LOUISVILLE – The Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board approved recommendations unique to each of its affiliated agencies and institutions on Tuesday, prefacing each statement by expressing gratitude to the organizations for their partnerships, some of which have existed for more than a century.
Although made official on May 7, leadership of each agency and institution received a copy of the recommendations following the document’s adoption by the board’s administrative committee in March.
Adam Greenway, chairman of the administrative committee, explained to board members during the final session of their two-day meeting that the recommendations are non-binding and were compiled by a 14-member study group of Kentucky Baptist leaders formed last year by KBC Executive Director-Treasurer Paul Chitwood.
The group was charged with reviewing the convention’s relationship with each affiliated agency and institution. They began work last October.
In addition to the specific suggestions, the mission board called upon all 10 organizations to:
- Be authentic promoters of the Cooperative Program
- Consider inviting the KBC Executive Director to serve as an ex-officio trustee
- Perpetuate an atmosphere that reflects the “four pegs” of the “big tent” of the KBC:
- A high view of Scripture
- Commitment to fulfill the Great Commission
- Agreement with the Baptist Faith & Message
During the May 6 session of the KBC Mission Board meeting, members approved a two-year step-down in Cooperative Program allocations, beginning with the 2013-14 fiscal year, to the agencies and institutions. The change will enable Kentucky Baptists to send more CP support to the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board and other SBC causes.
Over two years, more than $650,000 will be shifted from the agencies and institutions to national SBC causes. Kentucky Baptists expressed their desire to make that change in 2010 by adopting the recommendations of the Kentucky Great Commission Task Force which called for an equal division of CP dollars between KBC and SBC.
In fiscal year 2011-12, the mission board staff and each affiliated agency and institution saw a reduction in CP allocations to begin the journey toward the 50/50 split, minus funds used to promote the Cooperative Program to Kentucky Baptists’ 2,400 congregations. In 2012, additional steps were taken when the mission board staff was restructured and several positions phased out.
Chitwood said he hopes that the next two budget cycles, with the changes to the agencies’ and institutions’ CP allocations, will be the final step in the process.
Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union
According to the report, Kentucky WMU’s “focus on missions at home and abroad, along with the tremendous ministry of facilitating the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions, make WMU one of (KBC’s) most strategic partners.”
As a member of the Kentucky Great Commission Task Force, Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky WMU, stated publicly in 2010 that WMU was willing to absorb the same CP percentage reduction as the mission board staff in order to move Kentucky Baptists closer to the 50/50 goal.
Eventually WMU’s CP allocation was adjusted at the same rate of the other agencies and institutions.
Bolton says the KBC and Kentucky WMU continue to be a good team. At the May 7 session of the mission board meeting, she released the Eliza Broadus Offering allocations projected for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
If Kentucky Baptists reach the $1.25 million offering goal, the allocations will include $855,000 to the KBC Mission Board to be used for the work of the KBC’s Missions Mobilization, Evangelism & Church Planting, and Church Consulting & Revitalization teams.
An additional $5,000 of state missions offering receipts is earmarked for Crossings Ministries to host the annual Creative Ministries Festival and to assist in the Kentucky Changers missions program for youth.
If the goal is reached, $125,000 will be used for Kentucky Baptist Associations and various other ministries across Kentucky.
A total of $265,000 is budgeted for WMU to produce missions education materials, organize missions-ed camps and overnights for children, young adults and adults, and to promote EBO offering.
Campbellsville University and University of the Cumberlands
The two universities receive identical amounts of Cooperative Program dollars, so the recommendations for the institutions were the same.
The changes in CP allocation “should in no way be interpreted as a lack of appreciation for the ministry of UC and CU,” the document stated.
Because the two universities receive the largest piece of the agencies’ and institutions’ CP pie, the report noted that the study group and the board’s administrative committee intend to continue discussions with the schools to determine if there are recommendations that can be placed before the mission board in November “to assist in compensating for the reduction in CP funding.”
Clear Creek Baptist Bible College
The report had no recommendations for Clear Creek beyond those addressed to all agencies. The report states that the committees, “are very pleased by the way that Clear Creek Baptist Bible College has aligned itself with the churches of the KBC … (and) consider CCBBC to be an incredibly strategic partner, particularly in church planting and evangelism in many of the unreached counties of Eastern Kentucky.” The study group and administrative committee challenged the mission board to seek “new and creative ways” to partner with Clear Creek in those key efforts.
