WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (BP) – As a pastor and former missionary, Calvin Wittman wonders how many more people could be reached if churches expanded their participation in Cooperative Program (CP) Missions.
By Karen L. Willoughby
WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (BP) – As a pastor and former
missionary, Calvin Wittman wonders how many more people could be
reached if churches expanded their participation in Cooperative Program
“A pastor has to ask, what could we do in impacting
the lostness in our world if every person would get involved in the
Cooperative Program? How many more people could be reached?” Wittman,
pastor of Applewood Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge, Colo., said.
“What could we do if every church cooperated the way
they want their members to cooperate?” Wittman continued. “If we’re not
as a church giving at least 10 percent to the Cooperative Program, how
can we ask our members to tithe?
“I know there are other ways of doing missions, but
there is no better way than the Cooperative Program. I’m talking to you
as a former missionary,” said Wittman, Applewood’s pastor since 1999
and an IMB career missionary in Spain before that. “The Cooperative
Program is the most effective way to reach the world with the Gospel of
“That’s why we’re involved with it,” he continued. “We’re a missions-minded church.”
Last year Applewood members ministered overseas in
Belarus, Brazil, Kenya, Hong Kong, Romania and London. In the United
States they ministered in Southern California, across Colorado and
throughout the metro Denver area.
Since the 1970s in the early days of partnership
missions, the church has sent out 1,200 volunteers in short-term
missions projects in 35 nations overseas.
“We believe every member should be a minister,”
Wittman said. “You can’t just get involved with your money. It’s time
that matters in the Kingdom of God. You have to be willing to give of
About 800 people attend two Sunday morning worship
services at Applewood. The church, with a five-facet thrust to impact
the world – worship, witness, welcome, work, word – provides support
for five missions: Romanian, Vietnamese, inner-city Denver, Brighton,
Colo., and one in France.
“It irks me that people will buy an RV and go to the
lake for a month, but they won’t invest a couple thousand dollars and a
couple weeks in eternity by going to a foreign country and sharing the
Gospel with people who have never heard,” Wittman said. “Either we are
or we aren’t disciples. If we are, then each of us should be involved
in some way in sharing the Gospel.”
Jesus’ Acts 1:8 charge to the church starts at home,
the pastor said, so while Applewood has a passion for missions “to the
ends of the earth,” it doesn’t lose its “Jerusalem” focus.
“We lead our state in Cooperative Program giving …
but the Great Commission says we will be witnesses in Jerusalem too,”
Wittman said. “You can’t reach just the uttermost part of the world and