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Ky. Baptists form GC task force

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (BP)–Messengers approved the formation of a Great Commission Task Force during the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s annual meeting.

Meeting at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown Nov. 10, the 840 registered messengers also elected a Bowling Green evangelist as president; adopted a $23.5 million budget; considered a bylaw change to reduce the size of the KBC mission board; and adopted a constitutional amendment that further defines what constitutes a “cooperating church.”

During the mission board’s report, KBC President John Mark Toby presented a recommendation calling for the creation of a Great Commission Task Force to study “how Kentucky Baptists can work more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.” Coming on the heels of the formation of a Great Commission Resurgence Task Force by the Southern Baptist Convention in June, the 15-member Kentucky task force will be led by Frankfort pastor Hershael York.

Don Mathis, staff evangelist at Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green, became the first two-time convention president in nearly 50 years. A full-time evangelist since 1999, who earlier served as pastor of five churches in the state, Mathis previously was KBC president in 1985-86. He also served as executive director of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists from 1991-94.

Serving with Mathis will be Adam Greenway, assistant professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as first vice president and Rick Hatley, pastor of High Point Baptist Church in Mayfield, as second vice president. All officers were elected by acclamation for the third consecutive year.

Messengers adopted a $23.5 million Cooperative Program budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, a 4 percent reduction from the current budget. Funds passed along to support Southern Baptist Convention causes will increase by 0.68 percent to 38 percent, while 62 percent will be retained for KBC missions and ministry.

The convention’s evangelism growth team leader, Ross Bauscher, reported that Kentucky Baptist churches have ordered more than 1.4 million bags containing a Gospel presentation as part of the upcoming “Find It Here” evangelism campaign. Associational organizers anticipate that church members will distribute the bags to all of the state’s estimated 1.5 million households in March, Bauscher said.

A proposed bylaw change, which will be voted on during next year’s annual meeting, will reduce the membership of the state mission board from 171 members to 118 over the next five years. Following a study conducted by an ad hoc committee, the recommendation essentially changes the method for determining associational representation on the board from being based on total church membership to resident membership. Reducing the mission board’s size will both reduce expenses and allow for more meaningful service, according to KBC officials.

By approving a constitutional amendment, messengers defined a cooperating KBC church as a congregation of baptized believers who are in general agreement with any of the historic Baptist confessions of faith. The definition also calls for churches to voluntarily report data to the state convention on a regular basis.

Among five adopted resolutions were statements encouraging participation in the Find It Here campaign, pledging to pray earnestly for the national and state Great Commission task forces, and calling on Congress to ensure that the sanctity of human life will be respected in any health care legislation.

The 2010 KBC annual meeting will be Nov. 16 at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington.
Todd Deaton is editor of the Western Recorder (www.westernrecorder.org), newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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