The Southern Baptist Convention’s mission work, ethnic diversity, and vast network of cooperation will be on display at a fifteen hundred square foot Cooperative Program booth in the exhibit hall at this year’s annual meeting in New Orleans.
On a platform stage area, visitors to the CP booth will see approximately thirty interviews with missionaries, ethnic fellowship leaders, seminary students, pastors, state convention executives, entity presidents, and others as a way of highlighting the broad array of ministries supported by CP. The booth will feature two high-definition video screens displaying the interviews and Twitter feeds.
The CP booth traditionally has been staffed by the Executive Committee. This year’s exhibit is presented in partnership with the North American and International Mission Boards and will be positioned alongside the NAMB and IMB booths.
“The Cooperative Program exists to fuel missions and ministry, and it’s important that the Executive Committee promote the Cooperative Program,” said Ashley Clayton, EC associate vice president for Cooperative Program and Stewardship. The CP booth is “about championing how the Cooperative Program funds NAMB, IMB, state missions, theological education, ERLC, and evangelism. The reason we are coming together is that we’re partnering through the Cooperative Program to reach the world for Christ.”
The exhibit will “acknowledge, validate, and champion the many faces of Southern Baptists,” according to Clayton.
“We want to encourage Southern Baptists to see the impact of the Cooperative Program across the Convention,” Clayton said. “If visitors [to the booth] will see that their giving is not merely to the Cooperative Program, but through it in order to fuel the missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention, we can show them that the Cooperative Program isn’t merely a reservoir, but a conduit for Gospel ministry.”
The CP booth will also draw attention to the ethnic diversity within the SBC, which includes more than ten thousand non-Anglo churches. Of those, about thirty-four hundred are predominantly African American, thirty-three hundred are predominantly Hispanic, and seventeen hundred are predominantly Asian.
In conjunction with the booth, EC president Frank S. Page will invite beneficiaries of CP support to the podium during his address to the Convention on June 19. Page will build off of last year’s “1% Challenge” and offer it again in a fresh way. The “1% Challenge” encouraged Southern Baptist churches to give an additional one percent of their undesignated receipts through CP.
Additionally, the CP booth will highlight the importance of younger Southern Baptists to the Convention’s unified method of funding missions and ministries. Clayton noted the necessity of emphasizing CP to each rising generation of Southern Baptists.
“We know that younger Southern Baptists are enthusiastic about missions. We just want to be sure to communicate to our younger generations that Southern Baptists have set in motion a tremendous mobilizing device like the Cooperative Program to fund mission work,” he said, adding that the CP booth is intended to express gratitude to all who support CP.
Clayton hopes visitors to the booth will walk away from the exhibit recognizing the good work of Southern Baptists to penetrate lostness and be encouraged toward greater faithfulness in their CP giving.
Andrew Walker is a member of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.