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Articles by Karen Willoughby

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A tiny band of Native Americans is supporting the work of nearly ten thousand Southern Baptist missionaries around the world. That's the way members of Dakota Baptist Church on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota feel about their contributions through the Cooperative Program.

Thirty or so Dakota Sioux participate in Sunday morning worship services at the church in the reservation town of Fort Totten. This includes two men who were led to faith in Christ eighteen months before Paul Young was called in 2006 as pastor.

"Pastor Wilbert [Robertson, who started the church in 1983] quickly discipled them and both have good leadership qualities," Young said. "The church is able to do more now because these men and their families shoulder part of the spiritual responsibilities and spiritual leadership, and the physical work of the church."

Robertson, who also started Native American churches in South Dakota, led Dakota Baptist Church (and the other mission churches he planted) to...

Burger King's recent closing in Varnville, South Carolina, was the clearest sign yet that the local economy is less than vibrant.

But despite the loss of the franchise fast-food restaurant and other dismal economic indicators following the repeated downsizing of Westinghouse, the town's major employer, First Baptist Church continued over the last five years to increase its giving to missions through the Cooperative Program from 10 percent to 15 percent.

The Cooperative Program is the way Southern Baptist churches provide for missions and ministry in state conventions, across North America, and throughout the world.

"God has blessed our church even in tough economic times," said Thomas Kelly Jr., pastor of First Varnville. "It's just a testimony: if you're faithful to God, He will be faithful to you.

"The Cooperative Program helps us do more than we could do by ourselves," Kelly continued. "We tell our folks that the money they give doesn't...

Discipleship is the priority at First Baptist Church in Columbia, Illinois, and discipleship fuels the church's passion for cooperative world missions and giving through the Southern Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program.

Our passion is to make disciples for Jesus Christ," said Jonathan Peters, the church's pastor since 1998. "Our need is to fulfill the Great Commission. The Cooperative Program is the means by which we do this collectively."

A Passion for Outreach
"Reaching the nations" starts locally for the church, which serves a bedroom community fifteen minutes from downtown St. Louis.

"The majority of people we reach are through friendship," Peters said. "I think two things have been used of God to help His Kingdom move forward in our fellowship," Peters continued. "One is that we genuinely seek to love people. The other is that we tell it like it is; we boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Local initiat...

When a woman returned for a second week to Sunday morning worship at Richland Baptist Church, a greeter asked her what brought her back.
South Hills Baptist Fellowship in Montana City, Montana, got its start fourteen years ago with help from the Cooperative Program, but it didn’t take the congregation long to forget its Southern Baptist heritage. By the time Steve Young was called as pastor in 2008, the church had decreased its CP giving to 2 percent of undesignated offerings, down from its original 10 percent in 1998 to help support Southern Baptist work in Montana, across North America, and around the world.
Their fresh perspective confirms a generations-old missions partnership among Southern Baptists. Three under-40 pastors share their outlook toward the Cooperative Program: Jacob Atchley of The Church at Martinsburg, West Virginia, says the partnership of 45,000 churches makes possible all that Southern Baptists do. Kris Barnett of East Pickens (South Carolina) Baptist Church, says CP partnership makes it possible for the church he leads to do so much more than just its own missions projects.
Emmanuel Baptist Church

From its birth in 1956, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Farmington, New Mexico, has maintained an outward focus that spawns pastors, missionaries, and new churches, as well as a congregation actively participating in missions.

"I've never before been in a church that had that kind of missions heart, and yet that's why it's been a strong, stable church in the Four Corners area all these years," said Pastor Kirby Kennedy, referring to the region where the state lines of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona meet, sixty miles northwest of Farmington.

"When they give, they feel they have a hand in all the mission work Southern Baptists do — in New Mexico, North America, and around the world," the pastor continued. "This ch...

Doing What We're Supposed to Do

Sometimes "It's a God-thing" truly is the only explanation.

Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, heard in late June that a middle school principal in the Bronx would like classrooms painted in her 100-year-old school.

Reccord caught a vision of hundreds of Southern Baptist volunteers painting the interior of the school — which is the size of a city block and five stories high.

"Let's do it!" Reccord said to Mickey Caison and Randy Creamer of NAMB's volunteer mobilization unit, believing it would help build credibility in an area where Southern Baptists are not well known.

Though ordinarily a much smaller project would be a year or more in the planning, the Bronx school project was organized in less than a month — and completed in less than two.

New Hope New York, the Strategic Focus Cities initiative now in its implementation year, pl...