This article was written by Jamie Naramore, International Church Strategist at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
Praying, giving and going on mission with Jesus is central to the identity of Arkansas Baptists. As a result, Arkansas Baptist churches are connected to missions endeavors all over the world. Jesus told His disciples they would become His witnesses from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Local churches each play a unique role in ministering to community needs and partnering with individual missionaries and church planters across the state, throughout North America, and around the world. For over 100 years, Arkansas Baptists have also chosen to accomplish even more through cooperative mission efforts. By giving to missions through the Cooperative Program (CP) each local church is supporting ministry, missions, and church planting efforts in ways that might otherwise be beyond their individual reach.
One of the most effective ways to celebrate and challenge a church’s continued faithfulness to the task is to consistently keep stories, opportunities, and prayer requests before the congregation. Sometimes it can seem difficult, however, to gather the resources and stories that celebrate the wide spectrum of impact made by each church. That is why CP Share exists – to create a way with “no assembly required” to celebrate what God can do when we pray, give, and go together.
But the desire is not only to celebrate impact and pray for our missionaries. This resource is also meant to help facilitate a mission sending culture within the church. If a pastor or small group leader is willing to take a few minutes each week to introduce the kaleidoscope of ways the Kingdom is advancing through Arkansas Baptists among unreached people and places, then the call and the opportunity to participate in the Great Commission will always be present. Furthermore, this new resource will intentionally highlight missionaries and church planters with strong Arkansas connections. Many of them are either from Arkansas, have studied or served in Arkansas, or have strong partnerships with Arkansas churches. In this way, churches will be inspired to serve with the same faithfulness as those we have already sent out.
So how does it work?
CP Share for May and June will be available for download beginning Sunday, April 25, which coincides with Cooperative Program Sunday. New quarterly “packets” of weekly materials will be released every three months at absc.org/cpshare. These “packets” will include two PowerPoint slides with the picture and prayer points for that week’s missions moment, as well as a one-page leader’s note sheet with a picture, short introduction or story, and prayer points. These can also be printed out as bulletin inserts to hand out to the congregation.
A pastor could choose to take 3-5 minutes during a Sunday service to read the story and show the slides before praying for that week’s missions moment. Or the pastor could encourage small group leaders, children’s and student pastors, and others to do the same as a part of their regular weekly meetings. Though these resources will come out quarterly with a suggested schedule attached, they will not be dated. Each church will have the freedom to fit in the desired materials according to their schedule.
When you download the new CP Share resources, you will discover a way to celebrate missions in your church with “no assembly required.” We pray that this resource serves to further the Great Commission by equipping pastors in creating and sustaining a missions culture in the church. Furthermore, we pray that more churches will pursue even more personal partnerships with missionaries and church planters across the state, throughout the nation, and around the world.