Tell Your Story

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Tell-Your-Story.logoOn the heels of our annual meeting celebration in Bowling Green, I continue to hear many positive comments and compliments about the “Tell Your Story” theme and the testimonies shared by those who lead Kentucky Baptists and our agencies and institutions. The testimonies set the tone of the annual meeting and kept us focused on celebrating and sharing God’s work in our lives.

We continue to see people get on the TYS bandwagon as a way of sharing the gospel story that those who are lost might be saved. As an update on this effort, let me share with you that, as of Dec. 10, we had 280 stories posted on the tellyourstory.today website. From Nov. 10 through Dec. 10, we counted more than 30,000 visitors to the site. Just in the past 10 days, visitors from nine different countries listened to approximately 2,500 stories.

The international witnessing opportunity provided by the TYS website should not be overlooked, especially as a gospel presence is being systematically removed in places like Syria and Iraq.

A recent report on the ongoing brutal slaughter of Christians in Iraq revealed an unimaginable brutality. In one reported incident, four Christian children under the age of 15 were called upon by ISIS to declare their allegiance to Mohammed. Instead, they declared their love for Jesus. The Jihadists responded by cutting off the heads of those children. In another reported incident, a Christian father was assured that his children would be decapitated if he refused to swear allegiance to Mohammed. He had every reason to believe the jihadists would do as they promised, so, to save the lives of his children, he declared his allegiance to the false prophet. He then called his pastor to ask if Jesus would forgive him. His pastor assured him of the love and grace of the Savior.

Kentucky Baptists continue to make sacrifices to get more resources to our overseas missionaries. TYS allows us to share not only our resources but our stories with the nations, as well as with our neighbors here at home.

Let me encourage you to go to www.tellyourstory.today and record your story. In 2-3 minutes, share how you came to Christ. A brief but clear presentation of the gospel will be tagged onto the end of your story so that anyone who listens will not only know how you were saved but also understand how they can be saved. Within a day or so of recording your story, you will receive a text message letting you know it has been posted. You will also receive the web address so you can share it as you invite people to listen to your story.

If you want to hear my story, go to bit.ly/paulcky1.

Posted in Evangelism, Tell Your Story | Leave a comment

International missions challenge starts at home

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LMCO graphicThe Week of Prayer for International Missions was an opportunity for us to reflect upon the need for Christ to be preached among the nations. With billions of people remaining in the grasp of idol worship and unbelief, the call to make known the life-giving message of the gospel must be heard. “Go ye therefore!” declares the one who suffered for the sins of the world. He who wills that none be lost has charged those who have been found to pursue any who yet stand in need of His mercies.

While some of us may hear the call to permanently move to foreign fields, those of us who have not can still take advantage of opportunities to serve alongside our career missionaries through volunteer mission trips. And ALL of us can do our part to support God’s missionaries with our prayers and offerings.

Among the Southern Baptist family, Kentucky Baptists have led the way in our giving to get the gospel to the ends of the earth. Only the new Southern Baptists of Texas Convention sends a higher percentage of Cooperative Program gifts to the International Mission Board than the Kentucky Baptist Convention. The CP funds many ministries in Kentucky and North America, but 5 million CP dollars now make it to the IMB from Kentucky. In addition to CP support, Kentucky Baptists give approximately $5 million more to the IMB through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Over the years, Kentucky Baptists have given generously to support our IMB missionaries. Yet, in spite of our generosity, the growing cost of missionary support and the lack of sufficient growth in giving finds the IMB missionary count down nearly 1,000 from where it was five years ago.

How can this problem be fixed? Here is a simple plan for Kentucky Baptists to get another 100 missionaries to the foreign fields.

First, if every KBC church giving less than 10 percent through the CP increased its giving to 10 percent, we would provide for another 40 IMB missionaries, not to mention the additional funds that would be available to help reach Kentucky and North America for Christ.

