The Bible says, “It is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Cor 4:2). In an era of diminishing resources, when times are lean and money is scarce, our faithful stewardship of what the Lord has entrusted to us is more critical than ever.
In his book The Great Evangelical Recession, John Dickerson sounds a startling alarm when he writes, “The generation that gives almost half of total donations began passing away about three years ago. … Over the next twelve years, this faithful and reliable generation will pass away. As they do, total giving will decrease by as much as half. … This continuing decrease will challenge the most creative and forward-thinking ministries, and it will bankrupt the unprepared. A great crisis of funding is swelling on the horizon—a silent tsunami that has already broken—unnoticed and miles off the coast. Most ministries are entirely unprepared.”
What does this prediction mean for the KBC? Like Joseph interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh, we must warn the churches and help them to prepare for years of famine. As a Mission Board, we must keep our budgeting in check and remain light afoot as an organization, ever pressing to do more with less and stretch the missions dollars further.
One of the areas that could be hardest hit is the local association. Already many of our associations are struggling financially and in ongoing decline. The financial “tsunami” threatens to wash away some if intentional steps are not taken to preserve this strategic level of church partnership. The window of opportunity stands open for many associations to combine their resources, thereby increasing the numbers of churches and their capacity to have a strong, missional leader as a Director of Missions. But this window may not remain open for very long. While each association is autonomous, the KBC is committed to assisting but never interfering in their work.
In these and many other areas the sand beneath our feet is shifting as wave after wave of cultural change come crashing against the church. But, thanks be to God, the house of God has been built upon the rock and even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. As for our work as Kentucky Baptists, let us be as wise as that builder and keep all of our work firmly established upon the Chief Cornerstone and the word of God. And let us be as faithful in our stewardship of the work to which God has called us as the servant who was put in charge of his master’s household and, upon the master’s return, was found carrying out that charge.