Kentucky Baptist Foundation
The foundation received more input from the study group than any other organization, encouraging foundation leaders to embrace a more focused role, as “the development agency for local churches, the Cooperative Program and other Kentucky Baptist causes, including associations.”
“Committee members believe the ministry of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation (KBF) can be instrumental for undergirding the future of Kentucky Baptist Convention churches and their mission causes.”
The report noted that discussions with KBF Board of Trustees found them “ready to position KBF as that development agency.
“The rationale for these discussions was two-fold,” the document continues. “First, we believe this move will clarify for the local church KBF’s role as a servant of the churches. That clarification should provide a more open door of ministry for KBF. As pastors come to understand that KBF exists, first and foremost, to undergird the financial future of the local church, we believe they will be more enthusiastic about inviting KBF to join with them in their ministry.
“Second, we believe this change will strengthen the partnership between KBF and KBC. Now that KBC has clarified our role as a servant of the local church, we must invest our energies and resources in partnerships with agencies and institutions sharing that mission.”
The group and administrative committee “recommend that KBC Mission Board staff members work in close concert with KBF staff members to help KBC churches garner the necessary resources to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ …The study group and administrative committee “also recommend that the mission board consider changes to allow KBF to undertake appropriate fundraising efforts to undergird its ministry and offset its CP allocation reduction.
“Finally, the committees strongly encourage the mission board and the executive director-treasurer to explore all avenues for increasing Kentucky Baptists’ financial support through legacy giving for the cooperative mission work of Kentucky Baptists and Southern Baptists.”
The study group and administrative committee expressed gratitude to the current leadership of the Recorder, one of the oldest Baptist newspapers in the country, for its “positive tone and close partnership” with the KBC.
The report conveys concern for “the skyrocketing subsidy provided by the Cooperative Program ($14 per $15 annual subscription) in light of the perception that the Western Recorder (WR) is an independent news source.”
The study group also recognized “the many challenges the WR is facing,” including the global downturn in the newspaper industry as digital media has risen in popularity and availability.
The report states: “We encourage the WR Board of Trustees to continue expanding its resource base.”
Sunrise Children’s Services
The report expresses gratitude “for the opportunity that Sunrise Children’s Services provides for Kentucky Baptists to be faithful to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment … (we) encourage our churches to explore ways to be more involved in, and supportive of, the ministry of Sunrise.”
During the discussion time at Tuesday’s meeting, Lynn Traylor, a member of the KBC Mission Board and pastor of Buckner Baptist Church, encouraged fellow board members to stay up to date on the latest developments in the 13-year-old litigation against Sunrise Children’s Services following the dismissal of an openly gay employee.
Traylor said it was possible that, at some point, Sunrise could “face an undue financial burden” if state funds are pulled from the agency that cares for thousands of young victims of abuse and neglect each year.
Oneida Baptist Institute
Similar to the recommendations for Sunrise Children’s Services, the committees encourage Kentucky Baptists as individuals and churches to “explore ways to be more involved in, and supportive of, the ministry of OBI.”
The Christian boarding school in Eastern Kentucky serves more than 250 students annually, and about 20 percent come from outside the United States.
The report states: “The beautiful ethnic and cultural diversity of OBI’s student body should encourage every Kentucky Baptist who is concerned about gospel advance among all the peoples of the earth.”
Formerly known as “Kentucky Baptist Assemblies,” Crossings last year became “the” youth ministry resource for Kentucky Baptists following the restructuring of the KBC Mission Board staff. Crossings also assumed responsibility for the incredibly successful hands-on missions initiative for youth, Kentucky Changers.
KBC Church Consulting & Revitalization Team staff are helping connect Kentucky Baptist youth ministers and ministry leaders to the networking and consulting services provided by Crossings.
The report had no recommendations for Crossings, other than those given to each agency and institution. It states that the ongoing partnership with KBC “will result in more effective ministry to teens among KBC churches.”
Support of Baptist Health through the Cooperative Program maintains a key partnership that is decades old, noted KBC Executive Director-Treasurer Paul Chitwood when the report was finalized in March.
“We are all benefactors,” he said, noting specifically Baptist Health’s ongoing financial support of the annual Shepherding the Shepherd conference for pastors and their spouses.
The report states: “We hope the ongoing partnership in Shepherding the Shepherd can be matched with other ministries to help ensure the health of church leaders across the state.”