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.

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KBC President Chip Hutcheson’s Report on Campbellsville University

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During the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s 2014 Annual Meeting, convention messengers voted to hear a report on Campbellsville University from KBC president Chip Hutcheson instead of viewing a promotional video forwarded by Campbellsville. CU president Mike Carter had been invited to present a report in person but declined the invitation and sent no one to represent the university. Upon hearing Chip Hutcheson’s report, the convention heeded his recommendation and took no action regarding Campbellsville. Here is Hutcheson’s report:

In light of recent actions taken by Campbellsville to remove themselves from their relationship with the Kentucky Baptist Convention of churches, I want to assure the messengers of this convention that we have done everything possible to discourage Campbellsville from moving away from her historic relationship with the KBC. To that end, a review of some of the basic facts and recent history of the relationship might be helpful.

First, the formal relationship granting KBC the right to appoint Campbellsville’s board was voluntarily entered into by both parties1938. The current version of Covenant Agreement has been in place since 1986 and requires that a four-year notice be given to terminate the covenant.

Second, even though the Covenant Agreement requires the KBC Committee on Nominations and messengers at the Annual Meeting vote to approve CU board members, those board members come recommended by the CU president and not even once has the president’s recommendation been refused by the committee or the convention.

Third, contrary to accusations of undue influence and doctrinal control, KBC has never had even a single meeting with Campbellsville except at Campbellsville’s request, nor does KBC have any platform from which to exercise control. The recommendation that the Executive Director sit on the boards of all CP supported agencies and institutions was only that, a recommendation, never a requirement. Our executive director has been welcomed onto the boards of Crossings, Oneida, and Sunrise. He is an honorary board member at University of the Cumberlands. Each of these agencies has already begun to see the benefits of having the executive director better informed so as to be a better advocate for their work. Not one has expressed concerns over undue influence.

As for recent history, Kentucky Baptists concerns about CU first came to our attention in early 2013 when CU refused to provide a new teaching contract to one of the professors teaching in their religion department. There were accusations that the professor being let go believed in the Bible’s creation account while the university keeps professors who do not affirm a literal interpretation of the Bible’s creation account. At the suggestion of Dr. Chitwood, Dr. Carter chose a group to represent Kentucky Baptists and a group to represent the university and pulled them together. While Dr. Carter stated his own disagreements with both a literal interpretation of the Bible and a high view of Scripture, he pledged that CU had some professors who believe the Bible is literally true and would continue to welcome them as well as students who believe the Bible. KBC and CU released a joint statement affirming their relationship.

One month later Dr. Carter contacted KBC to inform us that SACS, the university’s accrediting agency, was requiring Campbellsville to no longer allow KBC to have a part in the trustee selection process. When KBC contacted SACS we were assured that was not the case. Dr. Carter then backed off of that claim.

Very near the same time, Dr. Carter alleged that Kentucky law required that the university have a self-perpetuating board. When KBC’s attorney, James Taylor, challenged that notion, CU and KBC agreed to seek the opinion of a retired Kentucky Supreme Court Justice. That judge sided with KBC and, once again, Dr. Carter backed off his claim.

Next, on July 11th of this year, Campbellsville sent two attorneys who came, alone, to the KBC to inform us that the university was changing its bylaws and planned to create a self-perpetuating board, which is an obvious violation of the Convent Agreement. When KBC shared that information with Kentucky Baptists the university responded by saying that the bylaw changes did not violate the Covenant Agreement, which is false.

Under the legal counsel of KBC Attorney James Taylor, the Business and Finance Committee of the Mission Board voted to place in escrow Cooperative Program funds going to Campbellsville until the university backed off its plans to create a self-perpetuating board. Attorney Taylor explained that, legally, Campbellsville’s intent to breach the covenant was considered equivalent to a breach by the courts. He used the example of buying a used car. If you make a deal with someone to pay them $100 a month for 12 months and they promise to give you the car at the end of that 12 months but six months into the payments they inform you they will not give you the car, then, according to the law, you should not keep sending them money.

Before and after the funds were escrowed we made several requests to meet with Campbellsville to try to fix whatever problems they believed existed. They did not respond for weeks.

Finally, on August 9th, Campbellsville arranged a meeting. During that meeting CU shared that their board would likely be voting to terminate the Covenant Agreement but would like to create a partnership agreement. KBC leaders urged the school to maintain its connection to the churches and suggested that, rather than terminating the agreement, the university work with the convention to amend the agreement and thus achieve the university’s desire for a self-perpetuating board. We also reminded them that terminating the Covenant is a 4 year process.

On August 12th, the CU board voted to immediately terminate the Covenant Agreement.

KBC leaders met again with CU on September 18 to hear their proposal for a partnership agreement. KBC leaders requested that the CU board overturn its decision to immediately terminate the Covenant in order to open the pathway for the KBC to explore a partnership agreement with the university. KBC also offered to approve any slate of trustees Dr. Carter brought to us and release escrowed funds as a show of good faith.

On September 23, Dr. Carter did not attend the KBC Committee on Nominations meeting where he was to present his trustee slate.

On October 29th, Dr. Carter informed KBC that the Campbellsville board had elected their own slate of new trustees rather than bring their trustee candidates to the Convention, as the Covenant requires. This act was a clear violation of the Covenant. Upon hearing the news, KBC again offered to approve those candidates through the committee process and bring the candidates for convention approval as a way to salvage the relationship. That offer was refused.

CU has clearly chosen to remove itself from our Convention. We recommend the Convention take no action at this time except to remain prayerful and hopeful that the university will someday return to covenant with the churches that nursed her along for nearly 100 years.

