LOUISVILLE—The staff of the Kentucky Baptist Convention continues "to fight the good fight of faith" to help churches "penetrate lostness" despite the departure of Paul Chitwood as executive director.
"Our mission statement still stands: 'Kentucky Baptist Convention: Created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ,'" said co-interim Executive Director Curtis Woods. "Our current transition makes us even more zealous to stir up our churches to pursue love and good deeds throughout our state."
Woods, along with co-interim Executive Director Jim Donnell, were appointed to serve together at the helm of KBC after Chitwood was selected to become president of the International Mission Board.
Woods said servant leaders on the KBC staff are intent on helping churches bring the good news of Christ to Kentucky and the nations.
"Every member of the KBC mission board staff is intent on one purpose, namely, looking out for the best interests of our churches because we are one team who believes that teamwork makes the dream work," he said.
Woods pointed to several milestones that he said exhibit the work of KBC churches and the Mission Board staff, including a crusade, dubbed Hope for the Mountains, held in conjunction with last month's annual meeting in Pikeville.
"Hope for the Mountains illustrated the beauty of cooperative missions," he said. "We saw local churches, associations, and the mission board staff galvanize more than 1,000 volunteers from at least 100 different churches to bring good news to our friends in eastern Kentucky," he said.
Woods also noted a 4.5 percent increase in mission project participation among KBC churches. Led by KBC's Mission Mobilization team, churches purchased and filled more than 7,300 backpacks to be given to needy Kentucky children during the Christmas season. Including donations from other state conventions, a total of about 19,000 backpacks will be distributed by church planters and missionaries to needy children in Kentucky and Cincinnati during the holidays.
"Kentucky Disaster Relief deployed volunteers who engaged in 42 weeks of ministry, training almost 900 volunteers for disaster response and realized 168 decisions for Christ," Woods said. "We also trained 150 volunteers to lead international mission teams."
Kentucky also continues to network and support more than 100 missionaries serving within the state's borders. "They hosted 25,230 short-term volunteers and realized 3,837 professions of faith," he said.
Woods also noted the Mission Board also continues to make strides in the area of racial reconciliation.
"You might not realize this, but the Mission Board made history affirming three Hispanic and two African-American leaders to serve our churches in full-time roles," he said. "In fact, the Administrative Committee's recent appointment of Brian Hinton to lead the University of Louisville's Baptist Campus Ministry is the first time an African American will give primary leadership to a traditionally white institution's BCM in Kentucky."
Distribution of funds
In other business during its December meeting, Mission Board members approved allocation of $287,983 returned by the University of the Cumberlands for the 2017-18 fiscal year, following a decision to begin electing its own trustees.
The Evangelism and Church Planting team will receive $147,983 for evangelistic crusades, and each of the KBC's seven agencies and institutions will receive $20,000.
The 2018-19 CP funds allocated for the university will be escrowed until the next KBC executive director-treasurer is employed.
Mission Board members also approved allocations of a Cooperative Program overage of $547,373 for the 2018 fiscal year.
The Mission Mobilization Team will receive $70,000 for refugee ministry, maintenance of Freeda Harris Baptist Center, international disaster relief and partnership missions.
The Church Consulting & Revitalization Team will receive $47,500 to support production of a KET Christmas Video, a large/mega church conference, partnership revitalization cohorts, and a church security training event, among other projects.
The Evangelism and Church Planting Team will receive $271,373 to assist with the LAUNCH retreat, youth evangelism conference, bivocational pastor's retreat, personal evangelism training kits, BCM church plants, BCM facility repairs, the REACH evangelism conference, and other projects.
The Executive Office Team will receive $108,500 for convention relations, Kentucky Today online news and radio, reporters and lobbyist, marketing, video production equipment, and software support. (KT/WR)