Becoming a Georgia Baptist Church
- What is the Georgia Baptist Convention?
- What is a cooperating church?
- What is the Cooperative Program?
- What is the Baptist Faith and Message?
- How may a church affiliate with the Georgia Baptist Convention?
- What is a local association?
- What special offerings are supported by the Georgia Baptist Convention?
- Where is the Georgia Baptist Missions and Ministry Center?
- What is The Christian Index?
- Constitution of the Georgia Baptist Convention
What is the Georgia Baptist Convention?
The Georgia Baptist Convention is made up of autonomous, cooperating churches that partner together through the Cooperative Program and special mission offerings and mission efforts to share Jesus Christ across Georgia, throughout North America, and around the world. Our Convention of churches may be best described by our Mission Statement:
“The Georgia Baptist Convention is a voluntary association of churches growing in grace, strengthening one another in faith and working together in obedience to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.”
Churches give through the Cooperative Program and the Mission Georgia Offering to support the missionaries and ministries of the Georgia Baptist Convention. In turn, Georgia state missionaries provide assistance, training, encouragement, and support for the ministries of Georgia Baptist churches and associations.
At the 2011 Convention annual meeting, Georgia Baptists adopted 5 Smooth Stones or initiatives to reduce lostness in Georgia: Spiritual Renewal, Kingdom Generosity, Church Revitalization, Church Planting, and Authentic Evangelism. Resources and more information are available at gabaptist.org/5smoothstones/.
Churches are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention through their affiliation with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Through the Cooperative Program and affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention, Georgia Baptist churches partner in missions across North America through the North American Mission Board and around the world through the International Mission Board and other ministries that extend the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What is a cooperating church?
The Georgia Baptist Convention Constitution defines a cooperating church as “one that gives evidence of its belief in Holy Scripture as its authority in matters of faith and practice and is in harmony and cooperation with the work and purpose of this Convention. A cooperating church does not include a church which knowingly takes, or has taken, any action to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.”
Cooperating churches send mission gifts through the Cooperative Program and send messengers to the Convention annual meeting to receive reports of the missions and ministries of the Convention and approve items of business such as the Cooperative Program budget. According to the Georgia Baptist Convention Constitution, “Each cooperating church, having contributed through the Convention for the Cooperative Program and Convention causes during the preceding year, shall be entitled to two messengers and to one additional messenger for each $800 contributed through this Convention for the Cooperative Program and Convention causes, but in no case shall any church be entitled to more than fifteen (15) messengers.”
What is the Cooperative Program?
The Cooperative Program was born in 1925 to provide a way for Southern Baptists to more effectively use our resources to support mission work at home and around the world. It provides a way for Georgia and Southern Baptists to respond to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and to take the Gospel to our neighbors at home and around the world. The Cooperative Program is based upon an individual voluntary response under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to give through the local church to touch the world with the Gospel.
Through the Cooperative Program, funds for state causes are distributed based on the Cooperative Program budget annually adopted by the Georgia Baptist Convention. Funds for Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries are sent to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, and distributed to the various agencies and institutions based on the budget annually adopted by the SBC. The Annual Report of the Georgia Baptist Convention provides information about the budget and entities of the GBC and SBC. The Georgia Baptist Convention Annual Report is available online at gabaptist.org/gbcannualreports/.
How may a church affiliate with the Georgia Baptist Convention?
Churches may affiliate with the Georgia Baptist Convention through an affiliation with a local Georgia Baptist association or as an At-Large church. Each year, churches that begin an affiliation with the Georgia Baptist Convention through their local association or as an At-Large church during the year are reported to the Convention in annual session by the Church Membership Committee of the Executive Committee.
Through a local association:
Churches become affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention most often by virtue of their affiliation with a Baptist association. Associations are located all across Georgia. The Convention strongly encourages churches to affiliate with the Convention through a local Baptist association by fulfilling the requirements and complying with the process of the particular local association to be accepted as a member of the association.
As an At-Large congregation:
A church may affiliate with the Georgia Baptist Convention as an At-Large church and have the same rights and privileges as one affiliated through an association. Churches may indicate their desire to affiliate as an At-Large church by submitting an Application for Affiliation to the Church Membership Committee of the Executive Committee through the office of the Executive Director. There is a waiting period of at least six months before the Convention’s next annual meeting during which time the church shall give evidence of its doctrinal integrity in keeping with the Mission Statement of the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as adopted by the Convention. The Regional State Missionary works with the church through the process and makes recommendations to the Church Membership Committee.
