The Kentucky Baptist Convention, formerly known as The General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, began in 1837 and was made up of 57 members – 20 ordained preachers, one licensed preacher and 36 private church members. They organized their efforts around four priorities – to encourage churches to financially support their pastors, to foster the education of ministers and church members, to distribute Bibles among the people and to support foreign missions.
Today the Kentucky Baptist Convention is made up of 2,351 unique and diverse congregations partnering together in ministry and missions and giving more than $21,000,000 annually to fund ministry and mission work at home and around the world. We are unified around a mission statement that states, “The Kentucky Baptist Convention was created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.”
In the past seven years, the Lord used the giftedness and resolve of Dr. Paul Chitwood, along with many other Kentucky Baptist leaders across our convention, to renew and strengthen the work of Kentucky Baptists. Dr. Chitwood helped us to:
• Right-size the Mission Board staff
• Send more Cooperative Program receipts on to the larger work of the SBC
• Adjust the KBC budget to reflect current giving practices
• Align the Mission Board staff under the KBC mission statement
Following Dr. Chitwood’s transition to become president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Curtis Woods and Jim Donnell were chosen to serve as co-Interim executive director-treasurers for the KBC. Curtis and Jim helped us during the interim to maintain momentum, minister to our churches and remain focused on our mission of helping churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.
On Aug. 1, I assumed the role of the 29th executive director-treasurer for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. While I did not originally aspire to this position, I could not be more excited about serving Jesus and serving Kentucky Baptists in this role. To be successful in this position I will need much prayer from Kentucky Baptists. In the days, weeks, months and years ahead, please consider praying the following for me:
1. Pray for wisdom. Psalm 32:8 (King James translation of the Bible) reads, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Please pray that God will let me see what I need to see in order to lead well.
2.Pray for favor. No one can serve well as the executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention without the support of Kentucky Baptists. Pray that I can connect well with Kentucky Baptists and enjoy strong Christian relationships across the convention.
3. Pray for discernment. There are more opportunities available today for ministry and missions than possibly ever before. Pray that I can discern the Lord’s best when it comes to leading our Mission Board staff.
4. Pray for protection. Jesus said in the first part of John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” The devil seeks to oppose God’s work, and God’s workers, at every turn. Please pray for protection for me and my family from the evil one.
5. Pray for focus. My great desire in the assignment God has given is to lead our convention to have an evangelistic impact in Kentucky.
Whether through the work of our ongoing evangelism initiatives, or creating an effort to mobilize Kentucky Baptists to get the gospel to each of the 1.7 million homes in our state, or by elevating the work of the evangelist, or in helping our outstanding KBC staff become more intentionally evangelistic, it will be a challenge to remain focused on the task at hand. Please pray for me that I can have a laser focus to impact our state evangelistically.
I am grateful for the prayers and support of Kentucky Baptists. My own heartfelt prayer is this: “May the best days of our convention be out in front of us and not behind us.” Thank you for allowing me to serve our convention of churches as we partner together to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.
Todd Gray is the executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
*Kentucky Baptist History statement was found in The Baptist History Homepage.