Gray encourages, exhorts Ky. Baptists to ‘strive together’

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) - Highlighting the work of the convention’s mission board and celebrating the work of Kentucky Baptist leaders, newly hired Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Gray encouraged messengers to keep moving forward in his first report in the lead role.

Gray plowed new ground presenting the Women’s Leadership Award for the first time to Garnetta Smith, who was recognized for her years of service within Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, with the KBC and on the staff of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Smith is currently the director of the Center for Student Success at the seminary and Boyce College.

Gray presented Milestone Baptism Awards to Warren Association of Baptists, Somerset Baptist Church, and Franklin Community Church. In addition, he presented a posthumous leadership award to Steve Curtis, who pastored Providence Baptist Church in Franklin for 36 years. During those years they baptized 1,138 and led their association in baptisms for 26 of those 36 years.

Gray challenged Kentucky Baptists to continue to press on during turbulent times.

“In many cases it seems easier to huddle up with our group of Christian friends than to engage the lost with the gospel,” he said.

He reminded messengers to keep in mind that “about 80 percent of our state’s population does not attend any church anywhere on Sunday morning.”

“I don’t know what that means to you but, for me, it indicates about eight out of 10 Kentuckians are lost and on their way to hell,” Gray said. “This is not the time to pull back, to peel off, to fight small battles or to turn inward. This is the time to redouble our efforts and strive together to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.”

Resolutions enacted by messengers

Six resolutions were unanimously passed by messengers:

On Appreciation to the Host Church and City: The Kentucky Baptist Convention thanked Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington for being the 2019 Annual Meeting host site.

On Gambling: Gambling violates many biblical principles and has therefore been condemned. All Kentucky Baptists are warned against the destruction of gambling and urged not to personally participate in such a sin.

On the Evil of Sexual Abuse: With increased awareness of sexual abuse, some of which has occurred in churches, Kentucky Baptists condemn all forms of such abuse and resolve ways to handle abuse cases with care and diligence.

On Biblical Justice: Biblical justice is defined by a commitment to address injustice and protect the vulnerable through application of scriptural principles instead of those that are antithetical to the Christian faith.

On the Importance of Moral Leadership: Poor moral choices have led to the downfall of many leaders in America. Because the church has a responsibility to proclaim moral standards, leaders throughout the nation are implored to abide by these standards.

On Evangelism and Soul-winning: Believers in Jesus have a duty and motivation to share the gospel of Christ to those who don’t yet know. Pastors and church members alike are implored to evangelize both publicly and privately, utilizing intentional, evangelistic strategies to increase the number of people reached.

Newly Affiliated Churches

The Committee on Credentials recommended 14 churches for affiliation with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. The committee also recommended one churches to be placed under Watchcare for the coming year. These recommendations were approved by the messengers. The newly affiliated churches are:

1. Commonwealth City, Lexington

2. Hispanic Church at Parkland, Shepherdsville

3. Iglesia Bautistia Jerusalen, Louisville

4. KY Lake Cowboy Church, Nortonville

5. Louisville Chin Church, Louisville

6. Midland Community Church, Shelbyville

7. New Breed Church, Louisville

8. Summit Community Church, Whitesburg

9. Trinity Church, Crestwood

10. Trinity Nepali, Lexington

11. Creekside Church, Pikeville

12. Beacon Baptist Church, Bimble

13. The Journey Church, Elizabethtown

14. River Side Baptist Church, Greensburg

The church to be placed under Watchcare include Iglesia Cristiana Renacer in Somerset.

Project budget approved

Messengers also approved mission board recommendations. The most significant is that of the projected 2020-2021 budget in the amount of $22,150,000. Messengers had previously approved the 2019-2020 budget of $22,000,000 at the November 13, 2018 meeting in Pikeville.

Committee on Nominations

KBC Committee on Nominations Chair Jason Lowe presented a report listing 33 Kentucky Baptists from churches across the state named to serve on the Mission Board. Most will be serving full terms lasting through most of 2022. The Committee on Nominations also presented recommendations for trustees and/or directors of boards to serve on KBC agencies and institutions. Messengers at Tuesday’s annual meeting approved the committee’s recommendations. For a complete list, go to www.kybaptist.org/nominations.

New officers selected 

A slate of new KBC officers were elected by acclimation on Tuesday, ending with the naming of Central Baptist Church Pastor Chad Fugitt as president.

“Chad has a proven track record of leadership in a variety of roles in KBC life,” said Corinth Baptist Church Pastor Andrew Dyer of London, who nominated Fugitt for the position.

Fugitt has served in multiple leadership positions for Kentucky Baptists including KBC second vice president, KBC Pastors’ Conference president, member of the state’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, KBC Mission Board member (two terms), Administrative Committee member (six years), member of the Committee on Nominations (two terms) and in varying roles in his local association.

Under Fugitt’s pastorate, Central Baptist in Corbin has experienced tremendous growth with more than 250 baptisms in the past eight years. He also led the church in giving 11.5 percent to Cooperative Program missions in 2018.

Other officers elected by acclimation were first vice president Wes Fowler, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mayfield; second vice president Greg Gilbert, pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville; secretary Wilma Simmons, member of Big Springs Baptist Church in Vine Grove; and assistant secretary Pat Reeves, member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Louisville. Simmons has served as convention secretary since 1991.

President’s Address

KBC President Tim Searcy challenged messengers and guests at the annual meeting with the question: Is Christ worthy of our trust? The answer came back with a resounding, “He is!” Preaching from Revelation 5, Searcy said when Christians cry out to God in discouragement over the way things are in the world, they should find comfort in knowing the Prince of Peace is coming and with Him the perfect kingdom.

“Stop crying. The victory is already won!” said Searcy. Instead, focus on whether you are living a life worthy of the gospel and worthy of the “Lamb who was slaughtered.”

“The gospel is not just for Jews, Americans or any other people group. It is for all,” said Searcy, pastor of Allen Baptist Church near Prestonsburg. “Will we carry the gospel to the ends of the earth?” The answer came back: “We will!”

Greetings from denominational partners

Convention history was made at the meeting as two sitting presidents from Southern Baptist seminaries, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, and Adam Greenway, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, addressed messengers. Both pointed to longtime partnerships between the seminaries and Kentucky Baptists and a list of Kentuckians who were trained at the schools.

International Mission Board missionaries to Zimbabwe, Nick and Kyndra Moore, thanked messengers for their support of missions and direct partnerships. Short-term mission teams from 20 Kentucky Baptist churches have worked directly with the Moores to train pastors for the past five years.

Representatives from Guidestone Financial Services, Lifeway Christians Resources and the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee also addressed messengers.

Future sites selected

Messengers voted to confirm First Baptist Church of Bowling Green as the 2021 KBC Annual Meeting host site. The 2020 host site is Bellevue Baptist Church in Owensboro. The Kentucky Baptist Pastors’ Conference will take place in those same cities the Monday before the annual meeting.

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