The Cooperative Program & church plants
Page Brooks, Baptist Press
August 24, 2011

The Cooperative Program & church plants

The Cooperative Program & church plants
Page Brooks, Baptist Press
August 24, 2011

NEW ORLEANS – God has allowed me
the privilege of serving three church plants in 15 years of ministry. I have
served in various roles in these, from staff pastor to lead pastor. While all
of the church plants have given to the Cooperative Program (CP) in varying
amounts, promotion of the CP has been a constant goal (and joy) for our church

Being a professor and church
planter, I believe I have a unique perspective concerning the promotion of the
Cooperative Program. As a professor, I see more and more seminary students who
are not familiar with many of our Southern Baptist mission-funding programs. As
a church planter, I see the challenge of educating new believers in showing
them the genius of cooperative funding of missions through CP.

Following are some simple
suggestions for how church planters can promote the Cooperative Program in a
joyful way in their churches as we work to fulfill the Great Commission

1. Start early in promoting the Cooperative Program. From the
start of a new church plant, it is important to help new believers and members
understand what the CP is and how it works. At my current church plant, we
start in our new members class by telling them about the CP and how our church
gives. We show members how even though we might be a small church plant now,
our money combined with other small church plants (and churches) can have a
large Kingdom impact.

2. Show the results of CP giving.
Many people in today’s generation don’t care about the process of CP money
collection and disbursement. I have found that by emphasizing the end results
of the CP, people are more receptive to learning. We have had great results by
explaining to people how their money goes to help international missions, local
missions, disaster relief, etc. By seeing their money in action and knowing the
end results, I believe people are more likely to give and support the CP.

3. Explain the Kingdom impact at a
local, national and international level. The trend nowadays is for church
plants to keep funding at the local level because they are able to see a direct
impact in their community. Yet, churchgoers also have a heart for helping when
they see both national and international catastrophes occur. We can show our
members the incredible advantage of the CP. Even with a small amount of
dollars, a church can have a local and global impact, from their own
communities to the farthest countries of the world.

4. Share the joy of giving a
“tithe” of the church. In our church plant, I explain that giving to
the CP is our church’s “tithe.” Just like individuals and families
give a tithe and offering for the blessings God has given, so our church gives
a “tithe” for the blessings God has given us. We then share stories
of how God has used our tithe and offering to make a Kingdom impact. Stories
connect to the postmodern generation because it connects people to the impact
of their giving. The more stories you share, the more joy you may see in your
congregation’s giving.

In the current church setting where
so many organizations and networks are vying for the attention of our church
offerings, I pray these simple suggestions will help influence Southern Baptist
church plants to support perhaps the greatest missions-funding strategy the world
has ever known – the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brooks is
assistant professor of theology and Islamic studies at New Orleans Baptist
Theological Seminary and founding co-pastor of the Mosaic Church in New
Orleans. This column first appeared at SBCToday.com.)