Special Offerings Supported by the Georgia Baptist Convention
Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions:
Each year, we honor the life and work of Annie Walker Armstrong (1850-1938) when we give to the annual Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions. As a tireless servant of God and a contagious advocate and supporter of mission efforts throughout the world, Annie rallied churches to give more, pray more, and do more for reaching people for Christ. The Annie Armstrong website provides a wealth of resources for promoting the offering in the local church, including supplemental materials available only online at AnnieArmstrong.com.
Churches may order offering envelopes, posters, and prayer guides in various languages FREE in one of two ways:
1. Order online: 3in1missions.com
2. Call 800-746-4422, ext. 324
Georgia Baptist Children’s Homes Day Offering:
The Georgia Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries, Inc. invites churches to participate in “Georgia Baptist Children’s Homes Day Offering” in May on Mother’s Day. This day is meant to raise awareness of the ministry and its services and celebrate the power of God to reach out to children in need. Georgia Baptist churches are urged to use this day as a special offering emphasis for our Children’s Homes. Speakers are available for Sunday School classes and church services.
To order offering materials, and more information about Children’s Homes Day and how your church can help, contact the Children’s Homes at 770-463.3800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Adult Ministries Day Offering:
In the month of July, Georgia Baptists emphasize the ministry provided for our senior adults through Baptist Retirement Communities of Georgia in Atlanta and Baptist Village Retirement Communities in Waycross. These two facilities and their satellite locations provide affordable housing to those on a fixed income in secure, Christian environments. For the residents of Baptist Retirement Communities of Georgia, Inc. and Baptist Village, a higher quality of care is provided to meet the needs of seniors – the kind of care mandated by Jesus Christ. Gifts given through this offering are divided evenly between Baptist Retirement Communities of Georgia and Baptist Village Retirement Communities. These resources help Georgia Baptists extend their ministry to persons in need and expand available space and facilities.
Information is provided in The Christian Index each July about the Senior Adult Ministries Day Offering.
Mission Georgia Season of Prayer and Offering:
Each year Georgia Baptist churches celebrate the many state missions ministries through the annual Mission Georgia Season of Prayer and Offering emphasis. While many churches conduct the emphasis in September, it may be done at any time of year. Support of the Mission Georgia Offering strengthens and blesses our ministries within Georgia and our outreach to North America and the world. Georgia Baptists are challenged to reach the 8.1 million people who are projected to live in Georgia in 2020 without hope through faith in Jesus Christ.
Visit the 3in1 Missions Order From and scroll to the bottom of the page to order offering envelopes, materials, and schedule a speaker to share about Mission Georgia.
World Hunger Sunday:
In the time it takes to read this paragraph, 26 children will die as a result of malnutrition and related illnesses. Every October, Southern Baptists collect an offering to be used exclusively for world hunger. All money Southern Baptists give for hunger relief goes directly to hunger causes with none used for administration or promotion. Of the total given by Georgia Baptists, 70% goes to overseas hunger projects, 20% to support hunger projects in the United States, and 10% toward fighting hunger in Georgia.
Offering envelopes and materials may be ordered from the Georgia Baptist Convention by contacting the Associational Missions ministry.
Thankful Heart Sunday Offering:
Every year in November the Georgia Baptist Convention sets aside a special Sunday to emphasize the many ministries performed by the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation, the physical healing ministry of Georgia Baptists that touches thousands of lives. This offering provides resources for our Georgia Baptist pastors to receive health care assistance where needed and provides hope for men, women, and children in need of health care. Georgia Baptist churches are encouraged to give generously to the Thankful Heart Sunday Offering to support the healing ministries of the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation.
Offering envelopes, materials, and speakers are available by contacting the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation. Information is sent to churches about six weeks before the offering date.
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions:
Southern Baptist churches collect the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the sole purpose of supporting international missions. Every penny of the offering goes to the International Mission Board’s overseas budget, thus supporting our missionaries and their work.
Churches may order offering envelopes, posters, and prayer guides in various languages in one of two ways:
1. Order online: 3in1missions.com
2. Call 800-746-4422, ext. 324