfredrick

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    You sure do know a lot about the IMB and SBC for a person who walked away from them 40 years ago. Perhaps there are some gaps in your understanding... :wavey:
     

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