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Marionís Siloam Baptist accepts 1 percent challenge, plans to make it this yearcomment (0)

March 28, 2013

By Carli Ludlow

Marionís Siloam Baptist accepts 1 percent challenge, plans to make it this year

Siloam Baptist Church, Marion, is one of Alabama’s most historic churches and includes among its accolades the 1845 founding location of the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board).

Today’s church members plan to make history again, this time by being one of the first Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches in Alabama to accept and achieve the denomination’s current 1 percent challenge.

SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page launched the 1 percent challenge in 2012 to encourage churches to give 1 percent more of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program (CP).

Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions Executive Director Rick Lance also is promoting the challenge among Alabama Baptist churches but with a slightly different twist.

Alabama Baptist churches are encouraged to increase their CP giving by one-fourth percent each year for the next four years.

According to Jim Swedenburg, director of the office of Cooperative Program and stewardship development, the challenge is “a way for churches to support 10,000 SBC missionaries around the globe. It’s a very small amount; however, if every church participates it will make a big difference.”

But Siloam Baptist decided to go ahead with the full 1 percent this year.

Pastor John Nicholson said, “We are a church committed to the Cooperative Program and hearing about the challenge gave us the opportunity to have this discussion in our church about taking on a financial challenge with the aid of God.”

For Siloam Baptist members, the challenge is about more than contributing to the CP, Nicholson said. It’s about keeping a promise. On the first Sunday in January the congregation sat in pews that date back to 1896 and heard about a longtime church member, the late Col. R.J. McDonald.

McDonald worked at Marion Military Institute in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. He and his wife served the church for many decades during that time. McDonald filled almost every position there was to fill in the church from Sunday School teacher to deacon. McDonald and many others worked diligently over the years to raise the CP offering. 

Years later hard financial times hit the church and members of the finance committee had to make cuts. 

“We were having a really tough time. We cut everywhere we could without cutting salaries, and in the end we cut part of the CP,” said finance committee chair Roy Barnett. 

McDonald was sorely disappointed, Barnett said. “To him all the hard work that had taken years to do was undone in less time. 

“We hated to do it but promised to one day fix it,” Barnett said. “Today is that day.”

For more information on the 1 percent challenge, visit www.alsbom.org/ministries/cp/quick-facts/one-percent-challenge/.

Share your church’s story on the 1 percent challenge. Email news@thealabamabaptist.org or call 1-800-803-5201, Ext. 112.

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