The Difference a Proper Preposition Makes

I was never the best student in English classes. I struggled understanding all the seemingly esoteric matters of proper English. Since my parents were not well educated, I picked up some poor grammar habits along the way. I am grateful to my high school teachers and college professors who were kind and patient with me as I sought to be a better student of English and to use it more properly.

As a matter of confession, I will say I really learned as much English studying Greek in seminary as anywhere. I remember the late nights of studying that beautiful ancient language of the New Testament and becoming enthralled with how much it had influenced English and other languages.
I still have my moments when I stumble around trying to use English properly. I can quickly catch myself when I detect an error in conversation and in written form. Since I am not a natural writer, I do ask for people to revise and edit my publications so that the writings are more precise and proper.

However, I have become aware of the difference a preposition makes in the English language. The primary observation I would make is that people innocently refer to “giving TO the Cooperative Program.” Although this sounds correct, it is not exactly accurate. We do not give TO the Cooperative Program but THROUGH the Cooperative Program.

What is the difference? Giving to something carries the idea of a static point of destination. Picture a bucket receiving water. Giving through the Cooperative Program reflects the reality of a CP circulatory system which flows continuously in the Acts 1:8 mission fields of our world. The Cooperative Program is a 24/7/365 circulation of missions support. It is as broad as the world and as deep as human need.

Therefore, I think saying we give through, not to, the Cooperative Program is far more accurate. I am not trying to be nitpicky or nuanced, but I am just affirming and acknowledging the power of the proper use of the right preposition.

Thanks for considering these thoughts with me, and may God bless you as you seek to be a Great Commission Christian in our Acts 1:8 world. You and I can make an eternal difference in praying, going and giving through the Cooperative Program. I praise God for this opportunity!

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

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