Yesterday I promised that I would write about how my church, as small as it is, gives so generously to the Cooperative Program. Here is a bit of context before I begin. LaGrange Park Baptist Church is a small church. We average less than 100 in Sunday school. We are in an association of 100 churches. In our association, there are a couple of churches that are literally 10 times our size . Last year we led the NSRBA in giving to Annie Armstrong and were close to the top in Lottie Moon giving. We give 11% of all undesignated gifts to the CP. (I just realized that this entire paragraph would be gibberish if a non-Southern-Baptist read it.)
What is the key to this giving? I believe it begins with our pastor. All preachers say they are committed to missions, but our pastor demonstrates it. His home plays host to missionaries when a home is needed. One of his children served as a US/C-2 missionary, another was a NAMB employee for a number of years. He regularly participates in short-term missions and makes no secret of the fact that he hopes to be able to do mission work after retirement. His view is that if you are not willing to go on missions, the least you can do is to give.
As in all churches, our WMU does a wonderful job of keeping prayer for missions in the forefront. We have adopted a people group and regularly hear updates about them.
Yesterday I said that one of the reasons I believe mission giving has fragmented in many churches is that the vision of accomplishing smaller tasks is easier to see. How can you motivate people to give to a Lottie Moon goal that last year was $170 million? By putting a reachable church goal before the people. Our church goal is posted all over the church. In the sanctuary we chart our progress toward that goal.
Probably the most important factor in our church is the fact that we let people know the good their money does. We show the promotional videos, we participate in mission studies, and we read the missionary moments produced by the mission boards. Whenever missionaries are available they speak in our church. There have been at least 10 missionary speakers in our church over the last 4 years. (More if you count military chaplains.)
As for the 11% we give to the CP. We make it known what a gift to our church does. This may again come back to the pastor, but his view is that if we ask our people to tithe, the least the church can do is to tithe. (We also give 5% of our undesignated offerings to the NSRBA.) When, a few years ago, the state convention introduced their 3 years to add 1% initiative, we just added one percent on the next budget.
People in our church know how the cooperative program works. They may not have percentages memorized, but they certainly understand the concepts. They know what their giving does. And that I believe is the key.
Any of you from my church feel free to chime in and tell me what I left out.