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Chitwood elected as Ky. exec
Baptist Press
June 22, 2011
5 MIN READ TIME

Chitwood elected as Ky. exec

Chitwood elected as Ky. exec
Baptist Press
June 22, 2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Paul Chitwood was elected as executive

director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) by the KBC Mission

Board June 2 by an 88-7 ballot vote.

Envisioning the executive’s role as “a great opportunity to be a pastor to

pastors” and to be an encourager to Kentucky Baptists, Chitwood told the

Western Recorder, newsjournal of the state convention, that his desire is to be

“a blessing to the churches and to build them up.”

Chitwood, 41, pastor of First Baptist Church in Mount Washington, Ky., since

2003, was presented to the Mission Board by search committee chairman Paul

Badgett of Pikeville.

The committee, he said, sought a candidate with the right

character and chemistry as well as competence.

“We found that in Dr. Paul Harrison Chitwood,” Badgett said, noting that

Chitwood has been a trustee of the International Mission Board, an assistant

professor of evangelism and church growth at Southern Baptist Theological

Seminary and an adjunct professor at University of the Cumberlands.

A native of Jellico, Tenn., Chitwood has served as pastor of four Kentucky

congregations. He also has been a convention president and first vice

president, and he has served as president of the KBC Pastors’ Conference.

Prior to his election, Chitwood addressed the board briefly, sharing that one

of his priorities would be church planting.

“Seeing the number of churches that are closing and actually outpacing those

that are starting across the country, I think there is a great opportunity

there,” he said.

Chitwood also said he sees an opportunity for relationship building and

promoting greater cooperation between the convention’s staff and KBC pastors.

Another role Chitwood said he would embrace is strengthening the partnership

between the convention and its universities and entities.

“Serving as a trustee for the University of Cumberlands and as a faculty member

at Southern Seminary has provided some opportunities to think about the great

potential for stronger partnership that lies there,” he said.

In response to a question about his theological perspective, Chitwood

responded, “I am a Bible-believing Southern Baptist. I believe God’s Word is

true, inerrant,” adding also that he is “perfectly comfortable” in affirming

all versions of the Baptist Faith and Message.

More specifically, in regard to his views on Calvinism, Chitwood said, “I

really think that that issue is needlessly a point of controversy.

“I really believe on that issue what we find in Scripture is a tension between

human responsibility and human free will and the absolute sovereignty of God,”

he added. “My personal theology allows for that tension.”

Of greater concern, he said, is that Kentucky Baptists allow for a difference

of opinion on matters that Scripture holds in tension.

Urging Kentucky Baptists to be “a big tent convention,” Chitwood said every

tent needs stakes to keep from being blown about by the wind. For him, those

stakes include the Word of God, the Baptist Faith and Message, cooperation and

the Great Commission, he said.

“With those four stakes, the Kentucky Baptists can be a big tent. And it can be

a big tent that honors God and allows us to work together with enthusiasm,” he

said.

As for his support of the Cooperative Program, Chitwood explained that at his

two previous pastorates, the congregations contributed more than 20 percent of

their undesignated gifts through CP. At First Baptist Mount Washington, members

have embraced a plan to steadily increase CP giving to 10 percent, he said. The

church currently gives approximately 8.5 percent and is moving toward 9 percent

in the coming budget year.

“While there is room in our convention for anyone who is willing to cooperate

at any level,” Chitwood said, “I do believe the leaders of our convention need

to lead by example.”

As IMB trustee chairman, Chitwood was a strong proponent of changing the

Cooperative Program allocation formula to allow more funding to send more

overseas missionaries. At last year’s KBC annual meeting, he spoke in favor of

the Kentucky Great Commission Task Force’s recommendation to move toward a

50/50 split of CP receipts between the Southern Baptist Convention and the KBC.

“The decision has already been made by the Kentucky Baptist Convention with

regard to the division of funds,” Chitwood told the Western Recorder. “So, now

it is the responsibility of the executive director and the staff here to carry

out the will of convention with regard to the percentage that will go on to SBC

causes, and to be the best stewards we can of the resources that are entrusted

to the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

“I think we can do that best by celebrating — not lamenting — what God is doing

with Cooperative Program funds,” he said.

Chitwood will begin duties as executive director July 1.