Bellevue Baptist Church, where Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines serves as pastor, has become the first church in Tennessee to send $1 million through the Cooperative Program over a 12-month period.
In early March, the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board received a check for $83,333 that brought Bellevue's total giving through the Cooperative Program to $1 million since April 2016.
Records from the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board indicate that Bellevue's gifts through the Cooperative Program have quadrupled over the past six years.
Gaines said he tells members of the Memphis-area church that when they give to Bellevue's budget they support many different ministries.
"The Cooperative Program is the way we support the budget of the Southern Baptist Convention. When we give through the Cooperative Program we support seminary students, foreign missions, schools like Union University and every kind of ministry you can imagine," Gaines said.
"The Cooperative Program is a great way of broadly investing in the Kingdom of God. We do it without reservation," he added.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, expressed appreciation.
"I was about to preach in Montana in the fall of 2010 when I got a phone call from Pastor Steve to inform me that Bellevue had decided to begin increasing their Great Commission giving through the Cooperative Program," Davis recalled.
"That strong affirmation and commitment from Dr. Gaines and Bellevue has led to this historic moment."
Davis also noted that "we want to use this occasion to thank all of our Tennessee Baptist Convention churches, large membership and small membership, new churches and long-existing churches, for your faithful and consistent financial undergirding of missions and ministries at home and around the world."
Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist and Reflector (www.baptistandreflector.org), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.