LONDON, Ky. (KT) – Tommy Tapscott doesn’t have to worry about the introductions in his new position as the Associational Mission Strategist for the Laurel River Association.
Tapscott, who accepted the call on Monday, is in familiar territory. He has lived in London, Ky., for the past 12 years and served two churches in the association.
“I know the makeup of the leadership. I don’t feel like I’m at ground zero. They know something about me,” he said. “We don’t have to start from scratch. We know each other and have served together.”
Kentucky Baptist Convention South Regional Consultant Alan Dodson called him “the perfect fit” for the association that includes 35 churches.
“All of Tommy’s local church ministry experience is in that area,” Dodson said. “He served Pleasant Hill in Somerset, which was really a strong church, for several years and was with (Pastor) Norm Brock at East Bernstadt (for eight years) where he knocked it out of the park. In his role with LifeWay, he understands the ministry of working with several churches. He’s a known entity. They know him and they love him.”
Tapscott said he was humbled to serve an association that has been around for nearly 200 years and looks ahead with anticipation of helping churches reach the area for Christ.
For the past four years, he has served as a consultant for LifeWay dealing with revitalization and strengthening churches. However, because of COVID, he lost his job in the spring. But he gained valuable experience that will translate into the new position.
Even with COVID still hampering church attendance and growth in many places, Tapscott said it’s the right time for churches to step out and lead through COVID-19 and other difficulties they are facing.
“It’s an opportunity for us to focus back on the community,” he said. “It’s a community that needs prayer, a community that needs love. There are 61,000 people in Laurel County, which means there’s a lot of opportunities for people to come to church and come to Christ. It’s a new opportunity for us and a new day for sure.”
"The expertise there is going to be a help for propelling our association forward,” Tapscott said. “Missions, evangelism, and better communication - those are important aspects we need to focus on to move our churches forward. We need to be more missional.”
Eric Allen, the team leader for the mission mobilization team at the KBC, said Tapscott’s experience with LifeWay will be invaluable.
“Tommy understands the culture having served there in a local church and brings a wealth of church consulting experience because of his previous role with LifeWay,” Allen said. “Tommy is a highly relational and uniquely gifted leader that will bring value to the association and her churches.”
Dodson believes Tapscott's relationship with the KBC will also foster stronger partnerships between the Convention and local churches. “He will really open the door for collaboration with the Convention in Laurel County. He’ll be a good partner,” Dodson said.
Tapscott is already planning to be in contact with the KBC about “The Gospel to Every Home” initiative as he looks ahead to projects.
“We’ve already committed to be a part of ‘The Gospel to Every Home’ even before taking this position,” Tapscott said. “I’ve talked with (evangelism leader) Rob Patterson (of the KBC) and met with him and some other leaders. It’s one of my first to-do lists.”
Tapscott said healthy associations have similar DNA makeup including local evangelism, an engagement strategy, church planting strategy, mission strategy, leadership development, and communication.
“If you have those elements in your association, and foster that environment, you’ll see good growth,” he said.