October is Cooperative Program (CP) Month, and it’s the season to talk about the CP in your church. There are a lot of good reasons to talk about the CP as well.
If your church is like most Oklahoma Baptists, there is a season and a reason to talk about sending our vital support to our missionaries around the world through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) in the spring, the Edna McMillian State Mission Offering (SMO) in September and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) in December.
But sandwiched in there in the month of October is one of the equally valid reasons to call attention to missions—the Cooperative Program. Does you church have a plan to promote the CP in your church? I hope you will consider doing so. CP is also vital to the support of our missionaries!
A recent survey of pastors and ministry leaders conducted by Oklahoma Baptists revealed that the CP is the offering least likely to be talked about from the pulpit in our churches. We need to change that because the CP is so vital to everything we do as Baptists.
CP is the one offering collected by Southern Baptists that impacts everything we do. Literally everything we do benefits from the CP, including when we raise money for AAEO, SMO and LMCO. That’s because the people who administer these offerings are paid through the CP. Because of this, 100 percent of the money collected by these designated offerings can go to the mission field. The CP makes this possible!
Promoting the CP is healthy for your church too! That is because when you talk about the CP from the pulpit, you are encouraging people to give through your church’s undesignated offering. The CP helps give your church members even more reason to give to your church. Not only are they supporting everything your church is doing in your community and beyond, when your church gives through the CP, it supports everything else done by Oklahoma Baptists in the state, and everything done by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) around the world. The CP make this possible!
Another beneficial aspect of promoting CP giving through your church is stewardship. The CP promotes healthy discipleship in your church because it encourages stewardship and tithing to your church. The designated offerings (AAEO, SMO, and LMCO) are vital to the support of missions, but these are offerings given above and beyond the tithe. All believers need to develop the habit of generosity and regular giving. This kind of giving is not only generous, it is also God-honoring worship and Christian fellowship. The CP makes this possible!
CP is healthy for your church also because it makes a Kingdom impact. A healthy church is one that is not only focused inwardly toward the needs of the members, it is one that is also focused outwardly toward the lost. Your church, no matter the size, needs to be a part of the Great Commission around the world. The CP makes this possible!
6 ways to be an advocate for the CP in your church in October
Tell your CP story: As a pastor or ministry leader, think about the many ways the CP has impacted your life. How did you hear about the Gospel? How did you discern your calling to ministry? How did you prepare for ministry? What about how you engage in global missions? No doubt there was a CP-funded ministry connected to one, or all of these.
The CP is not an impersonal program. There are a lot of faces you could put on the CP—missionaries, Baptist Collegiate Ministry directors, Falls Creek leadership, Disaster Relief, church planting, etc. But the most important face your church needs to see on the CP is yours. Let them know how the CP made a difference in your church.
Become a CP Ambassador: Oklahoma Baptists have created a useful planning guide to help you plan the CP advocacy in your church. If you are the pastor, you can recruit someone to be your church’s CP Ambassador, and they can use the guide to plan some special emphasis in your church this month or some other time in the year. This resource is undated, so you can use it any time of the year. Download the free (thanks to the CP) guide here.
Encourage Stewardship: The SBC has developed a free resource to help your church members better manage their finances and become stewards. The “It’s a New Day!” workbook, a multi-week study, teaches church members (and ministry leaders) to manage finances in a way that honors God. It also includes companion videos that go with each lesson. It’s also free (thanks again to the CP) for download here.
Download More Resources: Oklahoma Baptists have developed many useful resources to use in your church to advocate for the CP. There are printable posters, flyers and scores of videos that can help you tell the story of the impact of the CP. Speaking of faces, there is even a 52-week Prayer Guide with PowerPoint slides you can use, that puts other Oklahoma faces and names on the CP. Get them for free (thanks, CP) here.
CP Impact Guide: While we are talking about CP impact, did you ever wonder how the CP impacted the Great Commission recently? Oklahoma Baptists have partnered with International Mission Board and North American Mission Board to give you the latest impacts of the CP on missions in the last six months. Download the 2021 Mid-Year CP Impact Report to see all the great things the CP is doing right now. It’s free (CP again) here.
Go Digital with ACH Bank Transferring: Did you know the USPS recently stated that they will be slowing down their mail delivery service? It’s true, read about and see a video about it here. Since the Post Office is slowing down, you know what else will slow down? Your support of missions given through the CP if you mail your check. Oklahoma Baptists send the CP support from churches by using bank Automated Clearing House (ACH) transferring. It’s safe, saves on postage (and slow USPS delivery), and there are no fees. Bank to bank transferring means that CP support gets to the mission field in less than half the time of surface mail.
Your church can use ACH transferring too! Just sign up to have CP contributions electronically transferred directly from your church checking account. Signing up for online CP remittance is easy. Just fill out a simple form to get started. You will also receive information on how to submit your gifts using our secure online remittance form. Go here to see the form.
There is a lot more to the CP than we can write here. For more information about the Cooperative Program click here. It’s all free, thanks to the CP!