LEXINGTON, Ky. — Messengers
to the 173rd annual meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) adopted a
plan to send more money “to the nations” and honored an executive director
nearing the end of his tenure.
Kentucky Baptists embarked
on a course that eventually will lead the convention to an equal division of
Cooperative Program (CP) funds between state and Southern Baptist causes.
After nearly an hour of
discussion, the report of the Great Commission Task Force (GCTF) containing
four key recommendations was passed by nearly two-thirds of messengers Nov. 16
at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky. — but not without some last-minute
Delivering the report on
behalf of the task force, chairman Hershael York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist
Church in Frankfort and a Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor,
announced significant changes to the task force’s second proposal.
In it, the group originally
called for the KBC to move to a reallocation of Cooperative Program funds to an
even 50/50 allocation between Kentucky Baptist and Southern Baptist Convention
missions and ministry causes within seven years.
That target date was
extended by three years, aiming now for an even split by the 2020-21 fiscal
The change “gives a little
more wiggle room, a little more time to strategize and flesh out exactly what
this would mean,” York told messengers.
The task force amended the
report’s proposal No. 2 even further, decreasing the required across-the-board
budget cuts for the KBC and its partnering entities, institutions and auxiliary
from 6 percent to 5 percent.
In addition, the extra 7
percent deduction for the convention’s two liberal arts colleges —
Campbellsville University and University of the Cumberlands — was dropped to 6
percent, resulting in an approximate 11 percent overall budget reduction
instead of the initial 12.58 percent.
The rest of proposal No. 2
was unchanged, including the elimination of the KBC’s contribution to the
annuities of pastors and church staff members (approximately $400,000) and a
reduction of Mission Board staff by 12 percent.
The task force’s proposal
No. 1 is the three-year “More for Christ” emphasis, described in the GCTF
report as “an intentional time of repentance, renewal and redirection for the
future” of the KBC.
Proposal No. 3, meanwhile,
urges all Kentucky Baptist churches to increase their Cooperative Program
giving by at least 0.25 percent of undesignated receipts per year, which would
result in a 3 percent bump in convention-wide CP gifts annually.
Proposal No. 4 allows for
the Great Commission Task Force to remain in place and report to KBC messengers
each year over the next decade.
The much-discussed Great
Commission report likely precipitated a significant bump in the messenger count
for this year’s meeting. With 1,185 messengers registered, it was the first
time since 2006 that KBC registration reached four figures.
Many of those messengers
were on hand to honor longtime KBC executive director Bill Mackey, who will retire
May 31, 2011.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Nichter is
news director for the Western Recorder, newsjournal for Kentucky Baptists.)