LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Dr. Todd Gray is taking a roll-up-your-sleeves approach in his new role as executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Thursday was the first official day as the leader of the KBC for Gray, who was confirmed through the Mission Board a week ago after emerging as the candidate to become the 29th executive director of the convention.
Gray is willing to put in the groundwork and will take on the responsibility with humility and an eagerness to learn from individuals who can tell him how the KBC’s partnership can make a difference in the life of a pastor or church.
Gray said he would follow guiding principles of leading by example, working collaboratively with staff and churches and focusing the work on the mission of the KBC.
“The KBC has a wonderful mission statement: created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ,” he said. “There's a million things that an organization could do. But if they don't fit into that mission statement, we don't need to be doing them. And I'll strive to filter the work that we do through the mission statement that we have.”
The 54-year-old Gray is casting a vision for how the KBC can better impact its 2,400 churches and 750,000 members and much of that will come with a personal touch from him. He wants face-to-face interactions with agency and institution leaders in the state to learn what needs and challenges they face and how the KBC can better partner with them.
Gray, who served in three churches as pastor for 20 years before coming to the KBC in 2012, understands the importance of a helping hand.
“I want to make sure that we, as a state convention mission board staff, are serving our bi-vocational leaders well, that we're doing the best we can to help them have what they feel like they need to be successful,” he said.
For his own insight and edification, Gray will be spending valuable time with the KBC Mission Board staff – the men and women working alongside him in the trenches everyday. Specifically he said Steve Rice, Eric Allen, Jim Donnell and Curtis Woods are “outstanding team leaders. I will spend time with them and hear their heart, share my heart with them as well, and share a little bit more of this vision with them.”
An increase in missions giving and baptisms in Kentucky are visions Gray hopes comes to fruition in the first five years of his tenure. His heart is ripe toward evangelism, an area where he’s flourished the past three years as a team leader in the KBC. Evangelism and missions, of course, go hand-in-hand.
“I would love to see us grow toward the 2,500 mark (in churches), at least move in that direction, and let us see the (downward) trends reversed in baptism,” Gray said.
Gray said during his first year, there are many people in KBC life that he wants to meet, maybe even walk a day in their shoes and try to learn about the struggles they face – and hear what the KBC can do to alleviate some of that stress. He’s looking forward to meeting with KBC agency leaders at organizations like Sunrise Children’s Service, Oneida Baptist Institutes and Clear Creek Baptist Bible College.
“I want to spend time with African-American pastors,” he said. “I don't know what it's like to be an African-American pastor. They face challenges that I'm not familiar with. So I want to learn how we can better serve our African-American churches and Hispanic churches and pastors. I want to spend time learning from them about how KBC can better provide services for them and help them in their work.”
A vision of working together in all areas has Gray excited about the possibilities.
“Dr. Curtis Woods has made the phrase ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ popular in KBC life,” he said. “We're better when we think together and we involve multiple voices in our projects and in our planning.”