LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — More than $700,000 in Cooperative Program funding will shift from Kentucky Baptist Convention entities and institutions to support international missions and other Southern Baptist Convention causes, if recommendations from a special advisory workgroup are approved when the KBC Mission Board convenes May 6-7 in Louisville.
The special advisory team to KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood — tasked with studying the convention’s relationship with its 10 entities and institutions — presented their recommendations for adjusting the Cooperative Program allocations for each KBC entity to the Mission Board’s administrative committee. With its approval, the recommendations now advance for consideration by the Mission Board.
Overall, the advisory workgroup provided details for reducing CP funding for KBC entities and institutions over a two-year period by $706,911 –from $5,181,911 in the state convention’s 2012-13 budget to $4,475,000 in 2014-15.
The recent round of CP adjustments come as a second step in the KBC’s move toward a 50/50 allocation between KBC and SBC causes, taking into account a reduction in the Cooperative Program Resourcing portion from 10 percent to 7 percent. The first step entailed a reorganization of the Mission Board and the trimming of personnel by about one-third, for a net loss of 41 positions over the past decade.
A third step involves another advisory group currently strategizing for the future of the state’s Baptist campus ministry program.
“As I came to my role as executive director,” Chitwood said, “there was no question in my mind, nor in the search committee’s minds, that we were at a very critical and challenging place as a convention. With Cooperative Program giving continuing to be in decline and with us being staffed for a different era of ministry, we knew we needed to make some adjustments.
“We also knew we needed to make adjustments to meet the KBC Great Commission Task Force’s goals,” Chitwood added.
The GCTF report called for a transfer of CP funds to send more to the international mission field.
Though the goals, as adopted by the state convention in 2010, set a 10-year timetable for achieving the objective, Chitwood said he and Mission Board leaders felt that the KBC needed to move forward with the transition because of difficulties in budgeting year-to-year adjustments.
The workgroup’s recommendations are broken into two-parts: specific CP recommendations for each entity or institution, and three general recommendations for all KBC entities.
Chitwood has contacted each of the entity and institution leaders and offered to speak with their trustee boards to further explain the proposed CP adjustments.
“No one is excited about their funding being reduced,” he said. “These are difficult days for all of us, and this will require sacrifice of each agency and institution.
“But my impression also has been that each agency and institution is committed to being a good partner with the KBC,” Chitwood noted, “and they are grateful for every penny that comes through the sacrificial giving of our churches.”
Specific reductions in CP allotments proposed for each KBC entity and institution, accompanied by brief commendations and explanatory remarks in the document sent to the Mission Board, are:
— Baptist Healthcare System: from $5,617 to $5,000, a decrease of $617.
— Sunrise Children’s Services: from $311,708 to $300,000, a decrease of $11,708.
— Kentucky Baptist Assemblies/Crossings: from $339,752 to $330,000, a decrease of $9,752.
— Western Recorder: from $342,079 to $275,000, a decrease of $66,079.
— Kentucky Baptist Foundation: from $296,146 to $235,000, a decrease of $61,146.
— Woman’s Missionary Union: from $447,551 to 440,000, a decrease of $7,551.
— Campbellsville University and University of the Cumberlands: from $1,269,760 to $1,000,000 each, a decrease of $269,760 each.
— Clear Creek Baptist Bible College: from $540,323 to $535,000, a decrease of $5,323.
— Oneida Baptist Institute: from $360,215 to $355,000, a decrease of $5,215.
In addition to proposed CP adjustments, general recommendations for all KBC entities include:
— Expecting authentic Cooperative Program promotion, including administrators, trustees and employees modeling CP loyalty in their church memberships.
— Inviting the executive director-treasurer to join their respective governing boards as an ex-officio member.
— Striving to create an atmosphere that reflects the identity of KBC churches: high view of Scripture, doctrine consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message, and commitment to the Great Commission and cooperation.
NEED FOR ACTION
“I know it is going to be challenging for the agencies and institutions to make the adjustments they have to make to the CP allocation reductions,” Chitwood said.
Reemphasizing a mandate to take the Gospel to the nations, Chitwood said, “I hope that Kentucky Baptists will be able to celebrate their obedience to the Great Commission in knowing that this transition of funds is out of our conviction that we must make sacrifices at home to get the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
“My hope and prayer,” he added, “is that in knowing the sacrifices that our agencies and institutions, our mission boards, and all of the cooperative work that Kentucky Baptists and Southern Baptists are doing, Kentucky Baptists will be inspired to make a greater investment through the Cooperative Program.”
Todd Deaton is editor of the Western Recorder (www.westernrecorder.org), newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.