In this video, Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood delivers the Mission Board staff report to messengers attending the KBC’s annual meeting. The meeting was held Nov. 15, 2011, at Florence Baptist Church at Mt. Zion in Florence, Ky.
“Our mission field is growing,” Chitwood said, noting that Kentucky’s population has grown from 3.2 million to 4.2 million in the last 40 years.
“Our mission field is becoming much more diverse,” he continued. ”
Taken as a whole, the non-white population in Kentucky has grown 250 percent” in that same time period.
Research indicates that nearly three million Kentuckians “are lost and destined for hell,” Chitwood said. “These are our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends.”
With the adoption last year of the Kentucky Great Commission Task Force recommendations, Kentucky Baptists are poised to contribute enough funds to the International Mission Board in the next year to place 22 missionaries overseas.
Chitwood said Kentucky Baptists’ support of the North American Mission Board and Southern Baptists’ six seminaries also will increase.
Despite those positives, Chitwood noted that Kentucky Baptists’ gifts through the Cooperative Program have decreased, which “is about to have a dramatic impact on the ministry of the KBC.”
Over the last 20 years, Chitwood said, the percentage of undesignated gifts from Kentucky Baptist churches contributed through the Cooperative Program has decreased from 11 percent to 6 percent. Those undesignated receipts assist KBC agencies and institutions, such as Baptist colleges, and fund much of the work of the KBC Mission Board.
“The time has come for Kentucky Baptists to make hard decisions,” Chitwood said, noting that if CP gifts do not increase, “we cannot continue to fund (all of the current) ministries and programs through the mission board.”
As Kentucky Baptist leaders, pastors and individual church members strive to answer the question, “What matters most,” Chitwood had three requests of Kentucky Baptists:
“Pray with me. Ask God to clearly reveal His vision for the convention. We desperately need His vision.”
The second request was to “reacquaint yourselves and your churches with the ministries of the Cooperative Program.” Chitwood said even among missionaries, seminarians and life-long Baptists there is a lack of understanding about the CP and what it funds.
His third request was to “take advantage of those ministries you are funding.”
Chitwood mentioned an array of services available through the KBC and its affiliated agencies and institutions such as stewardship education, deacon training, leadership development for youth and children’s ministers, Crossings camps, Baptist Campus Ministries and many others.
KBC staff “have years of experience and stay on the cutting edge,” he said.