If state conventions went away, would we miss them? That question might not sound strange coming from a young pastor who abhors bureaucracy and prioritizes investing in personal relationships over supporting systems and structures. But it probably sounds very strange coming from an executive director of a state convention. Nevertheless, I think it is a fair and helpful question.
Might I propose some answers? Before I do, I want to stress that I am answering for only one state convention. Like local churches, each state convention sets its own priorities and determines its own way of doing business. Each convention is unique and operates in a distinct geographical, cultural, and spiritual context. State conventions look and operate differently and, to be relevant, they should.
Who would miss the Kentucky Baptist Convention? Tens of thousands of college students. The KBC employs Baptist Campus Ministry directors and maintains ministry centers on many of our campuses, resulting in more than 500 college students giving their lives to Christ this past year.
Thousands of teenagers would miss the KBC. Through mission opportunities like Kentucky Changers and the camp ministries of Crossings, teens are able to hear the gospel and live it out on mission. Over 500 teens committed their lives to Christ through Crossings alone.
Churches without pastors would miss the KBC. KBC staff members occupy the pulpits of many of those churches as supply and interim pastors and assist with the search process through training search committees and providing resumes of potential candidates.
Hurting people would miss the KBC. KBC Disaster Relief trains and equips volunteers to respond immediately to the needs of people in disaster stricken areas. Those volunteers serve thousands of meals, remove fallen trees, shovel mud, provide clean water, a hot shower, and a clothes washer. If you have ever been without those things, you know how much you miss them.
Ethnic peoples in Kentucky would miss the KBC. KBC missionaries minister to those who find themselves strangers in a strange land. They provide ESL classes, a gospel witness, discipleship training, and church plants.
The homeless would miss the KBC. Shelters like Jefferson Street Baptist Center receive financial support from the KBC as well as volunteer involvement that is often facilitated by the KBC.
This list goes on but let me just say that I believe the Kingdom would miss the Kentucky Baptist Convention. If I didn’t, I would work somewhere else.
Some might ask, “Couldn’t individual churches provide many of the ministries accomplished through the KBC?” My response is that individual churches are already providing these ministries…through the KBC. The KBC is an extension of the local church and allows the local church to do more by partnering with 2,400 other churches.
Together, we are the KBC. What would you miss?