Jesus often spoke of small things making a big difference. One example is His invoking of the “mustard seed” to describe how faith in Him can have small beginnings but truly grow into big outcomes. This is a “mountain-moving” kind of impact.
Recently, Frank Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, along with other influential leaders offered an appeal which can make significant impact upon missions giving in Southern Baptist life. The 1% Challenge is an effort to renew an emphasis upon Cooperative Program giving in SBC life.
The goal is to see a one percent increase in CP giving as based on the undesignated receipts received by churches in the SBC. This is a worthy objective for Southern Baptists, even in the midst of the Great Recession.
In Alabama, conservative estimates place undesignated receipts from our churches as being approximately $564 million in the most recent year of data collection. In our state convention life, a quarter of one percent increase in each of the next four years would translate into well over a $1 million growth in Cooperative Program receipts each year. That would be a good start toward the 1% Challenge.
As you prepare the budget of your church for 2013, please prayerfully consider at least a quarter of percent increase in CP missions giving for four years, based on undesignated receipts. This would enhance the worldwide missions effort in Great Commission ministries.
Let me offer some examples for your consideration. If you are contributing 9 percent of your undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program then a quarter of a percent increase over the next four years would have your church at the 10 percent point in giving. If your percentage at the beginning is lower or higher, the four-year increase would move you to the one percent gain in the same fashion.
As gently and kindly as I can, let me say that if you are not now contributing through the Cooperative Program at all or at a low percentage amount, this is an opportune moment to join the 1% Challenge and move toward a robust commitment of supporting financially the missions efforts of Southern Baptists in Alabama, across North America and around the world.
Perhaps some are thinking why should we have a Cooperative Program unified budget at all? With all due respect, that same question could be asked concerning a local church. The principle of cooperation is a Biblical one. We can do more together than we can separately. Southern Baptists and Alabama Baptists have demonstrated this Biblical principle of cooperation throughout our history, especially in the last century. As a people of faith we have always believed that our gifts in the hands of our Lord make a world of difference.
As a fellow Alabama Baptist, I want to join my larger Southern Baptist family in becoming an even greater champion of the Cooperative Program. I am grateful to Frank Page and to our convention president, Fred Luter, in leading the charge in this very important effort. I want to follow their example.
Over and over through the years, I have heard missionaries say, “Tell your folks thank you for their continued giving through the Cooperative Program.” I want them and others to be able to say that in the future.
As we seek to see the God-blessed fruits of the 1% Challenge, we need to be reminded that small percentages can make a big difference in the lives of people. We all know that economic times are tough, and we fear they continue for a while. Yet we also have faith in the fact that there is no recession in heaven. Prayerfully consider the 1% Challenge, and let me thank you in advance for what the Lord is going to do through your life and through the life of your church.