Then, if every KBC church increased its giving to Lottie Moon by $1,000, another 60 missionaries could be serving through IMB. Last year, the average KBC church gave approximately $2,000 to Lottie. Keep in mind that some of our churches are giving tens of thousands while others give nothing. Yet, if all 2,400 churches send $1,000 more, regardless of the amount of last year’s contribution, 60 more workers can be sent out to the harvest fields.

Paul said of the Macedonian believers, “They gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means” (2 Corinthians 8:3). My prayer is that Kentucky Baptists will exhibit that same kind of generosity.

Posted in Cooperative Program, International Mission Board, Kentucky Woman's Missionary Union, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Missions, Southern Baptist Convention | Leave a comment

THE PURGE

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Guest post by Curtis Woods, Associate Executive Director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention

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The movie entitled “The Purge” is not that farfetched in light of human depravity. For those who don’t know, the film’s theme centers on a citywide decree that all crime, no matter how grotesque, would be forgiven for a 24-hour period.

In the film, common citizens wielded “lawful swords” on behalf of the government. They had permission to destroy life without consequences. Unfortunately, in this fiction, the premise for taking life stands against reason. In the film, governmental authorities argued from a distorted philosophical presupposition. Namely, the film depicts authorities who desire to balance good with evil—a Hollywood “Yin and Yang” of sorts. As such, people all over the city became hunter or hunted, victimizers or victims.

When chaos becomes commonplace, you destroy the idea of a commonwealth. No one is safe.

Some might think that victimizers experience safety when they destroy the imago Dei or create havoc in society and face no immediate, visible consequences. They are wrong. Since the first sin in the garden (Genesis 3) and the subsequent sin of murder (Genesis 4), God declares judgment on the shedding of blood because mayhem disrupts the fabric of society.

In the biblical scenario, we are certain that the blood of Abel, which cried out for vengeance from the ground, was “innocent.” But, in the case of Michael Brown, I am not sure of the extent of his innocence or guilt. All I know is an Anglo man in authority used his power to take African-American life. And, in my opinion, that is the rub.

We are witnessing anger towards what some envision as an unlawful use of authority.

Tragically, most who are crying out for justice are not as vehement when they hear the ubiquitous cries for justice from black sons and daughters who were slain at the hands of other blacks. They neglect the timeless admonishment of Arnold Adoff, in his Black on Black, to exercise cultural agency in such a way that life is honored from the cradle to the grave. All life is precious. In fact, some erroneously think another panel discussion, conference, or series of blog posts will curtail this malady. It will not.

History reveals that those who truly change society do it life-on-life.

After watching the aftermath of the Michael Brown verdict in Ferguson, I thought, “We are not as far removed from ‘The Purge’ as some might think.”

It seems clear that the police officers were given a standing order to quarter the violence to a specific geographic location. Only when the violence escalated to the point where the centripetal force of mob rule began to sweep businesses like a herd of Zombies did the police begin to reestablish order. I watched city leaders or law-givers allow law-breakers to engage in criminal activity without consequences. Was this sanctioned anarchy? I think so.

Which raises the question, why did authorities sheath the sword in this case but wield the sword so hastily against Michael Brown?

I do not know. Neither do you. We are clueless. We cannot act as judge and jury.

What we can do is admit that we do not live in a post-racial society. The ubiquitous pain of racism is evident in the pedagogy of the oppressed even though the oppressed readily become oppressors once the tide turns in their favor. We saw that last night in Ferguson.

Under the cloak of darkness, the mob had permission to “Purge” a small area. Neither the mob nor the police modeled virtue. On both sides, there was “no justice and no peace.”
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Posted in Culture, Multiethnic ministry, Race Relations | 10 Responses

Part 2 of the Executive Director’s Annual Report

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Chitwood annual meeting 2The KBC Communications Team and Public Affairs Committee help churches engage pressing cultural and social issues. For example, their appeal to Kentucky Baptists to make their voices heard during the commonwealth’s General Assembly helped keep casinos out of Kentucky. We expect to confront the issue again next year as the gambling industry will not give up this fight while it has a sworn ally in the governor’s mansion. We are fighting a good fight and, so far, have the upper hand. Let us not grow weary in well doing.

