In 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!