Ethnically Diverse Support Shores Up Cooperation Among Southern Baptists

DALLAS (BP) – Convictional support for the Cooperative Program began in the heart of Pastor David Galvan after he attended what was then the Mexican Baptist Convention decades ago.

Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida Senior Pastor David Galvan, shown at his 30th pastoral celebration, supports the Cooperative Program from a personal conviction experienced early in his ministry. Submitted photo

“It was understood that Hispanics reached Hispanics, nothing against anyone else,” said Galvan, who is now nearing his 39th anniversary as pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida (New Life Church) in Dallas. “I was following my leaders.”

But in 1983, when recognizing the 100th anniversary of Primera Iglesia Bautista de Laredo, the first Southern Baptist church plant designed to serve Hispanics in the U.S., the reality of the Great Commission and Acts 1:8 led Galvan to what he describes as a James 5 moment of confession.

“I started thinking wow, this was such a sin. I was convinced, indirectly, that my calling was to reach Mexicans for Christ, when the call is to the Samaritans – to the Jew first – and it’s to the whole world,” he said. That was the day he committed the church to giving 10 percent to diverse missions.

Today, Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida in Dallas is a leading Southern Baptist Hispanic church in supporting missions. The church of about 650 worshipers gives about 4.7 percent of undesignated gifts to the Cooperative Program, according to the 2019 Annual Church Profile (ACP) and, according to Galvan, a total of 15 percent of undesignated gifts to Great Commission work.

“I would say, without being mystical about it, if you want to see the hand of God, if you want to see the blessing of God, then obey Him, and be a part of the Great Commission and give to the Cooperative Program,” Galvan said, offering advice to other churches.

The Cooperative Program of supporting local, national and global Southern Baptist work draws support from a diversity of the 50,000 Southern Baptist churches and missions in the nation. On average, including churches that support the CP and those that don’t, each church gives 4.82 percent of its undesignated offerings to the CP, according to Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee statistics. When including only those churches that give to the CP, the average gift is 7.82 percent, said Willie McLaurin, SBC EC vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization.

“The strong cooperation of racially and ethnically diverse churches across the Southern Baptist Convention reminds us that we can do more together than we can do by ourselves. The Cooperative Program unites us around the Great Commission,” McLaurin said. “Our unified efforts will advance the vision to win every person to Jesus in every town, every city, every state and every nation.”

Simeon Baptist Church Senior Pastor John Rollins encourages other pastors to support the Cooperative Program because of its local and widespread reach. Submitted photo

Simeon Baptist Church, an African American congregation of about 125 worshipers in Antioch, Tenn., has supported the CP since the church’s founding in 1991.

“We participated in the Cooperative Program and learned the importance of it in terms of supporting international missions and also missions within the U.S.,” Senior Pastor John Rollins Sr. said. “We truly believe that those who are out there in the field need the financial help amongst established churches and also new-birth churches.

“So we have supported the Cooperative Program since our birth, and the important thing is that we’re trying to stay under the Great Commission of reaching those who are unsaved, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Simeon Baptist gave 7 percent of its undesignated gifts to the CP in 2019, according to the ACP. Rollins said the church’s 350 members also participate in mission trips. The church gives to missions through the Nashville Baptist Association, the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board.

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Source: Baptist Press