Reflections on the 175th Annual Meeting

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My thanks go to the ministry staff and members of Immanuel Baptist Church and to our Mission Board staff for the tremendous job they did in hosting our annual meeting! The meeting presented a timely opportunity for Kentucky Baptists to be updated on the new organization of the Mission Board and the Kingdom work being accomplished by our churches and the agencies and institutions of the KBC.

These days of economic strain have brought tremendous clarity to the work of the KBC. A revised mission statement takes us back 175 years to the cause of our founding, back when churches and associations came together in 1837, rightly believing they could do more to advance the gospel in Kentucky and around the world by cooperating with other churches than by working alone. The new statement reads—The Kentucky Baptist Convention: Created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.

As we craft our ministry of helping churches, we have also committed ourselves to accomplishing the mandate given by the churches when they adopted the Great Commission Task Force recommendations. To that end, we are accelerating the transition to a 50/50 split in a two-step process that prioritizes getting the gospel where it isn’t.

The 2013-14 budget adopted at the annual meeting last week is the first step. In that budget, the KBC and SBC will each receive 45% of the Cooperative Program funds given by KBC churches, with 10% being designated for Cooperative Program Resourcing (CPR) on behalf of the national and state conventions. CPR is the investment state conventions have been charged to make on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention to promote CP.

Step number two comes with the 2014-2015 budget that will be voted on at our annual meeting next year. That budget should reduce the CPR line item from 10% to 7%, thus allowing additional funds to flow to mission work outside of Kentucky and, ultimately, to the IMB, where the overseas missionary force has been dramatically downsized due to a lack of funds. For the foreseeable future beyond the 2014-2015 budget, these percentages will remain the same: a 50/50 split that includes 7% for CPR for the SBC & KBC.

The GCTF recommendations called for 10 years to accomplish the shift of funds and included a 4% shared expense line item rather than 7%. Why these changes? This new, simplified budget plan, endorsed by the GCTF, gets us to a 50/50 split sooner and provides for maintaining a larger investment in CPR with the hopes that the investment will yield greater resources for the mission both at home and abroad.

Might the Lord continue to use Kentucky Baptists to accomplish His mission!

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