Why does the Kentucky Baptist Convention still exist?

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LOGOCOLRIn my last article, I recounted the rich history of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the extensive role the KBC played in the history and development of the Southern Baptist Convention. While we are grateful for our history, why does the KBC still exist today?

The KBC still exists today for the same reason it came into existence: Baptist churches in Kentucky created the state convention as a strategic part of their cooperative missions strategy, and still consider it to be so. We acknowledge the reason the KBC exists in our mission statement, which reads: “The Kentucky Baptist Convention: Created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.”

Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Director John Yeats notes that “churches assign to state conventions … functions that are more than what 99 percent of churches can do.” I would go one count further and suggest that the comprehensive functions of state conventions are more than what any single church can do.

Am I suggesting every church needs the state convention? You bet I am! For when a church chooses not to affiliate with and participate in the life of a state convention, there are functions the church could and, in most cases, should be carrying out that they simply aren’t carrying out, at least not in an effective and efficient manner.

For example, I believe every local church should be doing all it can do to promote a pro-life agenda and a religious liberty agenda in society and government. But a single church has very little impact, particularly upon the decisions of state government. Working together through the KBC, however, our 2,400 churches are able to address sanctity of life and religious liberty issues, as well as issues like casino gambling and marijuana legalization, in meaningful and productive ways that allow us to be a significant force for righteousness in Kentucky. That is just one example, among many, of why the Kentucky Baptist Convention still exists today.

Church planting is another great example. While we believe and affirm the biblical model of church planting – i.e., churches planting churches – most churches being planted today in Kentucky are successful not only because of a mother church giving them birth, but also because of the 2,400 churches working together through the KBC to help fund the plants and train the planters. When it comes to small churches – and most SBC churches are still small churches – the old adage, “We can do more together,” is certainly true in the arena of church planting. Most of our churches would struggle greatly to birth a new church on their own but, working together, what may seem impossible becomes very possible. The KBC helps churches plant churches in Kentucky.

There is, in fact, a long list of ministries and mission work coordinated at the state convention level that is vital to the Kingdom: orphan care, evangelistic work on state and university campuses, legislative initiatives, church revitalization and strengthening, church planting, and disaster relief ministries are but a few examples.

In these ministries and many others, God continues to bless and use the churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention!

Posted in Church Planting, Churches, Collegiate Ministries, Culture, Disaster Relief, Evangelism, Kentucky Baptist Convention, Missions, Public Affairs, Religious Liberty, Southern Baptist Convention | 1 Response

KBC’s rich history uniquely entwined with that of the SBC

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SymposiumIn September, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on the future of state conventions hosted by Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary during a symposium on the past, present, and future of the Southern Baptist Convention. Any responsible discussion about the future must begin with an acknowledgement and right understanding of our past, for the future of denominational work is inextricably tied to the past. What is the history of the state convention as a denominational structure?

Interestingly, the history of the Southern Baptist Convention is inseparable not only from the history of state conventions but, specifically, the history of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Kentucky Baptists created our state convention in 1837, some eight years before the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845.

Of course, Kentucky was home to Baptist work long before the KBC was organized. The first evangelical church organized west of the Alleghenies was Severns Valley in Elizabethtown, founded June 18, 1781. The first association started west of the Alleghenies is Elkhorn, now known as the Central Kentucky Network of Baptists, organized Sept. 30, 1785. Kevin Ezell, a Kentucky native who now presides over the North American Mission Board, would be pleased to know – if he doesn’t already – that the idea for the plan of the American Baptist Home Mission Society was developed in Kentucky by John Mason Peck and Jonathan Going at Shelbyville in September 1831.

The idea of the Cooperative Program also originated in Kentucky. On Nov. 16, 1915, the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky met in Jellico, Tenn., at my home church about 100 yards from the Kentucky state line, and adopted a budget plan for the support of all denominational work in the state and across the country. This was a decade before the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting at Memphis in 1925, adopted the Cooperative Program. The Kentucky plan was fashioned after that of First Baptist Church of Murray beginning around 1900.

The Southern Baptist Convention of churches owes its existence and its primary funding mechanism to the state conventions of churches that preceded her. Kentucky Baptists enjoy a rich history very much intertwined with the history of the SBC, but they also enjoy a work still thriving today. In fact, the 2,400 churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention are planting more churches today than at any time on record. They are currently in a growth trend in baptisms, overall church membership, and in missions giving through the Cooperative Program and through each of the major missions offerings, including the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, and the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions.

