Becoming a Georgia Baptist Church is a straightforward process, and our team will be happy to help guide you every step of the way. There are many details to consider for both pastoral leadership and church members when considering joining our convention. We’ve included some details below to help explain both what it means to be a part of the Georgia Baptist Convention, as well as how to partner.
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.”
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/.
Churches may become a part of the Georgia Baptist Convention through becoming a member of a local Georgia Baptist association or as an At-Large church. Each year, churches that become a member church of 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 a member of the Georgia Baptist Convention most often by virtue of becoming a member of a Baptist association. There are more than 80 associations across Georgia. The Georgia Baptist Convention strongly encourages churches who wish to become a part of the Georgia Baptist Convention to first become a part of the local Baptist association. Each association guidelines defining the process to become a member church of that association. The Association Missionary Strategist can assist a church wishing to join 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 Assistant Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board assists the church in walking through the application process.
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 ministries of the Georgia Baptist Convention. In turn, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board provides assistance, training, encouragement, and support for the ministries of Georgia Baptist churches and associations.
Through the Cooperative Program, Georgia Baptist churches partner in missions with thousands of other Southern Baptist Churches through the North American Mission Board and around the world through the International Mission Board to extend the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.