In my last post, I wrote about the rapid reorientation of religious denominations. While no one is exactly sure what the outcome will be, the fact that we are witnessing a dramatic transition in the traditional roles of denominations is generally unchallenged. The pressing question: What does all of this mean for the Kentucky Baptist Convention?
For its future to be viable, I am convinced three things must hold true for the KBC.
First, the KBC must constantly strive to meet pastors and churches where they are. Our Lord’s commission has not changed but every generation is presented with unique challenges and Kingdom opportunities as they seek to fulfill that commission. In order for the KBC to remain effective in its mission of helping our churches fulfill their mission, our mission board structure, staff, and ministries must be poised to address the pressing issues of our day.
Along these lines, we must always reinforce our declaration that “we’re here to serve you,” with attitudes and actions that prove it. The tension between raising support for denominational mission work and being there to encourage, equip, and exhort the pastors and churches who provide that support will never go away. Rather than hoping no one notices this tension, we must acknowledge it and seek to maintain a healthy balance and dialogue, always being responsive to comments and critiques, and always being careful stewards of the funds invested by the churches.
Second, the KBC must rise to the challenge of communicating its Kingdom role. Pastor search committees still need assistance. Ministry students still need educational preparation. University campuses still need a gospel witness. Growing cities still need new church plants. The churches of the KBC, working together, accomplish all of these things and many more. Does the average member of a KBC church know it? I fear not. If these vital kingdom ministries will be sustained, we must find ways to effectively champion them.
Third, our state convention structure and ministries must respond to the current financial challenges by valuing the things Kentucky Baptists value most and by continually striving to offer strategic, high quality ministry support for KBC churches. That is to say, we must make hard choices between the “good” things we do and the “best” things we do and then do those things with excellence. An important part of this response to the current financial challenges includes our willingness to celebrate the commitment that Kentucky Baptists have made to get more of our resources to those places without a gospel witness.
Denominations still exist and I suspect they will remain with us for many years to come. I pray our Lord will see fit to use the KBC to extend His Kingdom and glory until He comes…