More than 1,200 North Carolina churches have joined the Cooperative Program's Partners in the Harvest campaign, and state Baptist leaders said they are astounded by the unprecedented participation.
"We should have more churches participating, but this is quite remarkable," said Dan Euliss, team leader for stewardship education and offering promotion. "To be honest, we only thought we would have 500 churches participate."
For the record, Euliss said 1,250 North Carolina churches signed commitment cards and that posed a problem. "Since we were only expecting 500 churches to sign up, we only ordered 500 planning kits. Now, we're trying to find 750 more kits."
Euliss attributed the success of the commitments to a presentation made at North Carolina's state convention by Steve Scoggins, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.
"He gave a challenge to the pastors and told them to make giving to the Cooperative Program personal," Euliss said. "His presentation was powerful."
Scoggins encouraged pastors to take a different approach to the Cooperative Program. "So many times, we look at it as a fund instead of looking at the lives that are touched. We need to make giving personal," Scoggins said.
According to Euliss, Scoggins practices what he preaches. For the past three years, First Baptist, Hendersonville, led the state in giving to the Cooperative Program. This year, the church is close to breaking the $300,000 mark, he added.
For his part, Scoggins said his church placed a high priority on being a missionary-minded church. One major component of that emphasis has been through education.
"In this day and time, people are not as denominationally oriented as they were before. I take pulpit time on Sunday mornings to explain to our people where the money goes. I think people will give if they know where the money is going."
The self-proclaimed cheerleader for the Cooperative Program said personal involvement is the key to giving. At First Baptist, four church families are serving through the International Mission Board and Scoggins said many others participate in short-term missions projects.
"When you go out on these partnership mission projects, it changes your perspective," he said. "It brings the world home to your heart."
Back on the state level, Euliss said many churches are making commitments to support the Cooperative Program. "I was told by some at our state convention that if we could get 10 percent of our churches to participate, we would have really done something right. To have 1,250 is simply incredible," he said.
Partners in the Harvest
One million baptisms this year.
Record numbers of people involved in volunteer missions projects.
$750 million in combined Cooperative Program (CP) and other missions gifts.
Local Church Timeline
March - May
Conduct Partners in the Harvest campaign in your church.*
June - August
Conduct church-wide missions project.
September - December
Consider increasing your missions giving through CP by at least 1 percent as you plan for the 2001 budget year.
*The Partners in the Harvest campaign can also be conducted in the fall in conjunction with a fall missions emphasis.
Tools for the Harvest
Pew Card - States the goals and gives your people the opportunity to commit to be a Partner in the Harvest.
Passport - Brief history of the CP. Shows how money is used and explains the 75th anniversary celebration. Designed to be used in Sunday School classes. A complete Sunday School lesson explaining the Passport's use is included in the Resource Packet.
Resource Packet - Reproducible pages of everything everybody needs to know about conducting the Partners in the Harvest campaign in your church.
Pastor's Guides - Step by step directions for you as you lead your people to celebrating CP missions through Partners in the Harvest.
Posters - Shows how people of all ages, from all walks of life can be Partners in the Harvest.
Video - Includes the music video I Will Follow Christ featuring Clay Crosse, Bob Carlisle, and BeBe Winans. Also includes an educational/ inspirational video on the Cooperative Program (CP) explaining its mission, history, and vision.
Wristband - Lets people show others that they are Partners in the Harvest.
These resources are available through your state convention or by calling the Cooperative Program Development Division at 800-722-9407.