LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky Baptists have given nearly $15 million over the past eight months to support the work of missionaries and ministries within their home state, across the country and around the world.
Becky Harris, accounting director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, provided that financial update to the state Mission Board on Monday, telling members that total gifts through the Cooperative Program are on pace to surpass $22 million by the end of the summer.
“It’s amazing to see the generosity of Kentucky Baptists when it comes to getting the gospel to the nations,” said Paul Chitwood, executive director-treasurer of the 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention. “These are people who understand the great value of working cooperatively to ensure the world knows the good news of Christ.”
Kentucky Baptists, working jointly through the Cooperative Program provide funding that keeps 3,500 international missionaries in the field in countries around the world, plus another 10,000 missionaries on the front lines in North America.
The Cooperative Program provides a means for nearly 2,400 Kentucky Baptist churches to be engaged in 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 Kentucky Mission Board, meeting in Louisville, approved a $21.5 million Cooperative Program budget for next fiscal year, which runs from Sept. 1 through Aug. 30, 2019. Chitwood said the budget trims overall personnel costs primarily through retirements and the merger of the Business Services Team with the Executive Office Team.
The move, Chitwood said, could save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Chitwood said the merger also puts Kentucky Baptists in a stronger position to support ministries to the homeless and hungry in the U.S. and abroad, prepare the next generation of church leaders through the Southern Baptist Convention colleges and seminaries, take the gospel into jails and prisons, and help to free people caught up in human trafficking.
“Kentucky Baptists are caring for more abused and neglected children through Sunrise Children’s Services than we’ve ever cared for in our history, approximately 1,200,” Chitwood said. “More than 14,000 teens and older children will hear the gospel in our Crossings camps this summer, more ministry couples will be encouraged at Shepherding, more churches will be planted, more broken lives will be touched through Disaster Relief, refugee ministries, homeless ministries, and collegiate ministries. More pastors will be encouraged and equipped by our regional consultants, trained by our Evangelism Team, and more churches are being connected to mission opportunities in Kentucky and around the world through our Mission Mobilizations Team.”