We have a rich history. And we undertake our work today and in the future standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.

There is more to come on this topic.

Posted in Kentucky Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist Convention | Leave a comment

It’s time to increase our giving through the Cooperative Program

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By Ronnie Floyd

GivingIncreaseIncreasing your church’s financial giving through the Cooperative Program is like your church giving more money through your Ministry Budget. Just as it moves up your financial base of support in your church, it moves up the overall financial base of our Great Commission ministries of our Southern Baptist Convention.

The Answer is Through the Cooperative Program

Over ninety years ago, the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention became weary of continual pleas for support from the various ministries of our convention. This is why the Cooperative Program was born. It became the unified strategy for financial support of the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The easiest way for churches to consistently support the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention through the Cooperative Program is by inserting a regular line item in their budget. This provides the church consistency in their financial support and gives the ministries of our convention consistency in receiving funds.

This is a much better option than our SBC ministry leaders spending time making multiple appeals to our churches to support the work of our convention. It just makes sense for pastors, associational employees, state executives and their employees, and all Southern Baptist entity Presidents and employees to talk about one thing: The Cooperative Program.

A Humble Appeal for Increasing Your Church’s Financial Support Through the Cooperative Program 

If I were an employee of our Southern Baptist Convention or a missionary, I would rather the churches increase their giving through the Cooperative Program than having to continually raise my own financial support from multiple churches. The Cooperative Program is something every church can support financially regardless of the size of their membership. This is our agreed upon, unified, strategic financial plan; therefore, we do not need to minimize nor undermine it in any way. Through the Cooperative Program, each cause shares financial resources proportionately.

While some may want to designate monies or support only some of the ministries of the convention, this does not provide a healthy way to support the entire work of the Southern Baptist Convention. Blessing just one ministry at the exclusion of others eventually hurts other ministries of the Great Commission. There is not one pastor I know that appreciates a church member who only designates their contributions around the Ministry Budget of the church. This creates an unhealthy culture. Conversely, we believe in the autonomy of the local church and will honor and appreciate what you believe God wants your church to do.

Therefore, the financial priority of each of our churches should be to support the Cooperative Program. I want to appeal to each of our churches to increase your financial support through the Cooperative Program. As well, for the sake of the gospel, please do so sacrificially and do so as soon as possible. Increasing your church’s support through the Cooperative Program is the greatest way you can forward the work of reaching the world for Christ. Not one of us can adequately support any one cause, but all of us together can pray, plan, give, cooperate, and support every cause.

If You Are Concerned About Missionaries Coming Home

If you are concerned about some of our missionaries having to come home and the decrease of our missionary forces, the greatest thing your church can do to help turn it around is increase your giving through the Cooperative Program. It helps build our base of support financially, which in turn will increase our ability to reach the world.

Pastor and church leaders, please go to your finance committee, deacon body, church board, elders or whoever is key to leading in the decisions of your church financially and appeal to them to increase your church’s financial support through the Cooperative Program as soon as possible.

This helps us reach our states, our nation, and our world for Christ. This financial decision is a gospel decision. In order for us to push back on the lostness of our world by advancing the gospel, we must increase our giving through the Cooperative Program. If we are going to reach the nations, we need to increase our financial support through the Cooperative Program. If we are going to reach the nations, as well as help every gospel endeavor we do together within our own respective state and across America, we need to increase our financial support through the Cooperative Program.

I pray your church will join my church and other churches that are stepping up during this time and increasing our financial giving through the Cooperative Program. Thank you for considering this request.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd

Senior Pastor, Cross Church
President, Southern Baptist Convention

Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 51,094 churches and congregations nationwide.

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Clerk Kim Davis jailed for refusing to compromise her faith

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Today is a sad day for the American judicial system and Kentucky state government. Today, a county clerk was incarcerated by a judge for refusing to place her name on the marriage licenses of same sex couples.

Kim Davis has stated that her religious convictions prevent her from giving her official signature of approval for gay marriage. She had requested that Gov. Steve Beshear accommodate her conscience by excusing her from that duty. Beshear refused and told her to do her job or resign. This is the same governor who allowed Kentucky’s attorney general, Jack Conway, to refuse to defend Kentucky’s constitutional definition of marriage. Beshear spent the commonwealth’s money on private counsel to protect Conway’s religious convictions on gay marriage but refuses to allow other elected officials to use the county’s ink pens in order to protect Davis’ religious convictions. Conway, by the way, is now a gubernatorial candidate in the state.

