Winter may have brought some brief interruptions to life in Kentucky, but with the exception of a few days of unusual snowfall, the work of your KBC staff was not hindered. I want to give you an update on that as we look back over the past year.
As we embraced our new mission statement three years ago, one of the things I stressed to our staff was the need to get out of the building and into the churches. A convention created by churches for churches to help churches had better employ people who are ready to call on churches.
To that end, your KBC staff members drove 465,000 ministry miles last year, for the most part, en route to visit churches and their pastors and staff. For perspective, that’s enough miles to circle the globe almost 19 times or, to bring it closer to home, that will get you from Pikeville to Paducah nearly 1,200 times or from Covington to Corbin 2,800 times.
As to the ministry accomplished while traveling all those miles, here is a brief synopsis: Your Mission Board staff members preached and spoke more than 1,000 times. We made presentations and consultations to more than 12,000 people, not counting congregational sermons. Ministry events overseen by Mission Board staff and Kentucky missionaries yielded more than 6,000 professions of faith. We have helped churches start 29 new churches. Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief yielded 20 percent of the professions of faith of all the disaster relief ministries across the Southern Baptist Convention. KBC Communications staff members created 126 news releases, 121 videos, sent 1,300+ tweets, 1,100+ Facebook posts, which yielded more than 100,000 interactions.
These statistics, among others, give only a snapshot of the vital work funded by the Cooperative Program and carried out by your Mission Board staff members. To understand the full impact of Cooperative Program ministries, I would need to add to the report the work of our agencies and institutions in Kentucky, as well as all of the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention boards, agencies, and seminaries.
The most celebrated statistics, however, are those appearing on the Annual Church Profile. Looking back to the most recent reporting year gives us much cause for celebration. In three key categories, KBC churches saw increases for the first time in years. Most importantly, baptisms were up over the year before. Total church membership and undesignated giving also were up. God is blessing the work of Kentucky Baptists and giving much fruit.
As I am soon to begin my fifth year as your Executive Director, let me say that I could not be more pleased by the progress we have made and the victories God has given us. Serving our churches is among of the highest privileges of my life.