If COVID-19 has taught us anything as Southern Baptists, it has taught us that we are stronger together than on our own. This truth is not new to us, but it has been an unexpected reminder in an otherwise challenging time. How has COVID-19 taught us that we are stronger together? Simply put, the Great Commission (GC) continues to move forward despite the crippling effects of a pandemic.
A couple of months ago the Missions Mobilization Team (MMT) of the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) sent out a survey to churches. The survey’s purpose was to help the MMT learn about the missions involvement of KBC churches and how to better help them reach KY and the world for Christ. The survey was developed and sent out pre-COVID, but the results only confirm what COVID has reminded us of as Southern Baptists—we are stronger together.
Two-hundred and forty-six churches participated in the survey. The first question dealt with what is foundational to the Great Commission—prayer. Without prayer, the GC falters. Of survey responses, 51% of the churches said that they have an intentional prayer strategy for the GC. We know from Acts that the gospel goes out in power as the people of God cry out for the Lord to work mightily through them with the message of Jesus (e.g., Acts 4:23-31). If we desire GC impact through our churches, prayer is our starting place.
As Southern Baptists, along with prayer, the fuel for our GC drive is the Cooperative Program (CP). Of participating churches, 96% give through CP. Missions advancement takes resources; therefore, Southern Baptists in 1925 created the most effective way to pool our resources together through what we call the Cooperative Program. In these uncertain days of a pandemic, SBC leaders have reminded us of the urgency and value of CP giving for ongoing mission advancement.
Celebrating @SBCCP Sunday just a couple of days ago on April 26, IMB President, Paul Chitwood, thanked Southern Baptists on behalf of 3,670 missionaries and their 2,880 children and 300+ stateside staff and families (@DrPaulChitwood). While we continue to refine our systems and entities from our 175-year existence (12 national entities, 41 state conventions, 1,100 local associations), the driving force behind our cooperation is the Cooperative Program (C. Ashley Clayton, bpnews.net).
At the forefront of our GC expansion lies our two mission agencies—the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. Even in a pandemic, our missionaries remain on the field and continue to serve faithfully. How can this be so? The Cooperative Program.
As a Kentucky Baptist and Southern Baptist family, all we do in missions is fueled by praying and giving. Because we pray and give cooperatively, thousands of missionaries are all over the globe sharing the good news of Jesus in a time of fear and uncertainty. The message is simple—Jesus is our only hope in life and death. Thank you, Kentucky Baptists, for praying and giving, particularly in a time when the world has been brought to a halt. When all around us is uncertain, we are most certainly stronger together.