Louisville—Cooperative ministry—along with biblical authority and the Baptist Faith and Message—are essential in uniting us as Kentucky Baptists, Kevin Smith, president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, told members of the Mission Board during a two-day meeting in Louisville Dec. 14-15.
“Cooperative Ministry just assumes I’m cooperating with people who are different from me. It assumes I want to work for the glory of Jesus Christ with brothers and sisters who are different from me,” Smith, the first African-American ever elected to the post, said.
Citing 1 Corinthians 12:6, Smith affirmed, “The variety, the diversity and the different personalities and expressions of Kentucky Baptist life are anchored in the person and work of who Jesus is.”
Smith reminded the more than 100-member board, mostly pastors from across the state, “God has placed each part of the body just as He wants it. So all of the diversity and quirkiness and individuality and special cultural and regional considerations … has been set according to the sovereign will of God.
“That allows us in this room to represent broadly Kentucky Baptists,” he said emphasizing the different circumstances in which church plants, historical churches, urban or rural congregations find themselves.
“This allows us to realize, ‘Hey, I’m a voice in this setting of Baptist life, but there are also a lot of voices in this setting,” he explained, noting that different perspectives allow one to see things from other angles and contexts.
To function where God has placed individuals and churches in the body, two things should be eliminated: “envy and competition,” he emphasized, referencing 1 Corinthians 12:18.
“You are in the commonwealth of Kentucky by the sovereign determination of God,” Smith concluded. “The body works together for one common function. As we begin our work, may we remember that we are part of a body.”
Mission Board members were introduced to many of the new and ongoing ministries designed to help Kentucky Baptist churches grow, disciple and share the gospel. They also heard reports about good work being accomplished through Kentucky Baptist agencies and institutions.
The only official business by the Mission Board was to approve the distribution of $250,000 in unspent budget short-term interest funds to various ministry areas, including $50,000 that will be used to help start churches. Other allocations included technical upgrades, partnership missions and repairs to campus ministries facilities. (WR)
Robin Cornetet, of KBC Communications, contributed to this story.