The Cooperative Program

Historical Marker #1770 in Murray commemorates Harvey Boyce Taylor and his work on the Cooperative Program.

Murray's First Baptist Church, under the leadership of Taylor, proposed a new unified approach to the church budget. The proposed financial plan became known as the Cooperative Program, an initiative to unify Baptist churches under one solitary budget. In 1914, Taylor visited various churches throughout Kentucky to promote his plan which was adopted a year later by the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky. In 1925, the Southern Baptist Convention formally adopted the Cooperative Program, with some minor changes.

Within the faith community, believers have an obligation to share with the church through financial donations. Individual churches in turn take a portion of their total annual income and contribute to the Cooperative Fund. Usually a certain percentage is given from each church on a yearly basis. Each establishment decides the amount of funds allocated for local needs, any additional funds that the church can spare goes towards to the Southern Baptist Convention for North America. Established in Georgia in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention refers to the annual meeting of Southern Baptist officials that conduct the business of the church. This entity provides direct financial support to missionaries across the world due in part to the support of the Cooperative Program.

Ultimately, the goal of Taylor's program was to unite Baptist churches for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. Today, the funds under the Cooperative Program still support ministry and missions within the Baptist Church.