If state conventions went away, would we miss them? That question might sound 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, keep in mind that, 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. Effectiveness demands that they look and operate differently.
Who would miss the Kentucky Baptist Convention? Tens of thousands of college students. The KBC employs Baptist Campus Missionaries and maintains ministry centers on college and university campuses across the state, resulting in more than 300 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. Nearly 800 teens committed their lives to Christ this summer through Crossings alone.
Churches without pastors would miss the KBC. KBC staff members often fill their pulpits as supply preachers and interim pastors and assist with the pastor search process through training search committees and, upon request, providing resumes of potential candidates.
Churches looking for help reaching Kentucky and the world for Christ would miss the KBC. KBC staff members provide consulting, training, resources, and networking opportunities to help churches in the areas of revitalization, evangelism and missions strategies, and church planting.
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.
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 so let me just say that I believe the Kingdom would miss the KBC. 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. Much more.