LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky Baptist churches were celebrated for achieving baptism milestones and high participation in missions at the Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting on Tuesday.
The awards were selected by the KBC Evangelism and Missions Mobilization teams.
Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Gray led the charge in recognizing two churches, one association, and one person for their extraordinary leadership in baptisms across the state.
“We always want to recognize churches that are leading the way evangelistically and seeing people come to faith and follow Jesus in baptism. Kentucky Baptists have a long history of leading the way in evangelism and love to celebrate people coming to faith in Christ.
“We tend to replicate what we celebrate and see more of what is highlighted. Every pastor struggles to stay consistent and faithful in their personal evangelism practices and in leading a church in evangelism,” Gray said. “This is a chance for us to highlight what we see God doing in a few locations in hopes of encouraging and inspiring others to lead evangelistically.”
First Baptist Church of Somerset was recognized for its 108 baptisms in past year. Franklin Community Church wasn’t far behind those numbers as they were recognized for its 105 baptisms in the same time period.
The Warren Association of Baptists in the Bowling Green area was recognized for 1,422 baptisms in the past year.
A posthumous award was given to pastor Steve Curtis of Providence Baptist Church for his 36 years of pastoral ministry. In this time, he had 1,138 baptisms, 78 percent of which were baptisms to new members.
Gray said the diversity and achievement of these four recipients display is impressive.
“We see pockets of encouragement with an historic county seat First Baptist Church like FBC Somerset baptizes over 100 people, and a community church like Franklin community with 300 or so people baptize over 100 others, and when an association of churches like Warren Association has a record year of 1,423 baptisms.
“Then to celebrate a faithful servant of Jesus like Steve Curtis, who has gone to be with the Lord, we are able to see that God works through ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.”
These convention leaders he mentioned were recognized and given an award at the Annual Meeting on Tuesday.
“KBC has one entire team, about 16 team members, devoted to helping churches reach Kentucky for Christ,” says Gray.
“In the months ahead we hope to have in place a new Team Leader for the Evangelism Team, to offer a wide variety of training opportunities across the state, to introduce an evangelism coaching system, to produce new evangelism resources, and to work with every pastor in the state who desires to grow in this area of his Christian life.”
The Evangelism Team also recognized the top ten leading churches in baptism based on total numbers and per capita. The top baptizing churches based on total numbers are:
1.Hillvue Heights, Bowling Green
2.Riverwoods Baptist, Benton
3.Better Life Baptist, Morehead
4.The Creek, London
5.Living Hope Baptist, Bowling Green
6.Crossland Community, Bowling Green
7.Immanuel Baptist, Corbin (tie)
7. Bethel Zomi, Louisville
9. Forks of Elkhorn Baptist, Midway
10. First Baptist Somerset, Somerset
The top 10 baptizing churches per capita are:
1.Elk Lick Baptist, Owenton
2.Bethel Zomi, Louisville
3.Apple Grove Baptist, Barbourville
4.Zo Baptist, Bowling Green
5.King Bee Baptist, Somerset
6.Lighthouse at Nolin, Mammoth Cave
7.Mount Zion Baptist, Bowling Green
8.Blackford Baptist, Hawesville
9.Riverwoods Baptist, Benton
10.Pleasant Hill Baptist, Williamsburg
“We appreciate every Kentucky Baptist church that is trying faithfully to engage their community with the gospel,” Gray said. “All of us celebrate together when God brings a harvest through any KBC church and we pray that harvest will be experienced in every KBC church.
“One of my initiatives as EDT for KBC is to lead in such a way as to impact the state in evangelism. We must do all we can to draw our focus away from small and minor matters and focus on the great work, the Great Commission, of reaching people with the gospel and raising up disciples who will make more disciples.”
Top Missions Participating
The Missions Mobilization Team recognized the top 10 missions participating churches in the state at the KBC Annual Meeting on Tuesday.
Eric Allen, Team Leader of the Missions Mobilization Team, explained the significance the recognition. “We recognize churches for giving and baptisms, so it seems only natural that we would also recognize churches for their missions participation. Counting the number we’re sending is more important than how many we’re seating each week and these churches get it.”
The top 10 missions participating churches are:
1.The Lighthouse at Nolin, Mammoth Cave
2.Elk Lick Baptist, Lewisburg
3.Inez First Baptist, Inez
4.West Corbin Baptist, Corbin
5.Wickland Baptist, Bardstown
6.Smithsboro Baptist, Vicco
7.White Stone Quarry Baptist, Bowling Green
8.Oak Grove Baptist, Monticello
9.Calvary Baptist, Bowling Green
10.Red Hill Baptist, Utica
“It is exciting to see a church increase its commitment to missions participation. I congratulate these churches that have shown a significant increase from one year to the next,” Allen said. “I applaud those pastors who challenge their church to get outside and go on mission because if he doesn’t champion missions sending, who will?”
The Annual Church Profile (ACP) suggests missions involvement in Kentucky is on the rise. Allen affirms, “We’ve experienced an increase in missions participation for three of the last four years. This is encouraging and I hope it means that more churches are making a conscious effort to challenge, equip and send their members.”
The rise of missions involvement in Kentucky will continue to increase exponentially as each local church catches the vision to reach “Kentucky and the world for Christ,” he said.
“We hope to see every church improve upon their missions participation. Every church, regardless of size, could send one more on mission this year than they did last year. If that happened, there would be 2,350 more people on mission this year!” Allen said.
The Missions Mobilization Team always stands ready to help the local church find missions opportunities both here in the state and abroad. Their resources and training have helped hundreds of Kentucky Baptist churches this year alone.
“Only God can move a church to be on mission, but we are doing are best to inspire, equip, mobilize and assist those that chose to,” Allen said. “The KBC will do everything we can to challenge and equip churches to go as we’re commanded, to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth.”