Most Kentucky Baptists are aware that the Cooperative Program offerings given through their churches provide support for missionaries who serve overseas through the International Mission Board, as well as other Southern Baptist Convention ministries and missions. What many Kentucky Baptists may not realize is the extent to which the CP is funding mission work and ministry here in the commonwealth. When churches give through the CP, they not only invest in the advance of the gospel in other countries, they invest in the advance of the gospel in their own communities and in neighboring counties and churches.
For example, through the Cooperative Program, ministry couples in Kentucky are encouraged and equipped during the annual Shepherding conference and return to their churches re-energized for the work to which God has called them. Churches are spurred on in the area of evangelism by the annual RISK conference. Through the consulting work of our KBC Mission Board staff, provided by the CP, every Baptist church in Kentucky has the opportunity to receive advice and training in any area of their ministry and mission outreach programs. And university students across the state are engaged by campus missionaries whose salary and ministry budgets are funded through the CP.
The cost of sending children and teens to summer camp is reduced because of the investment KBC churches make in the Cooperative Program, as is the cost of study in our boarding school, Bible college, Baptist university, and Baptist seminary here in our state. James 1:27 ministries are carried out day and night as the CP helps fund the work of our children’s homes and assist Kentucky Baptists called to foster or adopt. State missionaries receive ministry funds, church planters receive financial support, and associational missionaries are equipped for their work, all because churches give through the CP. Disaster Relief teams stand ready to deploy, bringing help and hope to people in the midst of life-changing crises, help made possible by the CP. A foundation ministry is available to help churches and individual donors secure the financial future of a particular church or any form of Baptist work in Kentucky or beyond, a ministry funded by the Cooperative Program. The Baptist story and Baptist news are heralded through our state newspaper and missions education is promoted and facilitated through our Woman’s Missionary Union, funded in part by—you guessed it—the CP.
While this list is not exhaustive, I trust that it sheds light upon all that Kentucky Baptists are doing to advance the gospel right here in Kentucky through the Cooperative Program. Every Kentucky Baptist Convention staff member belongs to a church that gives through the CP, as does every person who has a leadership role in the work of our denomination, including those who serve on the KBC Mission Board, convention committees, or as trustees on the boards of KBC agencies and institutions. Those who eat their bread from the CP table and those who choose to lead CP ministries and mission work should lead by example by being part of a local church with a track record of strong CP support.
I believe in the Cooperative Program because of all it accomplishes for Christ’s Kingdom. And I’m grateful for every Kentucky Baptist who believes in the Cooperative Program.
Paul Chitwood is the executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.