Oklahoma Baptists, I have some tremendously exciting news to share with you that is cause for great celebration! As many of you know, Southern Baptists created the Cooperative Program (CP) in 1925. The next year, Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma started giving through the CP. Along the way, we’ve hit some great milestones in our CP giving.
The first time Oklahoma Baptists gave more than $500,000 in a single year was in 1946. In 1951, we gave more than $1 million in a single year for the first time. In 1974, we gave more than $5 million.
But here’s the big news I want to share with you—I asked our team to do some research, and we discovered that when you cumulatively add all the CP gifts Oklahoma Baptist churches have given since 1926, we have given $1 billion to Kingdom causes supported through the Cooperative Program! One billion dollars! We passed that mark at the beginning of February this year, and these numbers do not include gifts to special offerings like Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong—just CP giving.
Let me take a moment and break that down a bit. Since 1926, Oklahoma Baptists have given just short of $198 million to what was then the Foreign, now International Mission Board. We have sent more than $83 million to what was the Home, now North American Mission Board, and more than $84 million to our Southern Baptist Convention seminaries.
And over the decades, Oklahoma Baptists, through their faithfulness to CP giving, have supported the work of Falls Creek, CrossTimbers, Disaster Relief and Baptist Collegiate Ministries right here in Oklahoma. Not to mention our affiliates such as Oklahoma Baptist University, Baptist Village Communities, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and WatersEdge have been supported.
Most of all, I like to think of this billion dollars in terms of the lives that have been changed through the generosity of Oklahoma Baptists. I like to think of the number of missionaries that have been put in the field taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to some of the darkest, hardest to reach places through these gifts—or the number of churches that have been planted, or the number of those called to ministry trained in our seminaries and went on to serve in churches and the mission field.
Think of these one billion dollars in terms of the students who have come to faith in Christ and were called to ministry at Falls Creek, the children who had no home and were given one, the college student who found identity and purpose in Christ. Only the Lord knows the number of people and the number of ways in which those people were impacted for the Kingdom by the generosity of Oklahoma Baptists, but I assure you it is significant!
We have learned through our faithful giving through the Cooperative Program for almost 100 years that we can do significantly more for the Kingdom together than we can apart. What one church may be unable to do, many churches partnering together can do!
So, way to go, Oklahoma Baptists! Thank you for one billion dollars! Your faithful and generous giving through the CP is making a huge difference for the Kingdom right here in Oklahoma and across the globe. Let’s keep our support through the Cooperative Program going, and if the Lord tarries His coming, give a billion more!