RICHMOND, Va. – The International Mission Board’s presidential search committee pointed to the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s accomplishments under the leadership of its executive director, Paul Chitwood, in recommending him to lead the world’s largest missionary sending organization.
Here are some of the factors the search committee took note of:
• Cooperative Program gifts from Kentucky Baptist Convention churches grew this year by over 4.5 percent. The KBC, under Chitwood’s leadership, has increased the amount of their CP budget giving to Southern Baptist Convention causes by 8.5 percent. In his 18 years as a pastor, the churches Chitwood led gave an average of 18.5 percent of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program.
• Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, during Chitwood’s tenure at KBC, have surpassed $35 million. Annie Armstrong Easter Offering gifts for North American missions have surpassed $16 million.
• This year, the KBC welcomed the largest number of newly affiliating churches in the past 12 years.
• The number of Kentucky Baptists involved in volunteer mission trips has grown at a rate of more than 5,000 per year, consistently totaling more than 100,000 Kentucky Baptists serving in volunteer missions.
• KBC launched an online news service called Kentucky Today, which has more than 500,000 unique website users over the past year and well over 1.5 million pageviews. Kentucky Today was read in 1,978 cities, towns, communities and in 198 countries over the past year.
• Chitwood led the KBC to adopt a new mission statement in 2012 that focused its work exclusively on helping churches. It reads, “The Kentucky Baptist Convention: Created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.”
• Together, Chitwood and his wife, Michelle, have led a campaign to engage Kentucky Baptists in orphan care through their “Be the One” campaign with Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children. The Chitwoods lead by example as foster parents themselves. The number of abused and neglected children served by the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children has tripled to more than 1,300.
• Chitwood led the KBC toward greater diversity by hiring and elevating more African American and Hispanic leaders. The KBC hosts an annual mission trip to work with an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe, pairing African American pastors from Kentucky with white pastors who then work side by side sharing the gospel and equipping church leaders in Africa.
• KBC Disaster Relief partners with Baptist Global Response in unique ways. KBC has adopted Sub- Saharan Africa for disaster relief work and to train African in disaster and crisis relief work, enabling them to better serve the hurting and giving them more opportunities to share the gospel.