NASHVILLE (BP) -- The 1% CP Challenge is "a succinct way to do something more -- an understandable way to say, 'Yeah, we can do that,'" said Frank Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee. "It is understandable, is easily acted upon, and can be done without shifting major sections of a church's finances."

According to a new survey focused on the Cooperative Program by LifeWay Research, 7 percent of cooperating Southern Baptist churches reported they had accepted the 1% CP Challenge to raise CP in their budgets by 1 percentage point. An additional 8 percent of pastors indicated they plan to lead their churches to accept the 1% CP Challenge in the coming year. The survey was taken in May.

"The Cooperative Program is not a reservoir that we hold; it's money that we send through the CP to missions and ministries," Page said. "It's exciting to see new pastors, younger pastors, ethnic pastors, Anglo pastors, say, 'You know, it's time to put more emphasis on the Cooperative Program.'"

Following his election as Southern Baptist Convention president in June, Fred Luter Jr., pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, joined Page in challenging messengers to the state Baptist convention annual meetings to accept the 1% CP Challenge. This past fall, a number of state conventions embraced the theme of the 1% CP Challenge, making it a focal point at their annual meetings.

If every cooperating Southern Baptist church raised its contributions through the Cooperative Program by 1 percentage point of their budgets, the resulting CP gifts would increase by nearly $100 million dollars in a single year.

This would allow state conventions to make a greater impact on lostness in their respective states. It would give the North American Mission Board greater flexibility in its Send North America church planting initiative. It would allow the International Mission Board to keep a larger number of missionaries on the field. It would allow our seminaries to explore new delivery systems for ministerial training and graduate theological education to make an even greater impact on training pastors and church leaders for effective service.

Simply put, the 1% CP Challenge has the potential to be the rising tide that raises all the ministry boats supported by churches in their states, in the nation and throughout the world.

Roger S. Oldham is vice president for convention communications and relations with the SBC Executive Committee and executive editor of its journal, SBC LIFE, where this article first appeared.

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