Reports to Mission Board underscore evangelism emphasis

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky Baptists’ emphasis on evangelism and how the agencies, institutions and committees reflect these priorities was on display during the annual two-day Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board meetings, which wrapped up Tuesday.

Encouraging reports was the theme of the meetings. Below is a capsule look at the reports:

Church Consulting and Revitalization Committee

Committee Chairman Brad Walker, pastor of Briensburg Baptist Church, emphasized the CCR team is a vital resource to Kentucky Baptist churches and shared several updates.

•Jason “Bubba” Stewart, worship and music consultant for the KBC, has released a new Worship Planner to assist worship pastors across the state. It can be downloaded at www.kybaptist.org/worshipplanner.

•Mediation assistance is available for churches going through times of conflict.

•Search committee assistance is available for churches with vacant positions.

•The website https://church-revitalization.com/ is a great resource to direct churches to consultants in their region.

•Consultant Rick Howerton is releasing 36 four-minute videos in 2020 titled “Wise Counsel for Pastors and Church Leaders.” Church leaders will be able to receive them via email. Text COUNSEL to 22828 to get started.

Agencies and Institutions

From the Agencies and Institutions Committee, Nate Bishop reminded the Mission Board, “We want to continue to be praying for [our agencies and institutions].” He said the institutions are a major part of countless people experiencing the love of Jesus across the state.

Bishop also said the committee is developing recommendations on suicide prevention that will be instituted for Oneida Baptist Institute and Sunrise Children’s Services.

The committee hopes to present those recommendations at the May Mission Board meeting.

Sunrise Children’s Services

Dale Suttles was excited to report Sunrise Children’s Services had a role in more than 500 adoptions in the organization's history, including 84 this year.

He shared a powerful story of a young man, John, a former gang member. In the past six months, John’s life drastically changed because of Sunrise, Suttles said.

“We tend to look at the orphan as ‘damaged goods.’ We’re all guilty of this,” said Suttles, who encouraged Mission Board members to “get in the inner cities and the community around us” and live out the gospel.

Because of Sunrise, at least 100 lives have been changed this year through salvation in Jesus, Suttles said.

Suttles implored Kentucky Baptists to pray for Sunrise with a new administration taking over in Frankfort. The outgoing Bevin administration was supportive of Sunrise’s convictions and initiatives and Suttles prays the support will continue in the administration of new Gov. Andy Beshear.

Woman’s Missionary Union

Liz Encinia, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky WMU, praised Kentucky Baptists for their generous giving to Lottie Moon ($5 million), Annie Armstrong ($3 million) and Eliza Broadus ($1 million) offerings in 2019. The money goes to support missions and missions’ education worldwide.

Encinia outlined several of WMU’s recent projects.

•A new Eliza Broadus Offering booklet created to explain purpose and use of monies given.

•Missions education groups (RAs and GAs) continue “to be intentional in equipping the body of Christ in missions.”

•Initiatives continue to promote “praying, giving, learning, and serving” for missions.

•Curriculum benchmarks are being added to answer, “Are students learning how to evangelize? Prayer walk? Be culturally adept for missions?”

•Kentucky WMU is partnering with SEND Relief Center in the South Bronx, called Graffiti 2, and Montana WMU.

•“Missions Adventures for Kentucky Kids” is rebranding to “Changers Kids” to help with first introductions to missions’ experiences.

Evangelism Committee

“The Kentucky Baptist Convention is in the soul-winning business because God is in the soul-winning business,” said Randy McPheron, AMS for the Rockcastle Association and chair of the Evangelism Committee.

McPheron said the various initiatives the KBC Evangelism Team has put into place have helped to reach Kentucky for Christ.

•“Church planting is a lonely ministry, but prayer and encouragement can help," McPheron said. The Barnabus Initiative was designed to help with this need among church planters. Individuals, small groups and entire churches can sign up to be an encourager for one of the 40 church planters in Kentucky.

•Evangelistic coaches across the state will come alongside younger pastors and mentor them in evangelistic practices in pastoral ministry.

•Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) across the state continue to thrive as they touch thousands of students with the gospel message weekly.

McPheron said he was confident Kentucky has the “most evangelistic state executive director-treasurer (Todd Gray) in the SBC.” He was excited about the possibilities for evangelism in the state and says, “we are on the brink of revival.”

Missions Mobilization Team

“We are filling your mailbox with opportunities,” said Greg Lakes, chair of the Missions Mobilization Committee, holding a handful of postcards. He implored Kentucky Baptists to go on mission, reminding them of their eternal motivation by telling them some sobering statistics: “(A total of) 155,252 people will die today without Jesus Christ.”

•iGo Workshops are new events across the state to help mobilize churches for missions. These are intended for pastors, church staff and any other church leaders. Curriculum will instruct “going” both locally and globally. “It starts at home,” he said.

•Vision Trips for missions partnerships will continue to Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Salt Lake City, Zimbabwe and Brazil. See www.kybaptist.org/vision for more information.

•Disaster Relief efforts continue across our nation and abroad. Disaster Relief volunteer training opportunities for one of the many training locations in 2020 is at www.kybaptist.org/dr.

•International Team Leader Training is a “must” for anyone leading a mission trip this upcoming year, according to Lakes. Even if you’ve been trained before, the tips and lessons are always a good reminder. Plus, you will receive $300 toward your trip if you attend.

Business and Finance Committee

“We rejoice that God is providing!” said James Carroll, chair of the Business and Finance Committee. Cooperative Program giving is up 3.69% from where it was last year and special offerings are on the rise, he said.

The committee gave three recommendations:
Proposed year-end surplus distributions to special projects, reallocation of Western Recorder funds and transfer of property to FBC Russell Springs. All three recommendations passed unanimously.

Administrative Committee

David Stokes, chair of the Administrative Committee, prefaced his report by saying, “Evangelism permeates every part of the work we do.”

During his report, Rob Patterson was recommended and approved as the new Evangelism Team Leader. Andy McDonald was recommended and approved to fill Patterson’s now-vacant role as Regional Consultant. Finally, a new Missions Strategist position was recommended on the Missions Mobilization team. This motion was also approved.

Stokes reminded those in attendance “we are a convention ‘on mission’ to share the gospel.”

The next mission board meeting is scheduled for May 4-5, 2020.

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