Typically agency and institution leaders are invited to speak at only a few associational meetings each year, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to thank Baptists across their state for their generous support of the Cooperative Program this year. You surpassed last year’s total by more than $430,000, tallying the highest amount in three years: $21,837,100. But just as noteworthy as your giving is your sacrificial service to the Lord and his church throughout the year.
While indeed sad, do not let the news coming out of our International Mission Board of their decision to pull back 600 to 800 personnel dishearten you. Kentucky Baptists gave the most they ever have to share the gospel around the world—over $10 million of CP gifts given from Kentucky Baptists went to SBC causes, of which the IMB is the primary recipient. This deserves to be celebrated. In addition to excelling in CP giving, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering gifts from Kentucky Baptist churches were up 2.3 percent, exceeding $5.1 million. On behalf of each of our missionaries who are faithfully serving the Lord, some working in very dark and dangerous places: Thank you!
Kentucky Baptists also realize that loving your neighbor doesn’t just mean sharing the good news with someone on the other side of the globe, but also sharing it with someone across the street, across town, across the state and across the nation. To that end, you gave more than $2.28 million, another big boost of 2.3 percent, to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. For our home missionaries and our associational missionaries who bring a word of hope and healing to hungry and hurting families in our communities: Thank you!
We would be remiss not to express our gratitude to Joy Bolton and the many dedicated members of Woman’s Missionary Union in our churches, who also encourage our people year after year to support and strengthen missions work across our state. Many benevolent and outreach ministries in our associations are dependent upon their efforts, and Kentucky Baptists responded again with $1.22 million, for the second-highest Eliza Broadus Offering on record. Thank you!
Because of you, Coy Webb and an army of disaster relief volunteers are able to assist those whose homes and livelihoods have been devastated by tornadoes, floods, fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters. To these victims, they are the face of Christ, praying with them as they grieve their losses, providing hope as they pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives, and sharing the good news by giving Bibles to them. Thank you!
Because of you, Brian Combs and our campus ministers who serve at our state’s universities are able to engage our students and internationals with the gospel. Having a daughter who is a recent graduate and a son who is now a college freshman, I have become increasingly appreciative of the tremendous work these committed ministers do in keeping kids connected to Christ and our churches. Thank you!
Because of you, Alan Witham and a capable team of regional consultants are able to guide numerous congregations across the state in revitalization efforts, providing much needed encouragement to pastors and church leaders in fostering spiritual and numerical growth. Thank you!
Because of you, David Melber and a crew of collegiate counselors are able to touch the lives of more than 13,000 children at Crossing camps, leading nearly 850 this year alone to make decisions for Christ. Not only did our children encounter the gospel message at Jonathan Creek and Cedarmore, they were encouraged to become involved in missions. This summer Crossings partnered with the International Mission Board in raising $240,000 for sending and supporting Latin American missionaries.
Because of you, Dale Suttles and a loving staff at Sunrise Children’s Service are able to provide a place of refuge, hope and healing for as many as 700 children whose lives have been scared by physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Thank you!
All this and more, however, would not be possible without the 2,400 pastors and faithful church leaders across our state convention, lifting up the Lord and encouraging His people each week. They spend countless hours in sermon and lesson preparation, discipling others, visiting the sick, and instilling a passion in our souls for sharing the gospel. Thank you!
As your editor, I appreciate those pastors who understand the importance of encouraging their church members to read the Western Recorder, allowing us to help Kentucky Baptists see the tremendous needs of a lost world waiting just beyond their church steps and to know how our cooperative efforts are furthering kingdom work. “For we are laborers together with God …” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Thank you!