LOUISVILLE— The Kentucky Baptist Convention Administrative Committee approved new campus missionaries and a new role for KBC staff member Carlos De la Barra at a recent meeting.
In addition to new personnel, the committee affirmed several recommendations that will bring into sharper focus the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s “more strategic and concentrated approach” for reaching college students.
Following the approval, Joshua Skipper of Durham, N.C., began serving as campus missionary (a new job title for Kentucky Baptist Campus Ministry “directors” or “campus ministers”) at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights.
Previously Skipper served as associate BCM director at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg.
Also approved as campus missionary was Jonathan Clark, a native of Hopkinsville, who will serve at Murray State University as of Dec. 31.
Clark currently serves as Baptist campus minister at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. A graduate of Murray State and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, he has served in various campus ministry positions for the past 15 years.
In addition to the new titles, the committee affirmed additional recommendations from a KBC collegiate ministry task force formed last year. KBC Collegiate Evangelism Strategist Brian Combs presented the changes to the group. They included:
- A new BCM vision statement that, in part, echoes the KBC’s—“Created for churches, by churches, to help churches lead college students and others in the academic community to encounter Jesus Christ and to develop them as multiplying disciples and leaders.”
- “Where previously outreach to campus and young adults was viewed as a somewhat independent, state-office-generated ministry, it is our desire to help churches shift their mindset and see their ability to join in the vital task of reaching this generation for Jesus Christ—even if they are not located in ‘college towns,’” the task force stated in its report. BCM staff will be available to consult with church leaders about how best to reach campuses and young adults for Christ, they said.
- Creation of a new support role of campus missionary interns and associates. State and local BCM leaders will develop collaborative ministry relationships between churches, associations and individuals to provide funding and support, requiring no additional Cooperative Program dollars, the task force proposed.
- Prioritize annual allocations to maintain, repair or replace existing BCM facilities on college campuses. “The BCM facilities represent a long-term, thoughtful investment of Kentucky Baptists—both in finances and time—for the purpose of giving students a place to gather to encounter Jesus for the first time, to be discipled, and to gain essential skills to lead churches as ministers and lay leaders in coming generations,” the task force reasoned.
- And, in light of the fact that more than 6,000 international students attend college on one of Kentucky’s campuses each year, the Administrative Committee voted to eliminate the current international campus position at the University of Louisville, in favor of creating a state international ministry strategist position. “This person will be positioned to add strategic focus through our current international campus missionary interns and provide consultation to Kentucky Baptists gifted and willing to engage this important demographic,” Combs noted.
Church planting strategist
In other action, Carlos De la Barra, director of the KBC’s multiethnic missions and ministry department, was named church planting strategist. He began serving in his new role Sept. 1.
In nominating De la Barra for the strategist position, Chuck McAlister, leader of the KBC’s Evangelism and Church Planting Team, noted, “His passion for missions and church planting continues to help spur on new church plants and continued growth and development of existing church plants.”
De la Barra, a native of Chile, began work with the state convention in 2007 as ethnic associate for new work and associational missions. He and his wife, Cristina, have helped start several new churches in four Baptist associations in Kentucky. He currently is working with a new Hispanic church connected with Crestwood Baptist Church.
The administrative committee also approved establishing a new missionary category of “Missionary Support Catalyst” and transferring the KBC Music Library to Campbellsville University.
Eric Allen, leader of the Missions Mobilization team, explained that the new category—which, in effect, replaces the North American Mission Board’s former Mission Service Corp status—would allow adults, who are called by God and connected to a KBC church, to commit to serve in a state missions capacity from nine months to two years.
The self-funded positions will engage in or directly support missions, church planting, collegiate ministry or evangelism, in cooperating partnership with a church, association or organization.
Jason Stewart, KBC worship and music consultant, proposed that because of limited storage space following the KBC’s recent restructuring, its music library be gifted to Campbellsville University for oversight and management. The large collection of anthems (528 titles) and orchestrations (233 titles) have been used by KBC all-state choirs and chorales.
KBC Finance and Business Services Team Leader Lowell Ashby reported that Kentucky Baptists crossed a historic milestone in Cooperative Program giving in August, exceeding $750 million in total giving since its inception in 1925. (WR)
Story by Todd Deaton, editor, Western Recorder