The Cooperative Program and the Widow’s Mite

I made a left hand turn and proceeded down a windy one lane road that continued to narrow the further I drove. The canopy of trees overhead enveloped the road in complete shadows as I contemplated whether I had wandered on to private property.

“There is no way I will find a church down this lane,” I thought to myself. As I was about to turn around, I saw peeking through the trees a white wood frame Kentucky Baptist church.

Pulling into the parking lot gave me a greater view of this church building that is occupied by about fifteen people on Sunday mornings. Sitting behind the church is a small structure that serves as the outhouse. Yes, you read that correctly. The church has no running water.

In 2022 the church reported receiving a total of $4,550 in offerings for the entire year. Despite their obvious challenges, this is a Cooperative Program giving church.

Obviously, the money they give to support our cooperative mission efforts could be used to improve the building, increase pay to the pastor, or install running water to the property. Instead of those expenditures, the church feels it is important to partner with other Kentucky Baptist churches by giving to support missions through the Cooperative Program.

Their pastor is a good shepherd who leads them well and clearly preaches the gospel. I asked him, “Why does the church give to support the Cooperative Program?” His reply was one I wish every member of every church could hear: “Why do we even exist if we are not supporting the spread of the gospel through the Cooperative Program.”

In addition to giving to CP, this small church is engaged in a variety of local mission opportunities. They realize their size is not a deterrent in having a kingdom impact.

This church is not likely to be listed as one of the top CP giving churches in our state but their sacrifice rivals that of the largest contributors.

In Mark 12, Jesus commends a widow for her gift of two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. He reminds His disciples that it is not the size of the gift but rather the size of the sacrifice by saying, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”(Mark 12:43-44)

If a church who has less than $5,000 in annual offerings and worships in a building without running water can impact the world by giving to the Cooperative Program, then your church can too. If you would like to learn more about how your church can truly share in the worldwide spread of the gospel through the Cooperative program, contact me at and I would be elated to help.

Five Takeaways From Attending The SBC Executive Committee Meeting

(Photo Credit: Baptist Press)

The SBC Executive Committee convened in Nashville this week and I was fortunate to be in attendance with two colleagues from the Kentucky Baptist Convention. This was my first full SBC Executive Committee meeting and being present to observe allowed me to gain a greater understanding of how our convention handles business, interact with convention and entity leaders, and receive information to share with Kentucky Baptist churches.

Here are five takeaways from my experience with the SBC Executive Committee:

Southern Baptist Representation

The 86 members of the Executive Committee are a representative group of Southern Baptists. Nominated by the Committee on Nominations and elected by messengers at the annual meeting, this group is diversified geographically to represent all areas of our country. Since the SBC is not just a convention of pastors, at least one-third of the Executive Committee members must be non-ministers. This means approximately 30 of the members are teachers, bankers, nurses, lawyers, and homemakers. This unique setup ensures that people in our local church pews have significant leadership within our national convention. The size of the churches they represent varies and some may be surprised to learn that neither the current SBC President nor the EC Chairperson are mega-church pastors. Additionally, 26 of the current Executive Committee members are women or minorities. The SBC has grown in its diversity over the past several years and the makeup of the Executive Committee helps represent those trends. While there are some very talented and professional people on the SBC EC, it is not a committee of “elites” but rather a collection of people to which most Southern Baptists can relate.

It is a New Day for the Executive Committee

This group has been at the epicenter of some of the most difficult days in the history of the SBC. Much of the criticism was warranted but positive steps are being made. The comments this week were certainly sensitive to the issues Southern Baptists face as they are taking their job of sexual abuse response and financial stewardship seriously. The Abuse Response Implementation Task Force has begun its work and a new Caring Well Sunday was added to the annual SBC calendar to keep sexual abuse response forever on our minds. The meeting contained an appropriate level of remorse and resolve to keep children safe.

From all accounts I heard, the Executive Committee meeting felt different this time. There are certainly challenges before the committee, but the room contained a spirit of cooperation and hope for the future. I have been impressed with Interim President/CEO Willie McLaurin’s transparent and unifying leadership. I am thankful to have faithful Kentucky Baptists Nick Sandefur, John Lucas, Charles Frazier, and Marcella Crenshaw representing our state as important decisions are being made.

Cooperative Program Giving is Growing

Despite the painful past two years in Southern Baptist life, giving to the financial fuel for our mission work continues to grow. Nationwide SBC Cooperative Program giving for the fiscal year ending this month is projected to eclipse $200 million. This is the largest amount since 2008.

Additionally, special gifts of over $1 million were presented at the meeting. Lifeway delivered over $513,000 in mission offerings from their summer camps to support IMB and NAMB missionaries. The Southern Baptist Convention of Ohio presented the Executive Committee with a check for $500,000 for CP as proceeds from the sale of their Seneca Lake Baptist Camp.

The SBC is Becoming More Diverse

EC staff shared that 22.3% of our convention churches and 62% of churches planted during the pandemic are racially and ethnically diverse. There are presently over 3,200 Hispanic churches and 2,000 Asian churches representing 30 nationalities. Almost 1/3 of the members of the recently appointed Committee on Committees are minorities. There is hope this will strengthen diversity within our SBC leadership.

The SBC Executive Committee Needs Our Prayers

Major issues are at hand such as the search for a new SBC EC President/CEO and helping to make the SBC a place where no sex abuser can ever hide again. Making sound financial decisions, carrying out the desires of the messengers, and communicating well to churches are paramount during this time of transition.

Will you please join me in prayer for all 86 of our Executive Committee members and the 30 Executive Committee employees?

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