Recently I had the privilege of meeting one of our great Kentucky Baptist pastors who is a product of your Cooperative Program investment. In fact, he would probably say that CP has helped raise him for ministry.
Frank Stratton is pastor of Park City Baptist Church in Barren County. The church is doing well under his leadership. Attendance is strong and giving is stronger. He has faithfully led through the COVID-19 restrictions and is excited about the future. He views the church he serves as being uniquely poised to reach its community with the gospel.
But what you may not know is that you helped prepare this young preacher for ministry. You may say, “Todd, I don’t even know Frank Stratton. How can you say I helped prepare him for ministry?” But when you put a portion of your hard-earned money in the offering plate of your cooperating church, you were unknowingly making an investment in his life.
You invested in his high school education as he was a student at Oneida Baptist Institute. You helped him think through major life issues as he was interacting with one of your Kentucky Baptist Convention campus ministers. You helped him build a family that would include four precious children adopted through your Sunrise Children’s Services. You helped provide for his family as he later became an employee at Oneida Baptist Institute. You are now assisting in his ministry and theological training as Frank is enrolled in the Bivocational Certificate program at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College. Each of these institutions receives a portion of its funding through your faithful Cooperative Program giving.
Not only have you invested in Frank, but also untold thousands — even tens or hundreds of thousands more — through the 3,800 International Mission Board missionaries, the thousands of churches planted in cooperation with your North American Mission Board, the thousands of students receiving theological training through one of our SBC seminaries. Being a cooperating church, you are preparing and sending thousands of men and women into the gospel harvest field.
Is the Cooperative Program perfect? No.
Do we continually need to guard against mission drift and other issues that can damage our work? Yes.
Is there anything in the missionary sending world today as efficient as the Cooperative Program? No!
Many have said over the years that if the Cooperative Program did not exist, then someone would need to invent it.
Your dollars are at work today reaching the lost from all over the globe, training future leaders through your seminaries and campus ministries, responding to disasters through Disaster Relief and Send Relief. In fact, it is very possible that a portion of the dollars you are putting in your church’s offering plate this Sunday is being used to teach a young man at Oneida, Clear Creek, Sunrise or a Crossings Camp who could become a future pastor in one of our Kentucky Baptist churches.
On behalf of all those whose ministry is funded by faithful Kentucky Baptists like yourself, thank you.
Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.