Louisville—In 2016, Kentucky Baptists celebrated high marks in Cooperative Program giving, touted the first pro-life bill enacted in Kentucky in more than a decade, had a role in selecting the next National WMU director, and gathered at the state capitol to hear Franklin Graham speak.
Among the top Baptist headlines for the commonwealth this past year were:
First pro-life bill enacted in Kentucky in 12 years— As soon as it arrived in his office, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed the amendment to the state’s informed consent law, giving women and doctors the option of consulting in person or by video conference. The measure—the first pro-life bill in 12 years—requires women seeking abortions to be informed of medical risks and benefits at least 24-hours prior to a procedure.
Kentucky Disaster Relief volunteers win national awards—Keith Stinson, a member of First Baptist Church of Richmond, received a Distinguished Service Award for his work in 2015 disaster responses. Karen Smith, a member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, received a Phillips Award, which recognizes individuals who exemplify Christ during crisis and their service to others.
Bolton to lead search for National WMU director—National WMU President Linda Cooper, of Bowling Green, named a search committee to select the SBC auxiliary’s next executive director of WMU, and she asked Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky WMU, to serve as its chairperson. Wanda Lee, executive director since 2000, announced her retirement in January.
Floyd County resident named Ky. Baptists’ Missionary of Year—John Morris, of McDowell, executive director of God’s Appalachian Partnership, was chosen has the 2016 Missionary of the Year by the state convention. In the past two years, the ministry has seen 58 professions of faith.
South Africans delve into disaster relief with KBC, BGR guidance—Baptist Global Response helped the Baptist Union of Southern Africa begin a disaster relief ministry by forging a relationship between the union and Kentucky Baptists. KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood and Disaster Relief Director Coy Webb, spent a week in Cape Town, South Africa, training leaders.
Crossings chooses new leader—Jeff Dalrymple, vice president of hospitality services at Southern Seminary, was selected to lead Crossings Ministries, the KBC’s youth outreach ministry that administrates summer camps at Cedarmore and Jonathan Creek.
Graham: ’Running a campaign for God’ —An estimated 5,800 people gathered on the state capitol lawn on May 4 to pray together and hear Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Association. The rally in Frankfort, part of Graham’s “Decision America” tour, was his 21st stop on a tour of all 50 states.
More than 100,000 Kentucky Baptist involved in missions—Kentucky Baptist proved they’re willing to do their part for the cause of Christ, said Eric Allen, the KBC’s missions mobilization leader. The total number of Kentucky Baptists involved in mission projects reached 105,979 in 2015, up from 99,622 the previous year, a 6 percent increase, based on data from the Annual Church Profile.
103 make decisions at Louisville archery tournaments—Sandwiched between two national archery tournaments at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center, the “Engage!” Youth Evangelism Conference attracted more than 400 people with Christian illusionist Brock Gill.
KBC’s Smith to lead Mid-Atlantic Baptists—Convention President Kevin Smith was unanimously elected as executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network (Maryland-Delaware). Smith, assistant professor at Southern Seminary and teaching pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, made history last November when he became the first African American to serve as KBC president.
After W.Va. flooding, Baptist DR aiding recovery—Yellow hard hats and shirts could be seen this summer working in eight West Virginia counties—attire donned by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. In late June, torrential rains caused flooding that claimed at least 24 lives and more than 200 homes.
Bowling Green church still ’place for all people’ after man stabs father—A Bowling Green man was arrested after allegedly attacking his father with a knife during a Sunday service at Hillvue Heights Baptist Church in August. The church’s co-lead pastor, Jamie Ward, however, encouraged the congregation to remain “a church for all people.”
Katrina-like disaster deployment underway—An estimated 5,100 disaster relief volunteers from 23 state conventions, include Kentucky, were deployed following historic flooding in Louisiana. An estimated 61,000 homes and at least 75 churches were lost or damaged.
Kentucky Baptist set records in CP, missions giving—Kentucky Baptist churches far exceeded projections for the KBC fiscal year, giving more than $22.3 million through the Cooperative Program, surpassing the goal by more than $1 million. They also contributed $8.9 million through the Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong and Eliza Broadus mission offerings. “Seeing such a significant jump in the year-end totals is truly remarkable,” said Chitwood. “Kentucky Baptists refuse to sit silently by when multitudes of people here at home and abroad desperately need the gospel.”
Kentucky convention to hotels: Help fight human trafficking—The state convention will not do business with hotels that fail to train employees to recognize and report human trafficking, Chitwood announced in a September letter to potential vendors. In November, messengers to the KBC annual meeting adopted a resolution denouncing human trafficking, which ensnares about 27 million people worldwide.
Kentucky DR, Florida church unite to help hurricane victims—Kentucky Baptist DR trucks rolled into the parking lot of North Jacksonville Baptist Church after Hurricane Matthew. “As part of a host site, you get to witness Jesus’ love in action through what the KBDR folks are doing,” remarked the church’s associate pastor. “And they’re not just cooking. They’re handing out tracts with our church’s name on it. They are sharing the gospel while serving areas of need.”
Kentucky team brings food to drought-stricken Lesotho—Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief spent 10 days in October delivering food to those in need amidst the drought and subsequent famine in Lesotho. The four-member team was the third sent this year to assist IMB missionaries there.
Kentucky Baptist boost CP budget goal by half million, denounce human trafficking—Meeting at Florence Baptist Church, messengers approved a $500,000 increase to the state convention’s Cooperative Program budget on the heels of KBC churches far exceeding projections for the previous fiscal year. Actual CP receipts totaled $22,314,362, leading convention-goers to set the 2017-18 mark at $22 million. (WR)