Colorado church makes CP giving a priority
COLORADO SPRINGS (BP) -- With a clear, simple purpose statement of "Make Disciples," what does a church do when it outgrows its landlocked facilities in a part of town facing significant demographic changes?
A multi-faceted ministry
Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs already assists a neighboring Baptist church that ministers in the heart language of many of the area's newer residents. The congregation hosts another people group who meet in its facilities. Circle Drive has adopted an unreached, unengaged people group in West Africa in partnership with the International Mission Board's Embrace initiative. And it maintains ongoing missions partnerships in the Philippines, Southeast Asia and Romania. Church members have been on mission trips to 17 nations (including the United States) since 2002. Circle Drive additionally is heavily invested in missions and ministries across Pikes Peak Baptist Association and throughout the state of Colorado.
Pastor Mike Routt serves at Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. In striving to make disciples, the church has taken the "1% CP Challenge" to increase the percentage of its budget to Southern Baptists' Cooperative Program channel of support for missions and ministries. Photo courtesy of Circle Drive Baptist Church
Others before self
Two years ago, the church where pastor Mike Routt serves voted to purchase 20 acres in a highly visible, fast-growing section of Colorado Springs. The land, already paid for, is within a mile of a new development where 6,000 new homes will be built in the next few years. This is a church where the 20 people who started the congregation in 1954 took food each week from their own meager larders to share with their poorly paid pastor.
They were (and are) more interested in doing for others than doing for themselves. So they responded unanimously last fall when Routt, who currently serves as vice chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, suggested they rise to the "1% CP Challenge" voiced by EC President Frank Page to increase the percentage of their budget for Southern Baptist missions and ministries.
"Our church is in the midst of a $10.5 million capital fundraising campaign for a total campus relocation," Routt said. "So why increase our CP giving 1 percent at this time in our church's history?
"The needs of others remain of greater importance to our people than their own," Routt said. "Through our giving to CP, we support thousands of IMB and NAMB missionaries; we support thousands of students who are preparing for the Gospel ministry in our six SBC seminaries; we support religious liberty through the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and we support the work of our own state convention in saturating Colorado with the Gospel. Our church also supports strongly the Cooperative Program because of partnership with other churches of our denomination across America."
The Cooperative Program is the way Southern Baptist churches combine their missions dollars for maximum impact around the world.
"[Circle Drive] did it enthusiastically," Routt said. "People are excited. We're wanting to expand; we want to have a greater impact in the Kingdom of God, and the Cooperative Program helps us have that Kingdom impact.
"Both tasks are urgent," he said. "We must move forward locally to fulfill the Great Commission in our 'Jerusalem.' But we must also move forward globally to fulfill the Great Commission 'to the ends of the earth.'"
Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs has taken mission trips to 17 nations and maintains mission partnerships in the Philippines, Southeast Asia and Romania. Photo courtesy of Circle Drive Baptist Church
Their "Jerusalem" -- the greater Colorado Springs area -- starts with pew-sitters, people in the church who may have no specific ministry vision, Routt said. Giving them vision begins with the church's children's ministry led by Kathy Routt, the pastor's wife. She revamped the children's ministry area and its programs so that children know they are loved and important to God. The goal is for each child to know God personally, believe His Word and share His love with others. This ministry is extended through Circle Drive's outreach at Will Rogers Elementary School.
"I have two passions -- children and missions," Kathy Routt said. "God has given me a passion for children and their families. It's truly a blessing to serve the church and see people's lives changed and see what God does.
"I love being a pastor's wife," she added. "Not every pastor's wife is the same.... God gifts each pastor's wife differently and we don't need to be like the pastor's wife down the street in the way we serve the church. We just need to be faithful to do what He has called us to do."
Each age group at Circle Drive, preschool through adult, is involved in specific ministries to help nurture the faith of pre-believers and mentor Christians into becoming fully engaged disciples. In addition, the church has specialized ministries for the military and the deaf as well as an active evangelistic outdoor ministry.
For the long haul
"We're not in a hurry about raising the money to be able to relocate," Mike Routt said. "It's not about ambition. It's determining, discovering God's will and doing it. I would love for us to raise the entire amount and just be able to give our church building to the association to use for an inner-city ministry."
In addition to its other ministries, Circle Drive sponsors Grassroots Church plant, a multi-housing ministry that distributes food and furniture, constructs mission projects statewide and hosts pre-evangelism events such as July 4 and Thanksgiving celebrations.
"Mike Routt and Circle Drive Baptist Church are major players not only in Colorado Springs but in Colorado as a state," said Mark Edlund, executive director for the Colorado Baptist General Convention. "Mike is a major asset to the Kingdom work in Colorado."
A clear mission
Routt, when he came to the church in 2002, led in defining its purpose statement so every member could easily remember it. Everything the church does must directly align with "Make Disciples." As a result, some ministries that had been successful in the past were phased out. His pastoral predecessor, who retired after 50 years in the ministry, has remained with the church and is supportive of its new initiatives.
With the elimination of television, bus and other ministries that didn't appear to be as fruitful as they had been in the past, some of the reclaimed budget dollars were allocated to support other missions, including Cooperative Program giving. When the church voted last fall to accept the 1% CP Challenge, CP giving was raised to 6 percent.
Having outgrown its landlocked facilities, Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs is raising money for a new church. Yet Circle Drive members also decided to increase their giving to the Cooperative Program in order to fulfill the Great Commission to "the ends of the earth." Photo courtesy of Circle Drive Baptist Church
Cooperating for the Gospel
"The Cooperative Program connects us with other local churches, churches around the state and churches across the nation," Routt said. "CP allows us to carry out the Great Commission through giving. While it is physically impossible for our specific church to go to all the countries of the world with the Gospel of Jesus, we can go to these countries through our giving to the Cooperative Program so that thousands can go in our place.
"In his address to the messengers of the 2012 annual meeting in New Orleans, Dr. Frank Page shared with us that the fuel for the Great Commission Advance is the fuel of the Cooperative Program," Routt said. "He also admonished us that the Great Commission will be left to someone else if we don't provide the fuel. I realize the way for this goal to be met: one church at a time!"
Karen L. Willoughby is the retired managing editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).395