Aug. 23, 2010
LOUISVILLE – Kentucky Baptists will move to an even distribution of Cooperative Program receipts with the Southern Baptist Convention and set an ambitious goal of increasing missions giving under a plan being proposed by the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Great Commission Task Force.
Click here to read the full report.
The Task Force’s recommendations will be presented to messengers for approval at the Kentucky Baptist Convention annual meeting at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington on Nov. 16.
The report was released today to give Kentucky Baptists adequate time to understand and react to four recommendations, said Task Force Chairman Hershael York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort and a former KBC president.
The report’s first recommendation is for the convention to launch a three-year spiritual emphasis to be called “More for Christ.”
The report also recommends changing the Cooperative Program allocations between KBC and Southern Baptist Convention causes to an even 50 percent-50 percent split by 2017 with the bulk of the shift occurring in 2011. Currently, 62 percent of CP receipts are shared by various KBC organizations and 38 percent is forwarded to the SBC.
The percentage split would be calculated after 4 percent in shared administrative expenses between the KBC and SBC is removed from the total. Shared expenses are those expenditures made by the state convention on behalf of the SBC. York said these shared expenses were recognized both in the original plans for the Cooperative Program and by the SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report approved by SBC messengers in June.
Additionally, the report calls for increased giving by churches and individuals to the Cooperative Program to achieve an overall increase in receipts of 3 percent per year for the next seven years. Achieving this goal would require churches on average to increase the percentage of undesignated giving that they contribute through the Cooperative Program by approximately .25 percent for each of the next seven years.
The final recommendation is to allow the task force to stay in place for the duration of the seven-year plan in order to monitor progress and report annually to Kentucky Baptists.
York said that while the committee found that Kentucky Baptists are using Cooperative Program funds effectively and efficiently, it felt led to find ways to send more funding into parts of the world where there is presently no Christian witness.
He said accomplishing this would require both the reallocation of current funding as well as greater faithfulness in giving from Kentucky Baptists as individuals and churches.
“We reached the conclusion that what we have here is a spiritual problem. It’s a spiritual issue. It’s not about money. It’s really about Jesus,” York said in describing the work of the 17-member panel. The task force was charged by messengers attending last year’s annual meeting to study “how Kentucky Baptists can work more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.”
“We believe we are going to have to have a paradigm shift in order to get more to unengaged and unreached peoples around the world,” he said.
The report said the “More for Christ” spiritual emphasis is to be an “intentional time of repentance, renewal, and redirection for the future.”
“It’s going to mean giving more of myself, more of my family, giving more for the lost, more for the needs, more for the nations…,” York said. “What we’re after is trying to create a culture of giving and generosity and of doing less for ourselves…so that everything we do is focused on Christ. Our prayer is that this is going to result in a great movement of the Holy Spirit.”
In implementing the committee’s recommendation to move to an even split of CP gifts, the biggest shift in funding would occur in the first year of the seven-year plan, York said. The CP allocation for Kentucky Baptist organizations would drop to 53.28 percent with 46.72 percent going to the SBC.
Kentucky organizations receiving Cooperative Program funds include the Kentucky Baptist Mission Board, Kentucky Baptist Assemblies, Kentucky Baptist Foundation, Sunrise Children’s Services, Western Recorder, Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union, Campbellsville University, Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, Oneida Baptist Institute and the University of the Cumberlands. A very small allocation also goes to the Baptist Healthcare System.
SBC organizations receiving CP allocations include the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, six Southern Baptist seminaries, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the SBC Executive Office and the SBC Historical Library and Archives.
To accomplish the allocation shift, the report calls for:
* a 6 percent across the board reduction in the KBC budget;
* eliminating the KBC’s contribution to the annuities of pastors and church staff members (approximately $400,000);
* further reducing the allocations to the convention’s two liberal arts colleges – Campbellsville University and the University of the Cumberlands – by an additional 7 percent (12.58 percent total);
* a reduction of Mission Board staff of 12 percent;
* a total Mission Board budget reduction of 9.85 percent; and
* further reducing the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union budget by 3.85 percent (9.85 percent total).
York said the Mission Board staff reduction is expected to occur through eliminating some part-time positions and natural attrition rather than through layoffs.
He said the elimination of the annuity contribution for Kentucky Baptist pastors and staff amounts to $17.50 per month for each affected individual. He said an additional $17.50 per month that the KBC contributes for term life and disability insurance would not be affected.
The additional cut for the Kentucky WMU was included at the request of Director Joy Bolton, a task force member, who asked that her organization’s reduction not be any less than that absorbed by the Kentucky Baptist Mission Board, York said.
