There is often a lot of talk about “Baptist distinctives,” and what that means for Southern Baptists. Usually, the list includes things like regenerate church membership and baptism by immersion. If there is such a thing as a Southern Baptist distinctive it is our Cooperative Program (CP).
The Cooperative Program has definitely seen better days, but its days could be far, far worse. Dr. David Hankins, Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, former Vice President of the CP, and co-author of One Sacred Effort: The Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists, has spent a good portion of his ministry safeguarding the CP and has the opportunity to do it once more. As stated before, the Southern Baptist Convention is watching to see what happens at Louisiana College and if unity and cooperation will prevail. If it fails, this disunity and lack of cooperation could spread in the SBC and put our beloved CP at risk.
The Cooperative Program was borne out of the 75 million campaign launched in 1919 under the leadership of the SBC president James Gambrell. In 1925 the CP was officially instituted and the convention raised $4.1 million to give to the new program for the purpose of driving missions.
Since 1925 the CP has grown, reaching an all time high in 2008 of $541 million given to the CP. In recent years giving has dropped and according to the most recent data available on sbhla.org, giving was $500 million in 2010.
Dr. Hankins, as a man who cares deeply about the CP, please act to promote cooperation and save L.C. Any form of division in the Louisiana Baptist Convention or Southern Baptist Convention could greatly affect the very program you have worked so hard to build and protect.
Louisiana Baptists are awaiting a call for cooperation from the top echelon of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.