The Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention is now less than a month away. Although there's always a possibility of some surprises, here are a few business items to watch for at this year's convention in Pikeville:
•Crossover events and crusade: Even before the opening gavel pounds, Kentucky Baptists' presence will have been noted by Pikeville's residents. Some of the outreach events for Crossover include packing Thanksgiving meals at Grace Baptist Church, door-to-door evangelism at Creekside Baptist Church, winterization of homes in Hazard and Prestonsburg, a basketball camp for 5th-8th graders at the University of Pikeville, and a deaf community dinner at Hilton Garden Inn. To register, see www.kybaptist.org/stories/crossover-2018,3379.
New this year, though, is the "Hope for the Mountains" crusade at the Expo Center on Nov. 11, led by evangelist John Reed. Reed was in Ashland, Prestonsburg, Hazard and Pikeville in May and returned to the state in September for volunteer counselor, usher and greeter training sessions in Prestonsburg, Vicco and Ashland. Hope for the Mountains is a tremendous opportunity for Central, Northern and Western Kentucky Baptists to come alongside of their sister churches in the east to encourage them.
•New Officers: This year's presidential race pits a Prestonsburg pastor against a Lexington pastor. Tim Searcy, of Allen Baptist Church near Prestonsburg, is expected to be nominated by Tommy Reed, and Nick Sandefur, of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, is expected to be nominated by Don Mathis.
Having served churches in Kentucky and Mississippi, Searcy has extensive experience in church and denominational life. He has been a youth minister, minister of music, associate pastor, pastor, college and seminary professor, International Mission Board missionary and church planter.
Sandefur has been a member of the KBC Mission Board, served on its Nominating Committee, and was a member of the search committee that recommended Paul Chitwood as executive director. He also has been a KBC consultant for the North Central Region.
Owensboro pastor Kenny Rager is the lone nominee for president of the Pastors' Conference, held each year prior to the annual meeting. A member of the KBC Mission Board, Rager served as the convention's first vice president in 2016.
•CP Budget Increase: The Mission Board will propose setting a Cooperative Program Budget Goal of $22 million for the 2019-20 fiscal year, up $500,000 from this year's goal. The funds will be equally divided between SBC and KBC causes, with $11 million projected for each, or an increase of $225,000. The KBC's Operational Budget, though, sets aside 10 percent of each portion for Cooperative Program Resourcing.
KBC churches gave nearly $1 million more through the CP in 2017-18 than they did the previous fiscal year to support 3,600-plus international missionaries and a host of state and national mission endeavors to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.
•Dual-alignment recommendation: Prompted by a motion by Somerset pastor Ed Amundson at last year's convention, the big business item on the agenda is a report from the KBC's Committee on Credentials, which was charged last November with monitoring the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's moral and theological positions, specifically pertaining to a then-proposed change in the organization's hiring practices.
In February, the CBF's Governing Board nixed its hiring policy prohibiting their "purposeful hiring of a staff person or the sending of a missionary who is a practicing homosexual." While the CBF's leadership positions and ministry positions will still be limited to those who practice "the traditional Christian sexual ethic" of marriage between a man and a woman, other positions now will be open to "Christians who identify as LGBT."
Messengers are expected to take action on a recommendation from the Committee on Credentials that churches contributing to the CBF no longer be considered to be in cooperation with the KBC. From the committee's standpoint, churches that are dually aligned are now supporting an LGBT affirming network and funding the employment of LGBT persons. The committee's motion, which essentially places a burden on these churches to make a choice, was endorsed by members of the KBC's Mission Board at their May meeting.
With the theme "Bring Good News," the KBC Annual Meeting will convene on Nov. 13, and the Pastors' Conference will be held on Nov. 12 at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center. While Kentucky Baptists have met in Ashland on three occasions and in Harlan, this marks the first time they have met in Pikeville. Make plans to join us for this history-making event!