We released the following news this morning:
LOUISVILLE– In preparation for a strategic reorganization, the Kentucky Baptist Convention announced today that 23 full-time and four part-time employees of the KBC Mission Board have accepted retirement or resignation incentive packages and will leave their jobs by June 30.
Additionally, contracts for nine part-time ministry consultants will expire without renewal Aug. 31.
The departures are necessary because of economic realities and a shift in priorities for the 175-year-old ministry, said Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
“The global economic downturn, and Kentucky Baptists’ desire to send more resources to the international mission field have prompted these decisions,” said Chitwood, who began serving as executive director last July.
In addition to the sluggish economy, Chitwood cited dwindling support among the 2,400 Kentucky Baptist congregations for the Cooperative Program, a unified fund that Kentucky Baptists have used since 1925 to support missions and ministries in the commonwealth, North America and the world.
Between 2000 and 2011, the percentage of Kentucky Baptist churches’ undesignated receipts set aside to support missions through the Cooperative Program has dropped from 9.2 percent to 6.75 percent.
Messengers to the 2011 KBC Annual Meeting reprioritized the way Cooperative Program dollars are distributed, sending a higher percentage to the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board and other national Southern Baptist Convention causes.
With fewer CP dollars to fund missions and ministries in Kentucky, KBC staff have made spending cuts and left positions unfilled, but the cutbacks were not enough, Chitwood said.
“It was time to re-evaluate our services to Kentucky Baptists, and to adjust our priorities to match current resources,” he said.
Monday and Tuesday, Chitwood will present to the KBC Mission Board his plan to restructure the staff.
Reorganization is not new for a ministry more than a century old, however, KBC leaders anticipate the plan Chitwood presents will outline the most comprehensive changes that the mission board has undertaken in decades.
“Our goal, in this rapidly changing 21st century, is to provide more targeted assistance to our churches in order for them to reach people in their communities with the gospel,” Chitwood said.
“I’m very excited about where we are going and I believe our pastors and churches, when they learn the details of our plans, will be as well,” he added.
The staff reduction announcement comes after retirement and severance packages were presented for employees’ consideration in early March. Staff were given until late April to decide whether to accept or reject the offers.
Full retirement benefits, regardless of years of service, will be received by 17 staff members who are age 60 as of Dec. 31 or older. They will also receive additional cash incentives based on years of service.
Severance packages for employees younger than 60 include 90 days of wages and benefits.
“The KBC Administrative Committee wanted to be as generous as possible with these staff members who have given so much to Kentucky Baptists,” Chitwood said.
There are 43 full-time staff remaining at the Kentucky Baptist Building in Louisville and eight full-time Baptist campus ministers serving on Kentucky’s university and college campuses.
“This is the first step in a bold journey of change, but it is not without sadness,” said Chitwood. “Some of these staff members have served with the KBC for decades, and Kentucky Baptists, myself included, owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they have done in service to Christ.”
Among the KBC staff retiring or resigning:
Richard Adams, Leadership Development Department director and regional church strategist, joined KBC in 1999 and is a member of Crestwood Baptist Church in Oldham County.
Larry Baker, Missions Growth Team leader, joined KBC in 2004 after serving as director of missions for Christian County Baptist Association for more than 12 years. He also is a former International Mission Board missionary to Ecuador and Peru, and is a member of Highland Baptist Church in Shelbyville.
Joe Ball, director of the Youth Ministry Department, joined KBC in 2004. Previously he served as Baptist campus minister for Hopkinsville Community College and was minister of youth and education at Edgewood Baptist Church in Hopkinsville. He is a member of Cedar Creek Baptist Church in Louisville.
Jonathan Barron is Baptist campus minister for Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. He joined the KBC staff in2002. He and his wife, Elaina, have been called to serve as directors of the Prince of Peace orphanage for girls in Guatemala City.
Ross Bauscher, Evangelism Growth Team leader, joined KBC in 2001 having served as pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Owensboro and Farmdale Baptist Church in Frankfort. He is a member of Crestwood Baptist Church in Oldham County.
Billy Compton, executive associate for Cooperative Program and resources, took on that role in 2008 and previously served in the KBC evangelism department. He is pastor of First Baptist Church of Mt. Washington.
Glenn Cummins, regional church strategist, joined KBC in 2004 after more than 20 years as associate pastor and minister of education at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington.
Mike James, regional church strategist and discipleship/assimilation coordinator, joined KBC in 2007 and currently serves as interim pastor of First Baptist Church of Junction City.
