As the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s annual meeting draws near, I want to encourage you to be in attendance. In addition to inspiring messages from a host of preachers, this year’s convention will give you the opportunity to see how your Cooperative Program dollars are being spent. You will be able to find out about the ministry of your mission board staff here in Kentucky and the mission work being accomplished through the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. Our Baptist schools in Kentucky will update us on their ministry as will Crossings, Sunrise Children’s Services, the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, and the Western Recorder.
If you have ever questioned the value of your CP investment, or wondered if it is still necessary to be a part of our missions partnerships, then the annual meeting will be especially important for you.
The annual meeting is also an opportunity for every messenger to have a voice in the direction and decisions of the convention. Every messenger has a vote and the right to present motions and/or ask questions. Apart from other Southern Baptist denominational bodies, I can think of few organizations where thousands of persons are afforded the right as an individual to speak directly into the decision-making process.
I once heard Baptist polity described as a “risky venture.” I suppose it is. Any messenger can stand to present any motion they choose. Yet, as those motions are addressed according to parliamentary procedure and ultimately embraced or rejected by the full body of messengers, Kentucky Baptists have historically proven themselves wise and faithful stewards of the Kingdom work they have undertaken and the partnership that makes that work possible.
Would it be possible for that to change? Absolutely. It would only take one or two annual meetings for the work of the KBC to be ended or the voices of our churches to be silenced.
For example, what if the only people in attendance at the annual meeting were those who failed to understand the value of the Cooperative Program? A motion to abolish it could quickly undermine all the Kingdom work that Kentucky Baptists have undertaken. Or what if a messenger who mistakenly thought that Sunrise was a soft drink company presented a motion to defund it and no one was present to inform him that Sunrise is the Great Commandment at work? Suddenly the work is in jeopardy.
Ludicrous examples? Maybe. But when Kentucky Baptists choose not to participate in the vital decision-making that unfolds at the annual meeting, our Baptist polity becomes an extremely risky venture. So, again, let me encourage you to be in attendance at the annual meeting. I plan to be there and look forward to seeing you there.