We just completed the 184th meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention held in Elizabethtown, Ky. This year’s meeting included an array of Crossover evangelistic events, the “Press On” Pastors’ Conference and — of course — the Annual Meeting itself. By all accounts, it was an incredible gathering of Kentucky Baptists. It felt like a time of celebration.
Here are a few of my personal reflections and observations about our time in Elizabethtown:
1. It is good to be a Kentucky Baptist: KBC President Dr. Wes Fowler and 1st Vice President Josh Schmidt did an incredible job of leading the meeting. There was a good spirit among the messengers and our business was conducted in an orderly manner as to glorify the One for whom our business aims to serve. The reports from various committees and Kentucky Baptist agencies and institutions reminded us that it is good to be a Kentucky Baptist.
2. We need time together: Attendance was much stronger than the previous year and moving back toward previous years’ attendance numbers. While Zoom and Teams video meetings are fine for some meetings, there are also times when we need to be face-to-face. It was good to see brothers and sisters in Christ from across the Commonwealth. It was good to worship our Savior and make decisions to advance His mission.
3. We are a unified state convention: Kentucky Baptists find our unity around four commonly held convictions, or tent pegs. We hold to the highest view of Scripture. We work together to fulfill the Great Commission. We find our doctrinal distinctives in the Baptist Faith & Message. And we partner to fund ministry and missions at home and around the world through the Cooperative Program. Psalm 133 reminds us of the goodness of unity, and we experienced that last week.
4. We have much to celebrate: One of the highlights of the meeting included the evangelistic advances made in our state through the Gospel to Every Home initiative. Through this effort, 2,360 Kentucky Baptist churches, 69 Baptist associations, Clear Creek and Southern Seminary, KBC Mission Board Staff and others partnered together to deliver the gospel to many of the 1,728,681 homes in Kentucky. Great job, Kentucky Baptists!
5. We are better together: Kentucky Baptists were able to demonstrate our commitment to caring for the most vulnerable in our churches by creating a Sexual Abuse Task Force to review and strengthen KBC policies and procedures related to sexual abuse, as well as determine best practices to help churches be more prepared in the event that sexual abuse should occur in one of our congregations. Kentucky Baptists were able to do this without division and controversy.
6. We must guard our unity: This was a unified convention, but unity must be guarded. Even when we disagree, we must not be disagreeable. Jesus deserves our unity, and the world needs to see it. I am proud of the unity I saw demonstrated last week in Elizabethtown as it reflects the unity we enjoy on a day-to-day basis.
7. We must work together on big things: This year it was announced that Kentucky Baptists will work together on the Calling Out the Called initiative. May the Lord use this effort to call out many who will serve Christ and advance the gospel for decades to come.
I am proud to be a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ and glad to be serving Him in Kentucky alongside Kentucky Baptists. Thank you for making the 2021 Annual Meeting one to remember and thank you for partnering together to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. May the Lord continue to pour out His blessings as we serve Him.