HARRISBURG, Penn. (BP) – For each of the last 15 years, the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey has increased its giving through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ channel of empowering its missions thrust throughout the world.
By Karen L. Willoughby
HARRISBURG, Penn. (BP) – For each of the last 15
years, the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey has
increased its giving through the Cooperative Program, Southern
Baptists’ channel of empowering its missions thrust throughout the
Penn/South Jersey doesn’t plan to stop. Executive
Director David Waltz’s goal is that the two-state convention, which
consists of 375 churches and missions, continue increasing its CP
percentage each year until it forwards 50 percent of the gifts from its
congregations. At 24.8 percent this year, it’s nearly halfway to its
“Part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus is
to give yourself away,” Waltz said. “We give to the Cooperative Program
because it is the right thing to do. It’s our channel for giving beyond
ourselves, giving that honors God.”
Sometimes the state convention – which is located in
a “new work” (non-southern) area of the nation – increases its CP
giving only a tenth of a percent or a quarter of a percent from
one year to the next, but over time, that adds up, Waltz said.
The state convention received $863,784 in CP gifts
from its member churches in 2005 and sent $213,354 – 24.7 percent – for
disbursement to SBC entities.
That’s up from the $129,224 Penn/South Jersey gave
through the Cooperative Program in 1992, the year Waltz was called to
lead the state convention.
“The Cooperative Program is our channel for being
obedient,” Waltz said. “Sacrificial giving is a principle we model at
the local church level and at the state convention level.
“It’s not a matter of giving only when you like what
is going on, or not giving when you don’t like the way a vote went,” he
added. “It’s giving that honors God.”
Penn/South Jersey used 75.30 percent of its
Cooperative Program receipts from churches in 2005 to help pay for the
state convention’s multiple ministries in evangelism, missions, church
development and more, in a $2,892,783 budget supplemented by
Cooperative Program funds from SBC entities.
As the number of churches increases, and the number
of members in those churches increases, the amount given through the
Cooperative Program will increase to the point that Penn/South Jersey
becomes the net giver Waltz envisions.
His primary principle is that giving to missions is
a critical part of what it means to be a Christian, and that churches
need to model that giving principle for the congregation.
“My second principle is that I don’t look at it as a
pie, in which as the missions slice gets bigger there is less for local
ministry,” he said. “Instead, as you give more to missions beyond
yourself, God increases the size of the pie. My philosophy has always
been that God provides the means for what He wants you to do.”