In a little more than a decade, the average percentage of undesignated offerings that Kentucky Baptist Convention churches are giving through the Cooperative Program has been reduced by one third. At the same time, our churches have expressed a growing burden to get the gospel to the unreached and unengaged people groups of the world, resulting in an ongoing reduction of the percentage of CP funds that stay in Kentucky. These realities, along with the reduction of investment income and the overall state of the Kentucky economy, have created significant challenges for our KBC Mission Board staffing and strategy.
An illustration of these challenges is that our staff members are currently working under the constraints of a ministry budget that has been twice reduced from the total approved by the convention. That last reduction came four months into the budget year.
Coupled with these funding challenges is my firm conviction that the time is right for the KBC Mission Board to explore new and different ways of serving our churches. I am convinced that a strategic realignment will help us maximize our resources, effectiveness, and relevance to the changing needs of our churches.
In light of our current funding challenges and the pressing need for strategic realignment, the Administrative Committee of the Mission Board has approved both an early retirement plan as well as a provisional support package to any staff members who are willing to consider them.
Before I get into the details of these two offers, let me make three statements. First, out of their love and appreciation for our staff members, as well as their concern for the wellbeing of our staff members and their families, I believe the Administrative Committee has approved offers that are both generous and compassionate.
Second, let me stress that these current offers are an opportunity for voluntary retirement or resignation. At this point, no jobs are being eliminated and no one is being terminated. Future position eliminations and terminations will depend upon two factors: the number of staff members who accept the current offers and the outcome of our strategic realignment. Both of these factors should be clear by the time the Mission Board meets in May so any possible position eliminations will be addressed then rather than now.
Third, I believe these current offers are the best opportunity that will come for anyone who is considering either retirement or other ministry or work opportunities.
The details of the Administrative Committee’s staff reduction plan are as follows. First, staff members born on or before December 31, 1952, are now eligible to retire with full retirement benefits. Those benefits will include healthcare coverage until the employee reaches the age of 65 and Medicare supplement coverage after 65. A cash incentive, based upon total years of service, is also available to the employees who accept early retirement.
Second, for any employee not eligible for early retirement, a voluntary resignation incentive is available. The voluntary resignation incentive includes 90 days of full salary and benefits after their departure.
Both groups of employees have the option of working until June 30, 2012 and will receive their incentives after that date. Should any employee accepting these offers choose to end their employment before June 30, they will receive their incentives upon their departure.
Please pray for our Mission Board staff members as they contemplate the future. We have great people at the KBC. Pray also for God’s vision to be clear.