Cooperative Program Emphasis Sunday: State Conventions Think They Deserve Your Money
This week, I received an email from Buck Burch, “State Missionary” of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Mr. Burch was informing me, a Georgia Baptist, that April 10th was the day the Southern Baptist Convention had picked to “celebrate the Cooperative Program.” His email, which was sent en masse to Georgia Baptists read as follows:
Dear Georgia Baptist Church Member,
On Sunday, April 10, 2016, the Southern Baptist Convention is celebrating the Cooperative Program by making that CP Emphasis Sunday. There is not a special offering being taken that day because your ongoing gifts through the Cooperative Program fund missions at home and abroad. To facilitate this celebration, your Georgia Baptist Mission Board would like to offer some quality bulletin inserts and/or PowerPoint slides for your use that Sunday or any Sunday you choose. Your pastor and/or staff has received instructions how to order them free to Georgia Baptist churches. Encourage your pastor to celebrate the Cooperative Program this year!
Giving and Stewardship
For the most part, I don’t appreciate a professional fundraiser who calls himself a “missionary” writing me in God’s name telling me that I should encourage my pastor to “celebrate the Cooperative Program.” I’ll be celebrating Jesus April 10th, as I do every Sunday when I gather with the saints. I certainly won’ be celebrating the Cooperative Program; not on that particular Lord’s Day or any other. The Cooperative Program is dreadful and does not deserve the support of Christians. “Cooperative Program giving arguably supports what has become a top-heavy, bureaucratic, politically-motivated, money-centered religiopolitical empire that is operated by a class of clerical elites who do not represent Southern Baptist interests at a grass roots level.”
Perhaps no state Baptist convention represents the problems with the Cooperative program better than Buck Burch’s own Georgia Baptist Convention. “The palatial headquarters of the Georgia Baptist Convention cost upwards of $42,000,000 dollars to construct. The debt incurred to pay for the construction was eventually paid off using funds formerly designated for medical missions. The ostentatious headquarters of the state convention is a place many pew-sitting Georgia Baptists will never see, yet it is one they fund with their giving. They also fund three colleges. One of the colleges, Brewton-Parker, has been embroiled in financial scandal and other problems for over a decade. It was recently rocked by a race scandal which led to the resignation of its already controversial president, Ergun Caner. The employee who blew the whistle on Caner for his inappropriate action, C.B. Scott was fired and asked to sign a confidentiality agreement or immediately lose his insurance benefits. The elderly Scott refused as a matter of personal integrity. Had he not done so, another Baptist scandal may have been swept under the rug.”
It galls me that professional advancement officers who call themselves missionaries who have set up shop in a palatial headquarters would have the gall to ask me and my church for money. If your church gives to the Cooperative Program, I encourage you to approach your pastor and challenge the stewardship policies of the church. For an eye-opening article about state convention largess, see my article Lifestyles of the Rich and Baptist. You can also download and share my free E-book, The Cooperative Program and the Road to Serfdom. If you haven’t already listened to JD Hall’s sermon, A Modern Day Downgrade, about the pervasive problems in the Cooperative Program-funded Southern Baptist Convention, please view it below:
Buck Burch can be reached at 770-936-5241 and firstname.lastname@example.org
[Contributed by Seth Dunn]
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.