Editor’s note: October is Cooperative Program Emphasis Month in the Southern Baptist Convention.
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – When Cameron Hayner chose the path of a seminarian, he thought through several factors such as cost, convenience and the ability to maintain a personal ministry schedule where he could put his education into practice.
The Cooperative Program became a leading determiner for his decision to go to a Southern Baptist seminary.
“There are two things I love about the Cooperative Program,” said Hayner, an Advanced Master of Divinity student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. “First, with every dollar I give through my local church, I know that I am supporting missions, theological education and local church ministry around the world.
“Second, the Cooperative Program helps to ensure that students like me can receive a quality biblical and theological education at low costs from theologically driven and mission-minded faculty who equip generations of students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission.”
Members of Southern Baptist churches attending an SBC seminary receive a 50 percent reduction in tuition costs through the Cooperative Program. If that weren’t the case, Hayner said he would have had to change jobs or add another one to his part-time staff position at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis last year.
Instead, Hayner didn’t have to choose. He continued to serve at Bellevue while taking online classes through Southeastern.
“I reaped those benefits made possible through the Cooperative Program,” he said.
“I love that I was able to actually continue to serve in the local church while attending seminary. It also opened the door for some discipleship opportunities as well.”
Brian Drummond was able to continue serving in smaller churches as a result of the Cooperative Program support to his education at Gateway Seminary.
“It’s been such a major blessing and enabled me to continue in God’s ministry, seeing people changed and going from broken lives to having a personal relationship with the Lord,” said Drummond, a second-year Master of Divinity student.
Drummond is a Riverside native who majored in business and Christian studies at nearby California Baptist University. When it came to theological education, he looked at several options including those outside the SBC. The CP assistance for paying tuition proved too much to ignore alongside the instruction he would get at Gateway.