By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO
I am in my 43rd year of serving Christ vocationally through our Kentucky Baptist family. I have been an advocate, ambassador and agent of the Cooperative Program throughout my entire ministry, and even before that from the time I learned about the miracle of the Cooperative Program as an RA at the FBC of Grenada, MS, in the 1950s. My long time commitment to the Cooperative Program has not been because part of my livelihood has come from Cooperative Program giving; in fact, it’s just the opposite. My commitment has been based upon my on-going conviction that cooperation is the Baptist way to a lost world, and the Cooperative Program facilitates cooperation at the highest and broadest level.
Over the years denominational leaders have used a variety of analogies to describe the Cooperative Program. Among my favorites was the one chosen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the program in 1975. It was rope of sand – with strength of steel. It portrayed the reality that among Baptists there is no coercive element or organizational strength that holds us together; there is nothing organically that keeps us from splitting into thousands of directions. The late James L. Sullivan observed, “… on the surface the ‘tie that binds’ looks terribly fragile.” However, at a deeper level we Southern Baptists have common ground on which to stand, namely, the great commandment and the great commission of our Lord. As a result, the force that is so fragile also is very forceful in keeping us working together like a rope of sand with the strength of steel. Honest cooperation is not fragile and does not come apart easily, but it cannot be forced. When it does result truly from that common ground on which we stand, it is a powerful force indeed.
As you and your church celebrate Cooperative Program Sunday April 14, give thanks to the Lord for how He has used the Cooperative Program since 1925 to enable us Southern Baptists to accomplish more for Him together than we ever could on our own. And, consider how you and your church can be more like a rope of sand with the strength of steel.
For information on how to make a Cooperative Program legacy gift, call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1-(866) 489-3533.
The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.