Louisville—During its Dec. 8-9 meeting, the Mission Board of the Kentucky Baptist Convention approved retaining nearly $1 million in escrowed funds that had been earmarked for Campbellsville University and placed one of its campus ministry facilities up for sale.
In their organizational meeting for the coming year, they also heard reports from KBC Executive Director-Treasurer Paul Chitwood and from KBC ministry team directors and various agency, institution and auxiliary leaders.
The KBC’s business and finance committee recommended that allocations for Campbellsville University from the previous two years be retained until a settlement is reached concerning the Kentucky Baptist Building’s outer wall repair project, at which time the committee will recommend to the Mission Board how the funds will be distributed.
The action follows the recent move by Campbellsville’s trustees to elect 11 of its own board members on Oct. 28, bypassing approval by KBC messengers during their annual meetings. Campbellsville’s trustees had voted earlier to unilaterally terminate the covenant agreement and voluntarily surrender its Cooperative Program allocations.
In 2013-14, $191,918 was escrowed from funds previously allocated for Campbellsville University since the university no longer was adhering to its covenant agreement with the convention, according to the B&F committee’s report. An estimated $765,000 will be escrowed from Campbellsville allocation in 2014-15.
As a result of legal action filed by the convention in December 2011, a settlement is being sought on the costs and professional fees of repairing defects in the outer wall of the Kentucky Baptist Building in Louisville, committee chair Charles Frazier reported.
In May, the Mission Board approved up to $1.75 million from the State Mission Reserve Fund to be used to cover reconstruction of the building’s outer wall. Any reimbursements resulting from a legal settlement are to be deposited back into the reserve fund, after $200,000 is returned to a property insurance reserve fund which was drawn upon.
In other action, the Mission Board approved reallocating distribution of the Bethel Memorial Fund, which previously had been directed toward the KBC’s three universities. With Georgetown and Campbellsville no longer adhering to their covenant agreements, distribution of the Bethel funds needed to be changed, the B&F committee report stated.
Since the Bethel agreement called for funding Christian education at the college level, future distributions will be split between University of the Cumberlands and Clear Creek Bible College, with each receiving approximately $4,000 annually.
Campus property sale
The Mission Board also approved the sale of a building and property formerly used by Baptist Collegiate Ministry to Somerset Community College for $125,000.
Proceeds are to be used to further efforts by ministries to college students, KBC Collegiate Evangelism Strategist Brian Combs said. Specifically, funds could help provide more campus missionary interns, he added.
Somerset Community College is one of 16 schools in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
In other action, the Mission Board approved transferring the remainder of $36,700 in unspent budget funds and short term interest funds of $47,300, a total of $84,000, for distribution to various year-end mission board needs in 2014, including:
- $26,500 for repair and replacement of BCM facilities;
- $15,000 for computer software and equipment;
- $11,000 for executive office special projects and interns;
- $10,000 for ministers in need;
- $10,000 for HD equipment for KBC communications and media team;
- $5,000 for Shepherding the Shepherd conference;
- $5,000 for hosting a SBC church revitalization event in March 2015;
- $1,500 for staff wellness emphasis.
CP up for quarter
Financial contributions to the Cooperative Program by Kentucky Baptists reached their highest level in four years for the first quarter.
Total receipts for November were $1,413,958. Added to more than $1.9 million in September and $1.86 million in October, CP giving for the quarter was more than $23,000 ahead of the same period last year.
Lowell Ashby, leader of the KBC’s finance and business services team, said he was “very pleased” with CP receipts for the first three months of the fiscal year.
“We’re grateful that the economy has finally rebounded to the point that our churches have been able to raise their giving levels,” Ashby told members of the KBC administrative committee. “We were heartened by a recent report that shows Kentucky’s unemployment rate has dropped some 4.5 percentage points since the height of the recession five years ago.
“This is a strong start to the fiscal year,” he said. “We’re hopeful these strong levels of giving will continue.”
The Cooperative Program is the primary means through which nearly 750,000 Kentucky Baptists in 2,400 churches support the work of missionaries throughout the United States and around the world.
In his first address as the new KBC president, Tom James, pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green, spotlighted the Cooperative Program and what the sacrificial giving of Kentucky Baptists accomplishes all across the commonwealth.
Drawing upon the gospel story of four men laboring together to bring a sick man to Jesus, James said, “I believe the Cooperative Program was adopted to unite us as Southern Baptists in bringing sin-sick people to the Lord.”
Quoting Ecclesiastes 4:9, which reads, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their Labor,” he asked, “If that is true, how much more true is it for 16-plus million?” referring to the collective membership of Southern Baptist churches.
“If what the Bible says is true about two, how much more true is it for 47,000-plus churches?” he continued.
The biblical story of the four men who took their friend to Jesus is the story of the CP in Kentucky, he said.
“It is your story and mine,” James said. “It’s a story of bringing young, old, men, women, boys, girls to Jesus.” (WR)