I believe in the Cooperative Program for three basic reasons. First, there is the PRACTICAL reason. Giving through the Cooperative Program is an efficient way to fund many Great Commission Ministries. Raising money from each church for each entity and ministry would absorb so much time and energy. In addition, our missionaries do not have to spend their time and energy directly raising money, and they are instead able to focus on their ministries.
Second, there is a POLITY reason. As Baptists, we do not have a hierarchical structure. Each church is autonomous, and our cooperation is voluntary. Nowhere is this more evident than with the Cooperative Program. It is a reflection of the best of our Baptist polity. The Cooperative Program allows churches of all sizes to be part of a great work for the Lord. Together we are able to do what no one church or group of churches can do alone.
Finally, there is a PERSONAL reason. As a pastor with degrees from two of our Southern Baptist seminaries, the Cooperative Program allowed me to train for ministry at a greatly reduced cost. In a very real way, Southern Baptists have invested in me and my ministry through the Cooperative Program.
These three basic reasons are why I have led each church I have served to give generously through the Cooperative Program and will continue to do so.
Greg Corbin is senior pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham. He serves as chair of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and a member of the Executive Committee.