The Kentucky Baptist Mission Board will also absorb in the first year an estimated $237,000 in reduced revenue from the anticipated phase-out of cooperative agreements with the North American Mission Board.
Cooperative agreements have governed the joint funding of missionary positions within the state in the past but are anticipated to be phased out as NAMB implements the report of the SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.
The Kentucky plan also calls for the Mission Board to make further adjustments in the second through the seventh year of the plan to achieve the even split between KBC and SBC by the 2017-18 fiscal year. This includes absorbing an additional $600,000 in costs brought on by the loss of the cooperative agreement with NAMB.
The loss of funding from the cooperative agreements combined with the 6 percent reduction for the Mission Board means the impact on the Kentucky Baptist Mission Board budget will be $1,350,691 (17.72 percent) in the seventh year, according to the report.
York said the additional reduction being asked of Campbellsville University and the University of the Cumberlands would mean the two schools will receive just slightly more in the allocation than they received when the covenant agreement with Georgetown College began to be phased out in 2005 and funds were reallocated. They will each receive approximately $192,000 less in 2011-12 than they received in 2010-11.
York said that without the proposal to increase church giving for missions through the Cooperative Program, the way the funds are allocated won’t matter in the long term.
“The average church in Kentucky 15 years ago gave 10 percent of its undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program. Today, the average Kentucky Baptist church gives 6.8 percent. In 15 years they’ve cut their giving by nearly a third.”
“Kentucky Baptist churches 12 years ago had total undesignated receipts of $200 million. Today, it’s over $300 million,” he added. “Cooperative Program giving has not kept up. With the blessings that our people have received, we’ve kept more of it at home, or used it elsewhere than the CP at least…That’s a problem. We must reverse that trend or we can just mathematically project the year the CP dies.”
York said that if he could reverse the trend immediately, adjusting the allocations would be painless.
“If today, every Kentucky Baptist church gave 10 percent of their undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program, moving to 50-50 would have taken us one meeting…It would be done. We’d do it and not reduce the KBC’s budget at all,” he said. “So we’ve got to change this. We’ve got to create this culture of giving to the Cooperative Program again.”
York said he feels the church giving proposal is also important because it calls for a commitment from everyone.
“We feel it’s wrong for us to merely vote to change the allocation and then not challenge our churches to give more. It’s easy for us to say we want KBC to spend less and send more but what about us?” York said.
“So if anybody thinks this is just about voting to change the slices of the pie, they’re missing the point entirely and if that’s all we do then we’ve failed miserably,” he added. “We must reverse the trend and get churches to say ‘We’re going to spend less on us in order to do more for Christ.’”
York said that while the challenges in the report’s recommendations are great, the results will be exciting.
“It will mean over the course of seven years, more than $23 million more to the SBC, and 51 percent of that is straight to the IMB. So over eleven and a half million dollars more to put missionaries on the field over the next seven years…Then NAMB gets the lion’s share of the rest,” York said. “So the vast majority of that $23 million that goes to the SBC is going to go right to church planting and reaching people who have not been reached. That’s a massive difference that Kentucky makes.”
York said he is excited about the plan and its potential for energizing Kentucky Baptists to reach the nations.
“It gets down to this. We’re presenting a bold vision and we believe this vision is worth buying into. We pray that this will excite the churches and the people in them and ignite them to say ‘Man, that is something I can buy into,’ York said. “I’m excited to think that Kentucky can give $23 million more in seven years to SBC missions around the world. We train more pastors. We send more missionaries. We do more.”
In addition to York, members of the task force have included:
* Paul Badgett, pastor of First Baptist Church, Pikeville
* Charles Barnes, member of Hurstbourne Baptist Church, Louisville
* Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union, Louisville
* Jeff Crabtree, director of missions for the Warren Association of Baptists, Bowling Green
* Rusty Ellison, pastor of Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville
* Greg Faulls, Bellevue Baptist Church, Owensboro
* Chad Fugitt, First Baptist Church, Monticello
* John Hale, a deacon at First Baptist Church, Mount Vernon
* Bill Henard, pastor of Porter Memorial Baptist Church, Lexington
* James Jones, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Campbellsville
* Bill Mackey, KBC executive director
* Don Mathis, 2010 president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and staff evangelist at Eastwood Baptist Church, Bowling Green.
* Jessica Milburn, member of Union Baptist Church, Union
* Sam Rainer, pastor of First Baptist Church, Murray
* Kevin Smith, pastor of Watson Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville
* Dan Summerlin, pastor of Lone Oak First Baptist Church, Paducah