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State Board ministries, Cooperative Program come to life for messengerscomment (0)

November 21, 2013

State Board ministries, Cooperative Program come to life for messengers

In a rare but touching moment, Alabama Baptist leader and state missionary Rick Lance found himself overcome with emotion as he thanked the convention for modeling how to handle tragedy.

When Michael Whitt, a 40-year-old pastor in Abbeville, died suddenly in July, he left behind a wife and four children.

“Thank you for helping [Melissa], for standing in the gap,” Lance said, choking back tears during the State Board of Missions (SBOM) report Nov. 12. “This was an unbelievable, unimaginable loss.”

Alabama Baptists provided financial resources for Melissa Whitt and were part of the reason a survivor protection benefit made its way to her. 

Michael Whitt participated in the Church Retirement Plan, a GuideStone Financial Resources option, and Alabama Baptists contributed to his fund, just like they do for all participating ministers.

The retirement plan — complete with disability and survivor protection benefits — is one way lives are changed every day with Cooperative Program (CP) dollars.

During an earlier part of the SBOM report, Todd Larson, youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, Cottonwood, shared via video another way the CP changes lives.

“We can’t afford to go to a lot of camps and conferences, but my kids could all afford [the Youth Evangelism Conference],” he said, noting the 2013 conference turned out to be a pivotal moment for his youth group. Three of the eight youth attending the conference gave their lives to Christ, he said.

“It is because of the CP that we are able to go to an event like this,” Larson said. “We’ll be attending every year because of it. It changed our lives.”

And the stories continued.

A missionary shared how CP-funded missions education played a major role in her call, a church planter noted how CP funds are vital for the move he believes God has called him to make and a pastor explained how a nearby dying church is now flourishing thanks to a church revitalization effort funded by the CP.


These and other stories were part of a new style of reporting the work of the CP in Alabama through “life-changing ministries” provided by the SBOM. 

“The Kingdom impact of the Cooperative Program is immeasurable this side of eternity,” Lance said.

Prior to the report, messengers approved a 2014 CP base budget of $41 million, which is a $1 million decrease from the current year (see graphic, this page).

Messengers also approved a 2014 CP state causes budget of $300,000 and a SBC causes budget of $400,000. 

The new budget formula represents the first step in a multiyear strategy toward an even split between the state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) of CP dollars not in the shared ministries category. The allocation for 2014 is:

  • 46.7 percent to Alabama ministries
  • 43.3 percent to SBC ministries
  • 10 percent to shared ministries
  • Any receipts beyond the base budget are to be divided 50–50 between Alabama missions causes and SBC missions causes.

Messengers also approved the 2014 special offering goals (see graphic) and the auditor’s report for the SBOM for 2012.

Following the SBOM report, two churches were honored for their CP giving. 

  • Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills — highest giving total through the CP with $790,611.
  • Pisgah Baptist Church, Selma — highest per capita giver through the CP with $345.07.

The Troy L. Morrison Leadership Awards also were presented. They went to:

Established work — Kevin Wilburn, pastor of First Baptist Church, Scottsboro, in Tennessee River Baptist Association.

New work — Wayne Cook, pastor of City on a Hill Church, Dodge City, West Cullman Baptist Association.

Bivocational work — Tom Lindsey, pastor of Old Salem Baptist Church, Frisco City, Bethlehem Baptist Association.

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