LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky Baptists gave nearly $30 million over the past 12 months to get the gospel to the nations, including nearly $21.7 million through the Cooperative Program, surpassing the budget goal of $21.5 million.
“Our churches are clearly bent on making sure everyone in the world hears the gospel,” said Paul Chitwood, executive director of the 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention. “These funds help cover the expense of keeping 3,600 international missionaries working in countries around the world, plus some 10,000 other missionaries who are sharing the gospel here in North America.”
Nearly 2,400 Kentucky Baptist churches have forged a partnership to follow the biblical directive from Acts 1:8 to share the gospel in their local communities, across the state, throughout the nation, and around the world. The Cooperative Program, which Chitwood describes as “the greatest evangelistic initiative of our day,” is the primary means through which that is achieved.
KBC business manager Lowell Ashby said the total giving through the Cooperative Program for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31 was $21,678,271. That was down 2.9 percent from the $22,314,363 the previous year. Kentucky Baptists gave an additional $5,168,814 through the Lottie Moon offering for international missions, $2,373,054 through the Annie Armstrong offering for North American missions, and $1,224,293 through the Eliza Broadus offering for state missions.
Chitwood said he’s hopeful that Cooperative Program giving will increase in the coming year, but he said he also wants to be realistic in that trends reflect a decline in giving across the country.
“These funds are crucial for keeping international missionaries in places that the average congregation would never have an opportunity to reach working alone,” Chitwood said. “By partnering through the Cooperative Program, Kentucky Baptists are, at this moment, helping hurricane victims in Florida and Texas, planting new churches in Kentucky and elsewhere, helping orphaned children, sharing the gospel with students on colleges and universities across the state, helping to train the next generation of ministers and missionaries, revitalizing churches that have fallen into decline, encouraging pastors, training church leaders, and so much more.”