By Matt Tullos
Stewardship development specialist, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
It’s that time again when the sun bids us to flee from the status quo and frolic with the family in favorite locations. Whether you are a one-week mountain man or a four-day beach bum, we all need a week to unwind, recalibrate and reconnect with family.
If you’re like me, you begin to wonder who’s minding the store in your absence. We go on vacation, but the work continues on in our absence thanks to faithful coworkers who keep pushing the ball down the field. And chances are pretty good that when we get back, we’ll do the same for somebody else.
But there’s one thing that never goes on vacation: The Cooperative Program. For almost 100 years, the Cooperative Program has been doing some pretty amazing things. Let me remind you of just a few:
• Sending missionaries around the world to plant churches, evangelize and give hope in desperate corners of the world. (3,692 International Career Missionaries to be exact)
• Providing a safe place for kids at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home.
• Planting churches here in Tennessee
• Making seminary a reality to students who want to serve churches and missions.
• Helping to end human trafficking
• Evangelizing international students on college campuses
• Training Sunday School leaders
• Equipping Disaster Relief teams who sacrificially give their time in life’s most difficult moments
• Reaching the next generation with camps, conferences, and resources
• Helping exceptional people with special needs
• Fostering Conference Centers like Carson Springs and Linden Valley
• Supporting campus ministries through the BCMs
Like the Cooperative Program, the list goes on and CP never goes on vacation. I’m so very glad. Like so many others, the Cooperative Program is all over my personal story and roots.
My great grandmother was in a Baptist children’s home as a child. My aunt and uncle sensed God’s call to Thailand and spent 30 years there without having to raise a penny of support. Dad and I received an amazing education at two Cooperative Program-supported seminaries. I’m just one life that was changed through the gifts of Southern Baptist churches through the Cooperative Program. For 95 years the Cooperative Program never took a time out.
It’s also the envy of so many other Christian organizations and independent ministries. Over the past year, many people asked me what I do and I get to tell the story of this grand jewel of missions support. They are overwhelmed by the thought of so many different kinds of churches and missions working together to tell the story of Jesus.
Why would a church like Morrisetts Chapel Baptist Church in Whitesburg give 29 percent from their budget through the Cooperative Program? Why would a megachurch like Bellevue in Memphis give around a million annually for the past two years through the Cooperative Program?
The answer is simple. Big or small, they realize that the mission is bigger than themselves and the Cooperative Program never goes on vacation. And that’s a very good thing! B&R