How Can My Church Participate in Missions and Southern Baptist Life?
Southern Baptists have developed a system of voluntary cooperation in which their churches work together to carry the Great Commission into all the world. The Southern Baptist Denomination is a fellowship of over 16 million members in approximately 46,500 churches covering all the 50 states of America. Southern Baptists are bound together in cooperation by their basic beliefs. “The Baptist Faith and Message” contains an overall doctrinal statement as to Southern Baptists basic beliefs. Southern Baptists work together in churches, associations, state conventions, and nationally in the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Local Church
Each church is accountable only to God. It calls its own pastor, determines its own membership, leadership, worship, programs and budget. Each member has a voice and a vote in decision-making. The Bible is the basis for the faith and practice among Southern Baptists. Its main functions are worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, and ministry. Recognizing that churches can do more together than one church can do alone, Southern Baptists have developed a system of cooperation which preserves each church’s individual freedom and at the same time makes possible a coordinated effort on a worldwide scope. WE WILL DO MORE TOGETHER!
The St. Clair Baptist Association
The association is the Baptist body closest to the churches and is uniquely positioned to (1) be a relationship/network builder between its diverse family of churches; (2) be in regular, personal contact with each congregation and proactive in discovering and servicing their needs; (3) be aware of its unique geographical context and strive to focus its member churches on doing together in their community what no one church can do alone. The St. Clair Baptist Association provides a general organization that can facilitate each of these emphases of the Christian community, church development, and mission strategy.
The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions
The state convention provides a way for churches to cooperate on a larger scale than the association. By joining resources, you help support a college, children’s homes, a retirement center, a state newspaper, and regional conference centers. This support also provides coordination to do a variety of evangelistic, educational, and benevolent work. Like the St. Clair Baptist Association, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (the State Convention) is a service organization to the local churches. The State convention also works closely with St. Clair Baptist Association to partner with us in significant ways that help strengthen existing churches and establish new churches in our Association.
The Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a national body in which Southern Baptists work together. As Southern Baptists, we have agencies for publishing curriculum and resource materials and national and international missions. Additional boards and agencies of the SBC cooperative effort include six Theological Seminaries to train Baptist ministers, an Annuity Board to manage the retirement programs for SBC church and school employees, and an Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission to assist churches in understanding the moral and social problems in today’s culture, as well as promoting religious liberty in America.
SUGGESTED FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR YOUR ANNUAL CHURCH BUDGET
ST. CLAIR BAPTIST ASSOCIATION: (3 – 5% of General Budget Receipts)
COOPERATIVE PROGRAM: (7 – 10% of General Budget Receipts)
ANNUAL MISSIONS OFFERINGS: DESIGNATED BY THE CHURCH