From the rainforests of the Amazon basin to the hills of Kentucky, the new evangelism team leader for the Kentucky Baptist Convention is no stranger to being on the front lines. Rob Patterson was named to the position at the KBC Mission Board meeting in Louisville on Dec. 10. The position was vacated by Todd Gray, who was named the KBC’s executive director-treasurer in late July.
Patterson has served since 2017 as a KBC regional consultant in north central Kentucky serving churches from Erlanger to Richmond. Prior to joining the KBC, he served in a number of roles that Gray believes has prepared him for this new challenge.
“Rob has served as a church pastor, an IMB missionary, an executive pastor, a student pastor and a regional consultant with KBC. He is highly evangelistic, seeking to share Jesus daily, and he has led in evangelism in the places he has served,” Gray said.
Patterson says it’s a challenge that has brought a surprising emotion to his family. Patterson said, “As my wife, Jenny, and I were praying over the opportunity we found ourselves laughing with incredulous joy. What an incredible privilege to be at the front lines of evangelism, leading a team devoted to encouraging and equipping Kentucky Baptists to keep sharing the greatest news ever!”
Patterson will move to the role in January 2020. David Stokes, chair of the KBC’s Administrative Committee, has worked closely with Patterson over the last few years. A portion of Patterson’s territory as regional consultant covers the area where Stokes is the associational mission strategist for the Central Kentucky Network of Baptists.
“Rob has told me on numerous occasions of the number of pastors he’s talked to about setting aside time to share the gospel and encourage their churches to do the same,” Stokes said.
One of the primary responsibilities on Patterson’s plate is getting the gospel to every home in Kentucky. “He will be asked to help us develop a statewide evangelistic campaign to help Kentucky Baptists get the gospel to all of the 1.7 million homes in the commonwealth,” Gray said.
Patterson says he grateful for the evangelism team already assembled and he’s looking forward to utilizing their strengths and experience.
“Under Dr. Gray’s leadership the team is covering the state, providing churches and associations practical tools for equipping Kentucky Baptists. There is momentum for what could be a historic mobilization to reach Kentucky for Christ.”
He says he also hopes to focus on GenZ, people born since the early 2000s. “We want to help churches more effectively engage GenZ with the gospel. The numbers we are seeing are disturbing, but the book is still being written. The gospel is still powerful to save regardless of what is happening in the culture. Helping churches equip this generation as evangelistic disciple makers must become a priority.”
He believes helping churches plant churches is a key in reaching those far from Christ. “We desperately need to be planting more churches to effectively reach the growing population of Kentucky,” said Patterson.
He plans to continue developing a church planting pipeline among KBC churches. “Churches plant churches. By cooperating together, we can strengthen the networking of Kentucky Baptist churches with a reproducing DNA to build a statewide pathway of identifying, assessing, equipping and supporting church planters,” he said.
A 2010 study revealed that less than 20% of Kentucky’s population attends a church service on any given Sunday. Patterson knows the work ahead will be challenging as the culture is on a trajectory away from the gospel. However, Gray said he believes Patterson is God’s man to lead the KBC’s evangelistic efforts.
“He has a passion for helping churches and pastors reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. Rob Patterson will show up for work every day looking for ways to utilize the team and the resources entrusted to him to make an impact on the lostness in Kentucky.”
Brandon Porter is director of communications for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.