The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts to support California Southern Baptist Convention and Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries.
The Cooperative Program works best when all parties cooperate to accomplish the fulfillment of the Great Commission, including:
- Church members
- Local congregations
- State Baptist conventions
- Southern Baptist Convention
The Cooperative Program begins with church members!
Church members give of themselves first to God (II Corinthians 8:5). Next, out of gratitude and obedience to God for what He has done, members commit to give back to Him, through their church, a portion of what He provides. This is commonly called a tithe and represents 10 percent of a person's income (Leviticus 27:30, Malachi 3:10).
Local congregations decide the next step. Every year churches prayerfully decide how much of their undesignated gifts will be committed to reaching people in California and around the world through the Cooperative Program. This amount is then forwarded to California Southern Baptist Convention.
Messengers at the state convention annual meeting, from your church and other CSBC congregations, decide what percentage of Cooperative Program gifts contributed by local congregations stay in California to support local missions and ministries. That percentage is then forwarded to the SBC for North American and international missions and ministries.
Messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, from across the country, decide how the gifts received from the states will be distributed among SBC entities. These gifts are used to:
- send and support missionaries,
- train pastors and other ministry leaders,
- provide relief for retired ministers and widows and
- address social, moral and ethical concerns relating to faith and families.
The bottom line: people around the world hear the gospel and receive Christ!
Why Southern Baptists Embrace the Cooperative Program
- It presents a unified and comprehensive budget, throwing a funding "blanket" over statewide, national and international missions and ministries.
- It provides long‐term sustainability for Southern Baptist entities. When a church makes missions giving a percentage of their church budgets, it provide consistency and stability.
- It adheres to the long-held Baptist principle that "we can do more together than alone."
- It mitigates competition between entities, thereby allowing a balanced Acts 1:8 strategy.
CP levels the playing field, and makes a place at the table for small and ethnic churches. Every church can stand hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, on level ground, as partners in the gospel (large churches, small churches, new churches, growing churches, graying churches and ethnic churches).
History of the Cooperative Program
Since its inception in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention has always had one mission – the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). To fulfill its assigned part of this divine mandate, each early SBC entity made special offering appeals to churches, which was referred to as the "societal" approach to missions and resulted in severe financial deficits, competition among entities, overlapping pledge campaigns and frequent emergency appeals that greatly hampered the expanding ministry opportunities God was giving Southern Baptists. Some entities procured loans to cover operating costs until pledges or special offerings were received.
In 1919, the leaders of the SBC proposed the 75 Million Campaign, a five‐year pledge campaign that, for the first time, included everything – the missions and ministries of all the state conventions and the SBC. Though falling short of its goals, a God‐given partnership of missions support was conceived –the Cooperative Program. Since its launch in 1925, the effectiveness of the Cooperative Program has been dependent upon individuals, churches, state conventions and SBC entities cooperating, working toward a common goal of sharing the gospel with every person on the planet.
Learn more about the Cooperative Program.
Check out other avenues for giving to ministries of CSBC and the SBC.