In light of Beshear’s unwillingness to accommodate Davis’ faith, U.S. District Judge David Bunning has chosen not to fine Davis or request that Gov. Beshear call on the state legislature to impeach her or that Rowan County voters organize a recall referendum on her election. Rather, Bunning has chosen to throw Davis into jail.

Should Jack Conway have been jailed? Of course not. He should have been ordered to do his duty as an elected official and, if he refused, a due process should have unfolded to allow citizens of the commonwealth to decide if should continue to hold office. Should Davis be jailed? Of course not.

Yet, in the midst of what is quickly becoming of the most heated cultural debates since slavery, Judge Bunning has created a martyr and, at the same time, wrought a great injustice upon a public servant and a wife and mother of two. With countless alternatives to be explored and exhausted, Bunning has used his gavel to swat the proverbial gnat with a sledge hammer.

Where does this end? I honestly don’t know. If Davis was my wife and the mother of my children, I would ask that she respond to this great injustice by resigning her position and coming home to her family. She has defended her beliefs and, from what I have observed, taken her stand with gracious and God-honoring speech. She has made her case. She has done all that she can do.

As for the failure of Gov. Beshear to protect her freedom of conscience, unfortunately, his name won’t be on the ballot in November. But, once again, the people of Kentucky are learning the hard lesson that elections really do matter. In fact, freedom hangs in the balance.

Posted in Culture, Gay Marriage, Government, Public Affairs, Religious Liberty | Leave a comment

Kentucky already seeing impact of Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage

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People of faith across the United States are wondering how the 5-4 decision of the United States Supreme Court to redefine marriage will impact them. In Kentucky, we didn’t have to wait long to find out.

All of a sudden, volunteer chaplains reportedly have been turned away by Kentucky’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) unless they sign off on a document indicating they would never refer to homosexuality as “sinful.” This apparently new requirement is being linked to a DJJ policy on “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” adopted in April of 2014. That four page policy states, at one point, “DJJ staff, volunteers, interns, and contractors shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful, or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

These types of policies have become commonplace in government and corporate settings. But to begin to require people of faith to sign off on statements that compromise our religious convictions is sad for those desiring to volunteer their time in programs designed to help fellow citizens who, for whatever reason, have found themselves caught in the justice system. Sadder still is the reality that those who are in this terribly broken system will no longer have a chaplain to listen to them, counsel them, and pray with them. As I understand it, a Baptist chaplain can’t serve a Baptist kid unless that Baptist chaplain promises not to address sexual sin as sexual sin. The same would be true for Catholic or Muslim kids who could not have access to a chaplain who shares their religious beliefs because those chaplains are no longer welcomed.

This news comes at a time when Kentucky’s government services are being revealed as woefully inefficient and horribly dysfunctional. For example, the Louisville Courier-Journal recently reported on the woeful state of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The opening line announced, “State social service officials in northern Kentucky lost track of nearly 100 cases of alleged child abuse or neglect – some not assigned to workers for investigation and others languishing for months after social workers responsible for them resigned.” It continued with a host of quotes from present and past employees revealing enormous caseloads, epidemic employee turnover, and workers’ debilitating stress levels. As for the Cabinet’s handling of the myriad of problems, one person observed, “The Titanic is sinking and the cabinet is rearranging the deck chairs.”

Rest assured, the current state of the DJJ is no better. Louisville’s WHAS-11 News reported on that topic earlier this year. In that report, Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin stated, “No matter how horrible the crime is or if it’s a misdemeanor to say it’s a waste of the law enforcements time I’m probably not too far off base and I don’t think you’d find any officers across this state that would argue that point with me.” He went on to call the system “a joke.”

A mother all too familiar with the system said, “My child has 16 charges as a juvenile and is still getting chance after chance. Who does that? And then when he turns 18, I’m quite sure he’s going to think he can break the law and then he’s going be sent away for life because he wasn’t corrected as a child.”

In the midst of this disaster, and with a budget that has been slashed, the DJJ has found a way to rid itself of free help from those who are there for no other reason than to help broken kids put their lives back together. The great irony? The very belief system that has motivated us to volunteer our time for the betterment of our state and society is the belief system our state and society most fears. Chief McCubbin is right, the system is a joke.

Posted in Family, Gay Marriage, Government, Public Affairs | Leave a comment