-Affiliating with Southern Baptists-

Becoming a “Cooperating Church” with the 
Southern Baptist Convention

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a fellowship of about 46,500 Baptist churches and another 4,500 mission churches (churches that have not yet established their autonomy as self-governing congregations) scattered across the United States and its territories. These congregations, comprised of numerous racial, ethnic, language, and socioeconomic people groups, are called “cooperating churches.” They have organized themselves to accomplish a specific set of missions and ministry initiatives. The Convention’s formal purpose statement is:

. . . to provide a general organization for Baptists in the United States and its territories for the promotion of Christian missions at home and abroad and any other objects such as Christian education, benevolent enterprises, and social services which it may deem proper and advisable for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. (SBC Constitution, Article II)

Cooperating Churches

A cooperating church is a church that freely and gladly identifies itself as a Southern Baptist church, affirming its willing cooperation with the Convention’s purpose, missions, and ministries and providing regular financial support for the Convention’s work as part of the church’s adopted budget. (see What makes a church ‘Southern Baptist')

Local Church and SBC Autonomy

Each Baptist church is responsible before God to determine its own policies and ministries as its members discern the will of God expressed in Scripture. The Convention, also an autonomous body, rightly defines for itself the qualifications by which churches are identified as cooperating churches. The SBC Constitution is very clear on these two matters:

While independent and sovereign in its own sphere [Convention autonomy], the Convention does not claim and will never attempt to exercise any authority over any other Baptist body, whether church [church autonomy], auxiliary organizations, associations, or convention. (SBC Constitution, Article IV)

Consequently, the SBC does not have a hierarchy. A local church voluntarily chooses to identify and cooperate with the SBC to reach the world for Christ through our cooperative ministries of missions, evangelism, ministerial training, moral advocacy and cultural engagement, and other benevolent causes. Conversely, the Convention chooses to recognize those churches it deems as supportive of the Convention and in harmony with the Convention’s theological, missiological, and ministry purposes and work.

Read more and see a video about who we are and what we're about at - http://www.sbc.net/becomingsouthernbaptist/