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LEXINGTON –A ministry with roots deep in the fabric of the commonwealth’s history will mark a milestone Nov. 13 as Kentucky Baptists gather at Immanuel Baptist Church for the 175th Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
In 1769, Squire Boone II, brother of explorer Daniel Boone, was the first Baptist preacher to enter what would become the commonwealth of Kentucky. Sixty-eight years later, messengers from 20 congregations formed the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky “to supply the destitute with the preaching of the gospel.”
Today there are approximately 2,400 congregations from the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mountains, with more than 750,000 members.
“The Kentucky Baptist Convention is actually eight years older than the Southern Baptist Convention,” KBC President Adam Greenway said. “Kentucky Baptists have a heart for the gospel and a history of working together to share that message with the world.”
The 175th anniversary comes at a time of great change for the convention, Greenway said. “The annual meeting will be an opportunity to celebrate our history, but it will also be a time to look forward.”
In recent years, Kentucky Baptists have voted to send more money to the North American and international mission fields. In response, this year the KBC Mission Board began restructuring its staff to make the most of the monies staying in Kentucky.
Kentucky Baptists support missions and other causes through a unified fund, the Cooperative Program.
“Through the Cooperative Program, every contributing Kentucky Baptist church plays a part in sharing the gospel here at home, across North America and around the world,” said KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood.
“The people who formed the General Association in 1837 had a great sense of urgency about sharing the gospel with everyone in Kentucky,” Chitwood said. “By sending more CP dollars to Southern Baptist causes, I think Kentucky Baptists have demonstrated an urgent desire to share Christ with the world while staying faithful to the mission in Kentucky.”
Chitwood noted that Kentucky Baptists’ missions support through the Cooperative Program was keenly felt this year as CP giving increased from the previous year for the first time in four years.
“This increase isn’t just because the economy has seen some modest improvement compared to four years ago,” Chitwood said. “The increase is a result of Kentucky Baptists’ sacrificial giving and dedication to supporting missions through CP.”
The annual meeting exhibit hall has always been a place where Kentucky Baptists can discover how Cooperative Program dollars are used. This year KBC staff are offering a complimentary coffee shop to encourage Kentucky Baptists to stop, chat and learn more about the staff restructuring.
“We have consultants dedicated to specific ministry areas and we have consultants who live and serve across the state,” Chitwood explained. “We have additional staff to help with starting new churches, meeting physical needs while sharing Christ with others, and with creative ideas to introduce themselves to everyone in their neighborhood and community.”
This year’s convention sermon will be by Jason Pettus, pastor of Living Hope Baptist Church in Bowling Green. Greenway also will address the convention.
Leading in worship will be the gospel trio, Greater Vision; First Baptist Church of Mt. Washington’s praise team; the host church’s praise team; Kentucky Baptist Chorales; and the Oneida Baptist Institute Choir.
In addition to Chitwood’s report, Kentucky Baptists will receive updates from the 10 agencies and institutions in covenant agreement with the KBC, such as Kentucky’s Baptist colleges and universities and Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union.
Convention business will include electing new officers, considering budget goals for fiscal year 2013-14 and a recommendation to conclude KBC’s ministry partnership with Georgetown College.
Messengers also will hear recommendations for revisions to the KBC Constitution and Bylaws. Among the proposals is to officially codify the use of electronic meetings to speed up between-session business and save money in travel costs.
This year’s meeting will conclude after two sessions, at approximately 6 p.m., EST.
Immanuel Baptist Church is located at 3100 Tates Creek Rd., Lexington.
The Kentucky Baptist Pastors’ Conference begins Nov. 12 at 2 p.m., also at Immanuel Baptist Church. For details, visit www.kybaptist.org/pastorsconference.
Messengers may register for the annual meeting starting at 12 p.m. on Nov. 12 and extending through the pastors’ conference and on Nov. 13 through the opening of the last session. Messenger cards will be available at the registration table and will not be mailed in advance.
KBC will provide care for children, 8 weeks to 5th grade, during the pastors’ conference and annual meeting for $10 per child per day or a maximum of $25 per family per day. For details, visit www.kybaptist.org/annualmeeting ahttp://www.kybaptist.org/annualmeetingnd click on “child care.”
At this year’s meeting a series of banners will be unveiled highlighting touchstones in Kentucky Baptist history. Kentucky Baptist associations and agencies and institutions will learn how to borrow the banners for their own special events.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is a cooperative missions and ministry organization made up of nearly 2,400 autonomous Baptist churches in Kentucky. A variety of state and worldwide ministries are coordinated through its administrative offices in Louisville, including: missions work, disaster relief, ministry training and support, church development, evangelism and more.
For more information, visit the KBC website at www.kybaptist.org or find “Kentucky Baptist Convention” on Facebook or follow “kentuckybaptist” on Twitter.