“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8)
I was recently asked, “What does the Kentucky Baptist Convention do with its part of the Cooperative Program and state missions offering?” While I love to answer that question, because so much is being done in our Judea it’s not a short conversation nor is this a short post!
Currently, fifty new church plants in Kentucky are supported by every church that gives to cooperative missions. While no church, working on its own, could fund and assist 50 new church plants, working together, the impossible becomes possible. Since these church plants, as well as existing KBC churches, represent the most ethnically diverse denomination in our state, cooperative missions present a unique opportunity both for reaching every tribe and tongue and for being a part of gospel-centered racial reconciliation.
Support is also provided for ten fulltime campus missionaries who share the gospel on college and university campuses in Kentucky and help churches develop strategies to reach students on middle school, high school, and university campuses. Working with the campus missionary at Kentucky State University, Millville Baptist Church began sponsoring a women’s Bible study. A female student struggling with same-sex attraction and active in a relationship attended and then met with the campus missionary. Hearing the gospel, she placed her trust in Christ.
Through the support of cooperative missions giving, KBC Disaster Relief teams are trained and ready as first responders to help the hurting in times of crisis by ministering to their physical and spiritual needs. Approximately 900 volunteers were trained this past year and deployed not only in Kentucky but Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Louisiana, Michigan, South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia.
More than 100 missionaries in the state receive varying levels of support for their work. These missionaries represent Kentucky Baptists as they share the gospel in jails and prisons, serve in pregnancy resource centers, homeless shelters, and meet needs in food and clothing ministries, literacy education, job skills training, and a host of other ways. Cooperative Program dollars help create a vast network of mission endeavors across the state and give churches from Kentucky and throughout the nation the opportunity to know about and get more involved in these Kingdom ministries in our state, resulting every year in tens of thousands of volunteers serving in Kentucky on short-term mission projects.
Every cooperative missions dollar represents the investment a large church makes in small churches or a small church taking advantage of the opportunity to partner with larger churches. This investment means that a team of trained and experienced consultants is available to assist any KBC church in strengthening every aspect of local church ministry, at no cost. For example, we help churches with evangelism training, worship ministry, legal questions, salary and benefits issues, senior adult ministry, Sunday School and discipleship ministry, etc. KBC staff members conducted consultations and presentations to more than 10,000 Kentucky Baptists this past year alone. KBC helps churches in conflict, trains pastor search committees, provides a resume service for ministers and churches, and helps strengthen marriages of ministry couples through the annual Shepherding event. These are but a few examples, among many, of how churches in Kentucky are investing in other churches through cooperative missions giving.
Cooperative Missions gives Kentucky Baptists a voice in state government. The work of the Public Affairs Committee and the ministry of a Kentucky Baptist chaplain in the state capitol are supported by every church that gives. Churches also benefit from lobbying work on issues like prolife legislation, religious liberty, and other matters of importance to Kentucky Baptists. In just the past few weeks, we have seen new prolife laws enacted that have already saved the lives of unborn children. What a great investment! The Western Recorder and Kentucky Today help keep Kentucky Baptists informed, not only on public affairs and Baptist news, but on all of the news.
When we include the work of KBC entities, all supported by the CP, we see that every cooperating church is involved in orphan care through Sunrise Children’s Services, where Kentucky Baptists touch the lives of more than 1,100 hurting kids. Thousands of students from Kentucky and literally the world over are benefitting from a Christian education through Oneida Baptist Institute, Clear Creek Baptist Bible College and University of the Cumberlands. And thousands more students hear the gospel every summer at camp through Crossings Ministries. Mission education through the WMU and estate planning and investment services through the Kentucky Baptist Foundation are also of great support to KBC churches.
Believe it or not, I’ve left off a long list of ministries and mission work every church is supporting as it gives to cooperative missions in Kentucky. What is the result of this generous and sacrificial giving? Together, Kentucky Baptists are reaching Kentucky and the world for Christ.