LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky's largest religious organization gathers in Louisville in a few weeks, likely making an impact on the local economy and the spiritual lives of residents.
"We realize our convention will have an impact on Louisville hotels, restaurants and other businesses with so many people coming to town, and we're pleased to be helpful in that way," said Paul Chitwood, executive director of the 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention. "But the greatest impact we could hope to have on this city will be coming alongside area churches to share the gospel with the people who live here."
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer extended a warm welcome to visiting guests.
“Louisville is a city with a strong faith tradition, a place where compassion is a core value,” Fischer said. “It’s only fitting then, that the Kentucky Baptist Convention be meeting here, given its own commitment to working every day to make the lives of Kentuckians better. Our city is experiencing great economic momentum right now, and we’re pleased to have the KBC members join in, staying at our hotels, dining at our fine local restaurants, and trying out our uniquely Louisville entertainment, cultural and shopping scene.”
More than 1,700 people attended the KBC annual meeting when it was last held in Louisville in 2004.
“We are pleased the Kentucky Baptist Convention will once again be bringing their group to Louisville,” said Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. “Their investment and presence in Louisville is an important part of our growing convention industry and will positively impact hundreds of local businesses.”
Kentucky Baptists from across the state plan to engage in neighborhood evangelism, knocking on doors and telling Louisville residents about Jesus on Nov. 11. The pre-convention initiative, dubbed Crossover Louisville, also will involve an outreach built around a soccer tournament, a medical clinic at Refuge Louisville, and hands-on ministry projects at Iroquois High School three days ahead of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s annual meeting.
In addition to hosting the annual meeting, Highview Baptist Church will be the venue for the Kentucky Baptist Pastors' Conference a day prior to the annual meeting.
Chitwood said he is looking forward to sharing all the good work Kentucky Baptists are doing in the name of Christ.
"We are excited to be able to report on the growing impact of our churches," Chitwood said, "and that God continues to use their labors to bring the lost to Christ and give birth to new Kentucky Baptist churches across the state."
The Kentucky Baptist Convention reported 13,681 baptisms in 2016. Members of those churches also gave more than $30 million to worldwide missions in the past fiscal year.