As conventions go, the recent one in Florence was a quiet, harmonious one, yielding few surprises. The overall spirit was almost celebratory. In fact, one could sum it up in three words: a “Big Thank You.”
No motions were introduced in either the morning or afternoon business sessions. All resolutions went off smoothly—adopted without discussion or amendments. A $500,000 increase in the convention budget was approved without even a bat of an eye. And, all three officers ran unopposed, affording Wilma Simmons, recording secretary, the opportunity to cast a single vote on behalf of approximately 750 convention messengers.
That is not to say that nothing happened in Florence of great significance. Every convention has a unique timbre. The Florence annual meeting was no exception. Its proceedings exuded a distinct impression of thankfulness.
In 2016, the Kentucky Baptist Convention surpassed its Cooperative Program budget projections for the first time in a decade. Kentucky Baptists didn’t just meet the goal of $21.25 million, they exceeded it by $1 million. That’s something to be celebrated! It’s also a blessing for which we should give thanks to God.
Throughout this year’s meeting, each of the KBC agency and institution leaders thanked Kentucky Baptists for supporting their ministries. The brief video snippets of the organizations’ leaders were a poignant reminder that through the Cooperative Program, Kentucky Baptists are supporting more than national and international missionaries; they also are touching and changing thousands of lives here in the commonwealth. In case you missed it, here is some of what they had to say:
“WMU challenges followers of Christ to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God,” said Joy Bolton, of Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union, listing a myriad of organizational programs and state and national offering promotions. “Kentucky WMU helps churches learn, pray, give, go and send people on mission, including students and their leaders.”
“The Cooperative Program is essential in everything we do. You are changing lives every day, and you have no idea what a difference it makes,” said Dale Suttles, of Sunrise Children’s Home. “Through your generous donations to the Cooperative Program, you make our ministries (to children and their hurting families) possible.”
“Your generous gifts to the Cooperative Program enable the Western Recorder to continue faithfully telling the stories of how God is at work among the churches, the associations and the state convention,” we reminded messengers. “Western Recorder exists to inform, inspire, encourage and enliven Kentucky Baptists as they engage in missions and ministry.”
“Without the Cooperative Program many of our students from Kentucky to the Far East would not be able to attend at Oneida,” said Larry Gritton. “Every dollar matters, and each dollar plays a vital role in helping us to change young lives that will one day engage and change the culture for Christ both at home and abroad.”
“We appreciate the opportunity that you give us to provide a quality education for our students who come from all walks of life,” said Larry Cockrum, of the University of the Cumberlands, which recently topped 7,000 students.
“Through the financial funding support of the Cooperative Program, the Kentucky Baptist Foundation is enabled to provide, at no cost, state stewardship seminars in the churches to help members become generous givers through their estate plans,” said Richard Carnes, of the Baptist Foundation.
“With the help of Kentucky Baptists, we are privileged to host over 14,000 students this summer,” said Jeff Dalrymple, of Crossings Ministries. “I’m happy to report that every one of these students has heard the Bible taught, the gospel proclaimed, and Christ exalted.
“Your support of the Cooperative Program is an investment in kingdom work,” said Donnie Fox, of Clear Creek Baptist Bible Institute. “When you give to the Cooperative Program, you are enabling us to fulfill our mission that God gave us 90 years ago, and that is, to provide ministry training for those whom God has called to Christian service.
Fittingly, in expressing the appreciation of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, messengers in Florence approved a resolution commending pastors for serving faithfully, courageously and sacrificially in the face of a culture that has become increasingly hostile to the gospel. The resolution, in part, also praises the pastors for continuing to lead their churches to work cooperatively with other congregations across the state and nation in seeking to reach the lost and through increasing their giving through the Cooperative Program.
And, because of this, we say, “Thank You!”