Since 2006 the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) Cooperative Program budget has shifted a greater percentage of ministry dollars to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for international missions, North American missions and equipping leaders through SBC seminaries.
The SBC budget allocation increased by one half percent each year for the past seven years, bringing the percentage up to 35.5 percent. The allocation for North Carolina ministries also increased, shifting from 34.8 percent to 39 percent.
Yet, during that same seven-year period, the total Cooperative Program budget decreased by about $3 million. In order to penetrate spiritual darkness and reach the growing number of lost people in the state, nation and world, ministry and missions efforts must not only continue but must increase; therefore, giving through the Cooperative Program must also increase.
BSC leadership is challenging all North Carolina Baptist churches to join a global missions advance by increasing Cooperative Program giving by one percent.
“During tough economic times, if we remain the same in our giving percentage, then the actual dollar amount we give to missions is down,” said Stan Welch, pastor of West Asheville Baptist Church and chairman of the BSC budget committee.
Welch explained that one percent more from one church may not seem significant, but when combined with the giving from churches across the state, the potential for Kingdom impact is tremendous.
“Just imagine if all our 4,300 churches increased their giving by one percent. That would mean an additional $6 million each year for ministry and missions efforts,” Welch said.
“This would result in $3.9 million additional for North Carolina ministries and $2.1 million for SBC ministries.”
Since 2006 the Cooperative Program budget allocation for church planting increased by 90 percent. However, if all churches accept the 1% Challenge, the BSC would be able to help churches start 26 more churches each year across the state.
The additional $6 million would also make the following possible:
The International Mission Board employing 21 more missionaries to help engage 21 more unreached, unengaged people groups each year
The North American Mission Board investing an additional $478,000 into church planting each year
The six SBC seminaries training 71 more pastors, missionaries and leaders each year
Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute training 41 more pastors and leaders each year
Baptist Children’s Homes caring for 155 more children each month
The 1% Challenge initially came from SBC Executive Committee president Frank Page during the 2011 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. Page urged messengers to join in a “revival of total mission support, including a renewed commitment to unified ministry through the Cooperative Program.”
Since that time, churches across the SBC have accepted the 1% Challenge, resulting in more resources to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. If every church in the SBC accepts the challenge, the result would be $100 million more for Kingdom ministry.
During the recent BSC Board of Directors meeting at Caraway Conference Center, each of the BSC presidents and Board officers shared testimonies of how their churches have accepted the 1% Challenge.
“You can count on us at First Baptist Charlotte,” said pastor and BSC president Mark Harris. “We don’t want to ask you to do anything we won’t do.”
First Baptist Charlotte accepted the 1% Challenge earlier this year.
Timmy Blair, pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier and BSC second vice president, said that during his 24 years at Piney Grove Chapel the congregation has learned more about missions and the value of the Cooperative Program.
“We can do a lot more together than we can apart. We can be part of something great, such as sending out hundreds of missionaries in our own country and around the world,” he said. “Look at the great big picture and not just what you’re doing at home in your church; think in terms of Kingdom growth and Kingdom mission. There’s a world out there that needs the gospel.”
For the past five years Welch has led his congregation to increase Cooperative Program giving, and the congregation is also accepting the 1% Challenge.
“We believe in what is taking place locally, nationally and internationally,” Welch said. “We can’t do everything, but we can each do something. It can make a difference, especially combined with other Southern Baptists.”
For more information about the Cooperative Program visit www.ncbaptist.org/cp.