The Cooperative Program at Ninety-nine

Barrett DukeAll Enews, Strengthening Team

The Cooperative Program turns 100 years old next year. This missions funding plan adopted by Southern Baptists in 1925 has raised over $20 billion since its start. Through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists have been able to provide the funds they need to keep tens of thousands of missionaries on the field around the world, in the United States, and right here in Montana.

The Cooperative Program figures prominently in every single church’s existence in our state. From the very beginning of the first SBC church planted in Montana in 1952, the Cooperative Program has helped support church planters and provide outreach funds and seed money for buying land and building our church buildings. It supported the associational missionaries that stayed close to our churches for decades and helped them through hard times. It still supports a state ministry to our churches that enables us to provide equipping events and staff to come alongside our pastors and churches in time of need.

Southern Baptists adopted one of the most effective missions funding plans ever envisioned by God’s people when they voted for the Cooperative Program. The idea behind CP is for every member church to voluntarily give something from their offerings to a common funding pool that can help advance the Lord’s Kingdom in their own communities and all the way around the world. Every church that contributes to CP has a part in every Southern Baptist missionary throughout the world, every future pastor being trained in our six seminaries around the country, every church plant supported by the North American Mission Board, and every ministry of their state teams to their churches.

From its small beginnings in 1925, the Cooperative program has grown to a strong, mature funding ministry that raises more than $200 million every year. You read that right. Sometimes, we might wonder if our small CP gifts make a difference. When nearly 50,000 congregations put something in the bucket, it adds up. The fact that nearly 50,000 congregations in the US make up the Southern Baptist Convention is testimony in itself that this funding plan works.

Too many of our folks today aren’t even aware of the Cooperative Program. We’ve taken it for granted. Or, we’ve been disappointed in someone in SBC life and we’ve pulled back from our promotion of it and too often even from our support of it. Today, nearly 40% of Southern Baptist churches aren’t even giving to CP. We’re doing a little better than that, but not by very much. Nearly 25% of our affiliated churches haven’t given to the Cooperative Program in the last year. Some haven’t given for years.

If you’re one of those churches, I encourage you to reconsider. We don’t have it all together, but we’re still doing most of it right. And, we’re slowly, but surely, addressing the parts that need improving. In the meantime, thousands of missionaries here and around the world depend on us to continue to provide for their support so they don’t have to come back and spends months trying to raise money to go back on the field.

If you’re one of the majority of our churches that is continuing to support the Cooperative Program, please accept my thanks. I appreciate your trust and your partnership in the effort of Southern Baptists to bring the gospel to every single person on our planet, starting here in Montana and then around the world.

Let’s make sure the folks in our pews know about and understand the Cooperative Program, too. Starting with this article, I’m going to start sending out videos that I hope you’ll share with your congregations on Sunday mornings so they, too, can celebrate what God is doing through the faithful giving of the people who call themselves Southern Baptists.

If you’ll go to you can learn all about the Cooperative Program and find dozens of videos to watch and to share with others about this amazing, God-blessed, missions-supporting ministry. Here’s a link to the first video I encourage you to share with your folks, It’s short enough to show on Sunday morning. I’ll send a different one out every other month that I believe is short enough to show to your folks on Sunday morning and that tells another part of the CP story and the missions it makes possible. There are more lost people on our planet than ever. Let’s make CP’s next century of Gospel advance better than this one.

About the Author

Barrett Duke

Barrett Duke is the Executive Director and Treasurer for the Montana Southern Baptist Convention.