The Cooperative Program has been the financial foundation for our state ministries since its adoption in 1954. Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College is the biggest recipient of Cooperative funds receiving 33%. The National Free Will Baptist offices receive 24%. The Oklahoma State Office operates on 22% of the Cooperative receipts followed by the State Missions Department at 15%. The Christian Education Board which sponsors a variety of educational endeavors receives the remaining 6%.
There are many good reasons for a local church to participate in a cooperative plan of support. In church finance like individual finance we are to be rivers not reservoirs. There should be an inflow and an outflow. It allows a church to be a part of something bigger than itself and a ministry greater than itself. It benefits the local church in very significant ways. A church can teach its people by example the faith principle of trusting God by giving a percentage of their budget monthly. It also teaches by example the principle of generosity. Perhaps the greatest value to the local church is the ministry mentality that it fosters. When a church sees the work of the kingdom as extending to state, national and international ministries it conveys a vision for God’s work that motivates and excites people to be even more involved in their local ministry.
Many pastors have said that when they led their churches to faithful cooperative giving that they witnessed a change in perception from an “us first” mentality to a “God’s work first” mentality. Other pastors have testified that they led financially struggling churches to step out in faith and give to the cooperative plan only to see their financial struggles lessened greatly. Let this be an encouragement to any church that would like to see their people become more generous, more excited and more involved in God’s work to consider participating in their state’s cooperative plan of support.
In Oklahoma, the cooperative plan has been used by God to accomplish more for Christ’s Kingdom than we could have otherwise. Great appreciation is held for those who had the insight to promote it among our churches and to the churches and associations that have embraced it as a way to further the Gospel.