LEXINGTON, Ky. (BP) — With approval of the 2013-14 budget, Kentucky Baptist Convention messengers have fast-tracked a 50/50 allocation of their Cooperative Program funds with the Southern Baptist Convention.
The action was taken during the Nov. 13 KBC annual meeting at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, attended by 651 messengers.
KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood presented a CP allocation budget for the coming fiscal year that will see the convention achieve a 50/50 split between KBC and SBC ministries much sooner than the 10-year goal that was recommended by the Kentucky Great Commission Task Force in 2010.
Two years ago, KBC messengers adopted a report from the task force that established a decade-long plan for achieving an even distribution of CP funds, minus shared expenses.
The 2013-14 budget accelerates that plan by several years, factoring in 10 percent of the budget as shared expenses. In the original plan, the GCTF called for such expenses to account for only 4 percent of the budget.
At $22.5 million, the total budget goal is $1 million less than that of the current fiscal year — a reduction of about 4.25 percent.
While the budget is presented as an even split between KBC and SBC causes, the 10 percent in shared expenses — $2.25 million — will remain with the KBC to be used for promoting the Cooperative Program, benefitting both the state and national conventions. In actuality, 45 percent will be distributed to the SBC. If the budget goal is met, that would total $10,125,000.
In presenting the budget to messengers, Chitwood said the plan to accelerate the transition to a 50/50 split is a two-step process. Approval of the 2013-14 budget is step No. 1.
Step No. 2 comes with the 2014-15 budget that will be voted on at next year’s annual meeting in Paducah. The shared expenses — or “Cooperative Program resourcing” as Chitwood termed it — will be reduced from 10 to 7 percent.
Paducah pastor Dan Summerlin was elected as KBC president. (See biographical section following this story.) When the 2013 meeting convenes at Lone Oak First Baptist Church there next November, it will mark the first time since the General Assembly of Baptists in Kentucky was renamed the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 1961 its president will be pastor of the host church.
All five new officers ran unopposed. In addition to Summerlin, they are: first vice president, Tom James, pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green; second vice president, Tommy Tapscott, associate pastor of First Baptist Church of East Bernstadt; secretary, Wilma Simmons, a member of Big Spring Baptist Church; and assistant secretary, Pat Reaves, a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Louisville. Both Simmons and Reaves were re-elected to their respective posts.
KBC messengers overwhelmingly approved a resolution on protecting freedom of speech and the exercise of religion in the United States.
The resolution refers specifically to President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as growing public support for same-sex marriage. In the face of both issues, the resolution urges Kentucky Baptists to “support candidates and policies that are consistent with a biblical worldview.”
Furthermore, the resolution affirms that Americans’ exercise of religion “requires a faith that is public” and denounces “any labeling of a historical, orthodox interpretation of Scripture as ‘hate speech,’ ‘bigotry’ or ‘prejudice.'”
The KBC is “standing with individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions who are trying to follow their freedom of religion and their right to follow biblical standards,” said Chip Pendleton, the resolutions committee chair, in introducing the resolution to messengers.
The resolution also affirms those who speak in favor of a “traditional definition of marriage as a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.”
Another resolution calls on churches “to recognize the opportunity God is providing us by bringing the world to us” in ministering to the state’s growing foreign-born population.
“Kentucky has undergone quite a seismic shift in demographics over the last few years,” Pendleton told messengers. That shift includes more than 3 percent of the state’s population coming from other countries. It is estimated that as many as 50,000 of those individuals are undocumented.
Acknowledging that all men and women are “endowed with the image of God,” the resolution condemns “any form of bigotry, mistreatment or exploitation” of Kentucky’s foreign-born population. It also encourages repudiation of “harassment or exclusion from human rights on the basis of immigration status.”
The resolution calls on Kentucky Baptist churches to organize ministries for the ethnic people groups in their communities, ministering both to their physical and spiritual needs.
“We pray for our congregations to demonstrate the racial reconciliation which is only possible through the Gospel,” it states.
In another resolution, messengers expressed their appreciation for the 175th anniversary of the formation of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, as the KBC was originally known. The name was changed to Kentucky Baptist Convention in 1961.
Convention-goers also looked ahead to 2013 when Woman’s Missionary Union will celebrate its 125th anniversary and the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions turns 100 years old.
— The KBC Mission Board voted unanimously to postpone a vote to end its partnership agreement with Georgetown College. Convention messengers were notified of the board’s decision at the KBC annual meeting the next day.
The decision to delay the vote to sever ties between the two entities came on the heels of an announcement by Georgetown College President William Crouch that he plans to retire next year.
Floyd Paris, chairman of the KBC’s administrative committee, told the Mission Board Nov. 12 that the school is in a time of transition and the vote should be delayed “to see which direction they’re going to go” in finding a new president.
Crouch announced Nov. 2 that he would end his 21-year tenure at Georgetown College on June 30, 2013. A 12-member committee to find his successor has been formed.
In recent years, rifts have developed between the college and the convention, prompting a KBC workgroup in September to recommend severing all ties to the college.
In contention, according to the workgroup, were issues related to the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, with ties to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, that is housed on the Georgetown campus; a recent, broader revision of the college’s “Christian Identity” statement; and removal of a prior requirement from college bylaws that 75 percent of the trustees be Kentucky Baptists.
Georgetown College is the oldest Kentucky Baptist-affiliated educational institution, dating back to its founding in 1829. An agreement between the KBC and Georgetown inked in 1942 allowed the convention to select the school’s trustees in exchange for annual funding.
In 2005, the college and the convention negotiated a deal that allowed Georgetown to revert back to an independent, self-perpetuating board of trustees. Yearly Cooperative Program contributions to the school were phased out over four years, ending in 2009, leaving only the exisiting ministry partnership.
— Messengers approved a change to the convention’s constitution and bylaws that requires a church to have been a “bona fide contributor through the Cooperative Program” in the prior fiscal year in order to be represented at annual meetings.
The change received a first reading at last year’s convention in Florence. It passed unanimously, far exceeding the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass.
The reworded Article IV also decreases the minimum number of churches’ messengers from two to one. Moreover, the criteria for additional church representatives was amended as one messenger for every 250 “resident members.” The maximum messengers a church can appoint remains at 10.
According to the KBC’s Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, the changes reflect the committee’s belief that “the Cooperative Program should be the uniform financial baseline for determining if a church is in friendly cooperation with the KBC.”
Next year’s KBC annual meeting will be Nov. 12 at Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah.
Drew Nichter is news director of the Western Recorder ( www.westernrecorder.org), newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
New KBC president
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Paducah pastor Dan Summerlin, elected as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, preached the convention sermon in 2010 and was elected as KBC first vice president that year.
Summerlin was part of the 15-member Kentucky Great Commission Task Force that recommended a 50/50 allocation of Cooperative Program funds between Kentucky and Southern Baptist missions causes by 2020.
A member of the SBC Executive Committee, Summerlin is less than a month from marking 10 years as the pastor at Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah. An Alabama native, he holds both a master’s degree and doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
According to the 2011 Annual Church Profile report, Lone Oak First Baptist Church gave $291,933 (9.54 percent of its undesignated receipts) to the Cooperative Program, ranking No. 3 among all KBC churches in total CP gifts. The church also reported 55 baptisms.
The Western Recorder did a question-and-answer article with Summerlin that can be accessed at www.westernrecorder.org/baptist-hidden/1028-lone-presidential-nominee-summerlin-discusses-goals-for-kbc.
(Compiled from reports by the Western Recorder.)