Another pressing matter may prove to be the defining cultural issue of our time. The gay-marriage and homosexual agenda is not a benign cause we can afford to ignore. In the name of equal rights, Christians are having their rights trampled. Christian business owners are being fined, forced out of business, and dragged into the courts. Houston’s sermon subpoenas have been dropped for now, but government’s intolerance of a biblical worldview continues to grow. The KBC’s Protecting Biblical Marriage Conference resulted in a collection of free resources now available on the KBC website. These resources include sample bylaws and building-use policies intended to protect the local church from frivolous lawsuits and baseless discrimination charges.

The KBC Missions Mobilization Team, under the leadership of Eric Allen, encourages churches to adopt an Acts 1:8 missions strategy and helps connect them to missions opportunities. A record number of 106,687 Kentucky Baptists participated in missions projects and mission trips (according to ACP data) last year. Efforts of our 105 self-funded missionaries in Kentucky and the 23,314 short-term volunteers who came to serve alongside them yielded more than 2,000 professions of faith, resulting in 708 baptisms. Working in places like flooded areas of Detroit and war-torn areas like Sudan, KBC Disaster Relief teams conducted nearly one-third of the national Southern Baptist Disaster Relief response ministry visits this year and recorded more than 20 percent of the total decisions for Christ.

Members of the KBC Church Consulting and Revitalization Team, under the leadership of Steve Rice, drove more than 300,000 ministry miles across Kentucky to carry out their assignment of helping churches. The team is currently working with 500 different churches and 1,100 different people each month, helping them reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.

The KBC Evangelism, Church Planting and Collegiate Ministry Team, through initiatives like “Tell Your Story” and “RISK: Bowling Green,” is also helping churches reach Kentucky. The team has reported an unprecedented number of professions of faith on university campuses and expects a record number of new church plants this year.

These are just a few highlights from the cooperative work of our churches. Might God continue to use us to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ!

Posted in Annual Meeting | Leave a comment

Part 1 of the Executive Director’s Annual Report

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Chitwood annual meetingOne of the highlights of our annual meeting this year was hearing the testimonies of God’s saving work in the lives of those who lead Kentucky Baptists and our agencies and institutions. I pray that hearing those stories will motivate each of us to share the glorious story of what God has done in our lives to bring us to Himself. And we are praying God will use our stories to convict the lost of their sin and convince them of their need for a Savior. We have also created a web tool to help you share your story with the website www.TellYourStory.today. As an example of how it works, you can listen to my story at www.tellyourstory.today/stories/paul-c-from-shelbyville-kentucky.

Another very exciting way God is using Kentucky Baptists to take the gospel to the lost is through the Bucket Project with Baptist Global Response. To those who have been helping on this project, THANK YOU! Our goal for collecting buckets at the annual meeting was 800. Kentucky Baptists responded with 1,458 buckets! At an estimated value of $85 each, that is $124,000 for missions. Let me encourage you to help spread the word about BGR to every Kentucky Baptist. When you are compelled to give a financial gift to help relieve suffering during natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, or famines, or to help those who are living in refugee camps due to war or dying from the AIDS virus, make your donation to BGR. You can do that at goBGR.org, or simply send the gifts to the KBC and mark them for BGR. While there are a lot of relief agencies out there, BGR is ours and the work of BGR is carried on with this goal: not just to do good to those who are suffering, but to also share the good news of eternal life.

With regard to spreading the word, when it comes to the words of the gospel, our KBC Communications Team, under the leadership of Roger Alford, has created another tool for you. We have TV ads that can be customized to provide an invitation to worship at your church or the churches of your association. If I had a nickel for every time I have heard someone say something like, “Why don’t we have any TV commercials like the Mormons?” I could probably pay for these commercial to run day and night for a full year. I don’t have those nickels, but now you can have the commercials free of charge. All you will need to do is pay for the airtime with your local cable provider. Contact Roger at roger.alford@kybaptist.org if you would like to use this resource.

Posted in Annual Meeting, Kentucky Baptist Convention | Leave a comment
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