I Wish I Would Have Led My Church to Give More to the Cooperative Program

I Wish I Would Have Led My Church to Give More to the Cooperative Program

Written By Dr. Stacy A. Johnson

I Wish I Would Have Led My Church to Give More to the Cooperative Program

Reflecting on life’s journey, Dr. Billy Graham once said, “Although I have much to be grateful for as I look back over my life, I also have many regrets. I have failed many times, and I would do many things differently. For one thing, I would speak less and study more, and I would spend more time with my family.” As I ponder these words, I recognize parallels in my own life and ministry. Yet, there’s an additional reflection that occupies my thoughts – it’s not widely recognized or frequently quoted, but it resonates deeply.

Imagine this: you’re nearing the twilight of your ministry. The path behind seems longer than the road ahead, and the swift currents of time hasten towards an inevitable conclusion. The dreams you held for your church in your youth have matured, transformed – some realized, others unfulfilled. Friends and hopes have passed; ideals have been tempered by reality. As you survey the path trodden, a mix of regret and joy stirs within. You reassess the gospel impact of your local church, taking in the vast expanse of the Great Commission – your neighborhood, city, state – and breathe in the potential for gospel hope. In these moments of introspection, many pastors, myself included, might find themselves lamenting, “I wish I would have led my church to give more to the Cooperative Program.”

Why, one might ask, should this be a point of such poignant regret? The reasons are manifold and deeply impactful:

  1. Expansive Reach: The Cooperative Program enables churches of all sizes to extend their reach far beyond local confines, making a tangible impact in California, across North America, and around the world. Through collective giving, we support church plants, evangelistic endeavors, and a myriad of local church ministries.
  2. Collective Impact: No church, regardless of its size, can single-handedly undertake the vast mission of fulfilling the Great Commission. Conversely, even the smallest congregation can make a significant difference through the Cooperative Program. This collective effort allows each believer, each church, to contribute meaningfully to a global cause and it becomes a rallying point for Great Commission vision in our local churches.
  3. Support Beyond Mission: The Cooperative Program is not just about sending missionaries. It encompasses a holistic approach to church life. Churches that contribute receive in return – resources for discipleship, stewardship, worship, evangelism, and leadership training, including preparation for disaster relief efforts.
  4. Benefits for Church Staff: Churches participating in the Cooperative Program also help provide their staff with retirement and protection benefits, further strengthening the church community.
  5. More Than an Institutional Effort: Contributing to the Cooperative Program transcends institutional survival; it’s about reaching the lost, planting churches, nurturing future leaders, and sending missionaries to the farthest corners of the earth.

The Southern Baptist Convention, much like a bicycle, relies on two wheels for balance and motion: doctrinal agreement and shared funding. If either aspect falters, the entire structure risks collapse. Thus, the Cooperative Program is vital for maintaining this balance, ensuring that our collective mission remains vibrant and effective.

Therefore, I urge fellow pastors, especially when addressing a new members class, to speak passionately about the Cooperative Program. Educate your congregation on its significance and how it facilitates our joint mission in fulfilling the Great Commission. Such conversations can inspire increased generosity and a deeper commitment to the cause.

At the heart of the Cooperative Program are people – over 3,000 international missionaries, 15,000 seminary students, and countless lives touched by the hope of the gospel. Let us join in expressing gratitude for this incredible program and commit to enhancing our support through increased giving in the coming year.

As we ponder the path of our ministries, let the Cooperative Program be a beacon of what we can achieve together, a testament to our shared faith and dedication to Christ’s calling. It is in this spirit of unity and purpose that we can truly make a difference, leaving a legacy that echoes beyond our tenure, across generations, and around the globe.

About the Author

Dr. Stacy A. Johnson
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, San Jacinto

God called Stacy Johnson into the gospel ministry in April 1988. After serving in churches in Mississippi and Louisiana, Pastor Stacy moved from Mississippi in 1998 to continue his ministry training at The Masters' Seminary in Sun Valley, California. In 1999, Stacy was called to become the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, where he has served for 24 years. Pastor Stacy and his wife Virginia were married in 1991 and have two adult children, Anna and Drake.

Stacy received his Bachelor of General Studies from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1996 and graduated with a Master of Divinity from The Masters' Seminary in the spring of 2006. In 2021, Stacy received his D.Min from Gateway Seminary, Ontario, CA. Pastor Stacy currently serves on the Board of Trustees for California Baptist University and as Communication Assessor & Trainer for NAMB Church Planter Assessments.

His hobbies include reading, golf, cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, and searching for the world’s best-fried catfish restaurants.

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