Cooperative Program Support
Cooperative Program support is a crucial financial lifeline that makes possible the ministry of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The Cooperative Program is a plan that channels the giving of dedicated Christians in Southern Baptist churches to provide for the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention. Each year approximately $500 million is given through the 40,000 SBC churches to the Cooperative Program. Of that money, about $300 million is channeled through state Baptist conventions to provide support for state and associational Baptist work, Christian colleges, orphanages, hospitals, crisis intervention centers, Christian camps, collegiate ministries, and mission churches.
The remaining amount of approximately $200 million is distributed through the SBC Cooperative Program budget to the national and international ministries of the SBC. Of this amount, the International Mission Board receives 50 percent, and the North American Mission Board receives approximately 23 percent. Approximately 21 percent of the Cooperative Program budget goes to support the six SBC seminaries. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary receives approximately 4 percent of the Cooperative Program budget.
The Cooperative Program provides almost $9 million annually, or the equivalent of the income from an endowment of over $130 million, to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary each year. This Cooperative Program funding provides almost half of the annual budget of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In essence, the Cooperative Program provides each full-time Southern Baptist student a scholarship of about $4,200 a year.
The Cooperative Program was designed in 1925 as an alternative to the “society method,” in which each society or ministry sends a representative to local churches for a special offering. Unfortunately, in the “society method” the largest offerings go to the ministries with the most effective speakers, not necessarily to the greatest priorities and needs. Also, in the “society method” missionaries must leave their field of ministry to raise money from the churches, rather than having a steady and secure income provided through the Cooperative Program.
The Cooperative Program has proven to be the most effective means of reaching the world for Christ. Each year over 800,000 persons come to faith in Christ through the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.