Posted in Annual Meeting, Campbellsville University, Christian Education, Denominational Life, Education, Kentucky Baptist Convention | 1 Response

A People Called Kentucky Baptists

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KBC-LogoRGBFour decades ago, in his foreword to a book titled, Baptists in Kentucky, Franklin Owen wrote, “We believe that the moral fiber of a nation is even more important than her fiscal and military, or any other strength. We further believe that … the moral strength of a nation is rooted in her religious convictions—that a conviction of righteousness, of purpose under God, is as important to the making and keeping of a great nation as any or all of the material needs that tend to be so regarded.” Owen penned those words while he served as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

The job title has changed slightly, but I occupy the same seat today as Owen did in 1975. And I share his belief: The making and keeping of a great nation is inextricably connected to its moral fiber and religious conviction. The Psalmist wrote, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Proverbs 14:34 declares, “Righteousness exalts a nation.”

The moral condition of our nation is justifiably a cause for concern. Americans kill more unborn children each year than any other country, with the exception of China and Russia. In America, approximately 1 million children—or one in five—is aborted. America leads the world with a multi-billion dollar pornographic industry, with profits recently shrinking only because of the growing amount of porn that is now free online. We have the largest prison population in the world. And we spend roughly $100 billion on illegal drugs each year. These are but a few of the symptoms of America’s moral and religious decay.

What has any of that to do with you and me? We are Americans. More importantly, we are followers of Jesus Christ. And we are Baptists in Kentucky. These facts, taken together, lead me to conclude that we help make up the moral fiber and strength of our state and nation. Let us accept that role.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Peter wrote, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

Kentucky Baptists, how we live, love, serve, talk to and about one another, and share Christ with the world, has a bearing both on this earthly kingdom and God’s eternal kingdom. As our country and its culture continue to decay, might we, as God’s people, conduct ourselves in a manner that the world will see and hear the gospel, for, in so doing, God will surely be glorified.

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Will you ‘Be the One’?

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More than 7,500 kids are currently in the care of the state of Kentucky. Most of these children have been removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect. A child’s average age when removed from his or her home is 6.

James 1:27 teaches us that caring for children like that is one of the marks of true religion. Yet, right here in the state of Kentucky, among 750,000 Kentucky Baptists and 2,400 Kentucky Baptist Convention churches, as many as 300 children in the foster care system typically have no placement. We believe it’s time to change that—and I’m asking you to help.

The “Be the One” challenge from Sunrise Children’s Services wasn’t just a Sunrise idea; it was my wife, Michelle, who asked me one day, “What can we do to get more people involved in taking care of these hurting children?” Be the One is our answer to that question.

It’s an invitation for every KBC church to find at least one family in the church that will commit to becoming foster parents through Sunrise. Then, as a church, you will “surround the one.” That is to say, you will come around that family and support them.

What does it mean to support a foster family? Church members can be trained to provide respite or relief care to the foster children, help with doctors’ appointments, run errands, or simply provide prayer support.

Every year, half of the total number of trained and certified foster parents quit. The average foster family doesn’t make it two full years.

Most foster kids have been through a lot. They come from broken homes, abusive families, drug-infested neighborhoods, and are being cared for by a government system that is just a little less dysfunctional than the situation from which the government seized them. And yet they are children; little boys and little girls who want to play and watch cartoons and be safe and loved. But all they have seen, heard and endured is still ringing in their ears, haunting their dreams, and affecting their behavior.

Getting involved with a broken family in a broken system to care for a broken child is risky, but no more risky than stopping on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho to bind the wounds of a man who has been stripped, beaten, and robbed. And, according to Jesus, that’s what a Good Samaritan does for his neighbor. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

Jesus also said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” How do we let children come to Jesus? We bring them to Him by bringing them into our families and into our churches so we can bring them to Jesus.

Will you be the one? Call Sunrise today at (800) 456-1386, or visit www.sunrise.org/surroundtheone to learn more.

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A Pastor’s Wife

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Michelle ChitwoodThis week’s article is a guest post by Michelle Chitwood and includes an invitation to the open house for ministers’ wives during the Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Michelle is the wife of KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood.

Our name is pastor’s wife

By Michelle Chitwood

Our name has traveled from town to town, from city to city, and from state to state.

Our name is the worship songs sung on Sunday mornings, songs like “I Surrender All,” because we have.

It is accomplishment.

It is forgiven.

It is the silent strength our husbands need.

It is the friend who will not compromise.

Being alone at times, but always surrounded.

Grace follows it around.

Our name wonders what life would be like not to be in this role. I mean of all the names, for me, pastor’s wife was the most surprising, but for others it was no surprise at all.

We are called by other names, too: mommy, daughter, teacher, nurse, the list goes on and on. But the name that makes it the happiest is Christian. This name makes our paths straight.

We would not like to be called by any other name. It is who we are supposed to be. It is what we were created for.

Our name has been many places, and we know it has much more road to travel. We will look forward to what lies ahead. We will enjoy the journey, and we will never forget how we got here.

Our stories are different, but the name we share makes us one.

Ministers’ wives, please join me during the Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting for an open house in your honor, and connect with other wives of Kentucky Baptist ministers. The Ministers’ Wives Open House will be held Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. until noon, and again from 1:30 p.m. until 3 p.m.

No advance reservations are necessary. Be sure, however, to pick up your minister’s wife button at the convention information table located near the KBC registration area. The button is your admission to the open house.

Come and tell us your name and your story.

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