Bill Noe, Baptist campus minister at University of Louisville, joined KBC in 2004. He is a member of Springdale Community Church in Louisville and has accepted a job with LifeWay Christian Resources as events coordinator for “Threads,” a LifeWay division focused on young adults and college students.
Cindy Pelphrey, campus minister for Owensboro-area schools joined the staff in 1998 and is a member of Curdsville Baptist Church in Daviess County.
Ron Sivells, regional church strategist, joined KBC in 2004 and is a member of Southside Baptist Church in Princeton. Currently he serves as interim pastor of Nortonville Baptist Church.
Robert Reeves, director of communications, joined KBC in 1998, having previously served with Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children (now Sunrise Children’s Services) and Connie Maxwell Children’s Home, a ministry of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. He is a member of Lakewood Baptist Church in Louisville.
Steve Thompson, assistant executive director, joined KBC in 1999 after 28 years as a pastor and director of missions for Green Valley Baptist Association. He is a member of Westport Road Baptist Church in Louisville.
Greg Whitetree, director of the Freeda Harris Baptist Center in Elkhorn City, joined the KBC staff in 1983 and is pastor of Hellier Missionary Baptist Church in Pike County. Whitetree and his wife, Alice, will continue to serve at the Freeda Harris Baptist Center as Mission Service Corps missionaries.
Charles Wilson, director of the Wheelwright Baptist Center in Floyd County, joined the staff in 1986 and is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wheelwright. He and his wife, Margie, have served as North American Mission Board missionaries for more than 32 years.
Other staff members retiring or resigning include:
Pat Beverly, Executive Office Team ministry assistant, joined KBC in 1990 and is a member of West Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville.
Jenny Byrd, Church Development Team ministry assistant, joined KBC in 2001 and is a member of St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville.
Cheryl Frerman, Sunday school and discipleship/assimilation ministry assistant, joined KBC in 2006 and is a member of Phos Community Church in Crestwood.
Robin Gordon, Business Services Team data entry clerk, joined KBC in 2000. She is a Mission Service Corps missionary and a member of Zion Grove Baptist Church in Ekron where her husband, Glen, serves as pastor.
Cindy Henderson, Baptist Men on Mission ministry assistant, joined the KBC in 2009 and worships at Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington.
Wanda Karolyi, Executive Office Team ministry assistant, joined KBC in 1999 and is a member of Hunsinger Lane Baptist Church in Louisville.
Janet Lawler, Worship/Music ministry assistant, joined the KBC in 2009 and is a member of Lakewood Baptist Church in Louisville.
Carla Purvis, Evangelism Growth Team ministry assistant, joined KBC in 1996 and is a member of DeHaven Baptist Church in LaGrange where her husband, Tommy, serves as pastor.
Alice Seymour, Preschool/Children’s Department ministry assistant, joined KBC in 1993 and is a member of St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville.
JoAnn Young, KBC’s main receptionist, joined the staff in 1987. She is a member of Centerfield Baptist Church in Oldham County.
The ministry consultants whose contracts will not be renewed as of Aug. 31 include:
Rebecca Carnell, Literacy Missions consultant, joined KBC in 1998 and is a member of Eubank Baptist Church. She also is a Mission Service Corps missionary, a former Kentucky Baptist missionary of the year, and recipient of the Dellanna West O’Brien Award from national Woman’s Missionary Union.
Rod Ellis, Worship & Music Department consultant, joined KBC in 2004 and currently serves as worship pastor for Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington.
Randy Foster, Baptist Men on Mission consultant, retired last year from KBC as director of the Baptist Men on Mission Department, having served since 1997. He is a member of Crestwood Baptist Church in Oldham County.
Larry Martin, Missions Growth Team consultant, retired in 2004 as the team leader after nine years of service. He is a member of St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville.
Roxanne Nanney, Worship and Music Department consultant, joined KBC in 1999 and is minister of music and senior adults at First Baptist Church of Brandenburg.
Tom Smoot, Creative Ministries Department consultant, joined KBC in 1974. He retired in 2004 as director of the creative ministries department.
Jason Stewart, Worship and Music Department consultant, joined KBC in 2008 and is minister of music at Parkland Baptist Church in Louisville.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is a cooperative missions and ministry organization made up of nearly 2.400 autonomous Baptist churches in Kentucky. A variety of state and worldwide ministries are coordinated through its administrative offices in Louisville, including: missions work, disaster relief, ministry training and support, church development, evangelism and more. For more, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
The men and women who will be leaving their jobs have given so much of themselves in service to Kentucky Baptists over the years. We will miss them, and we thank them.
We thank God for each of these servants and pray God’s richest blessings upon their lives and ministry.