IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (BP) – Calvary Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho, acknowledges the unending debt it owes and the unceasing gift it gives to the Cooperative Program, the Southern Baptist Convention’s method of funding missions, missionaries and seminary training.
By Karen L. Willoughby
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (BP) – Calvary Baptist Church in
Idaho Falls, Idaho, acknowledges the unending debt it owes and the
unceasing gift it gives to the Cooperative Program, the Southern
Baptist Convention’s method of funding missions, missionaries and
Birthed with CP Missions money, Calvary Baptist in
1951 was the first Southern Baptist church in southeastern Idaho. It
since has given life to at least a dozen other churches – its latest
offspring is a granddaughter church across the state in Hayden, north
of Interstate 90 in the Idaho panhandle.
“When we’re involved in missions, the Cooperative
Program is always there to help,” said Kirk Casey, Calvary’s pastor who
also is a New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary graduate. “When we
partner up to do missions work, it’s a joint partnership with all
Southern Baptists through CP Missions.”
Calvary is involved in CP missions through the SBC
at the local, state, regional and global levels; the SBC’s
International Mission Board has designated it a Global Priority Church
because of its involvement in and commitment to global missions.
Calvary gives 24 percent of its undesignated
offerings to missions, including 12.5 percent to the Cooperative
Program and 2.5 percent to the Eastern Idaho Southern Baptist
Association, and several other regional, state and local mission causes.
The church has a hands-on approach to national and international missions in several ways:
• It sponsors a Hispanic mission in Idaho Falls.
• It co-sponsors a youth camp; eight churches and some 160 youth will participate this year.
• It provided a 62-passenger bus for Southern
Baptist mission work on Indian reservations in southeastern Utah.
• It hosts a Vacation Bible School that brings in at
least 220 youngsters every summer – drawn in part by the float the
church usually builds for the annual Fourth of July parade.
Calvary doesn’t just give money. It gives itself – members are involved in meeting needs in a variety of missions.
Women of the church provide a gift shower for the
local crisis pregnancy center. Women also participate in birthday
parties at a local nursing home.
At least 75 members assisted in providing free hot
chocolate one freezing night in 2002 when the Olympic torch passed
through Idaho Falls on its way to Salt Lake City and the Winter
Its church planting history includes Salmon Valley Baptist Church 30 years ago.
Casey said the Cooperative Program impacted him long before he became pastor at Calvary Baptist.
“One way that I have personally benefited from the
Cooperative Program was as a seminary student,” Casey said, referring
to the Cooperative Program’s funding of the six Southern Baptist
seminaries. “I’m grateful for the excellent education I received at the
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and the missions
opportunities I have had.”