LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board approved a new Cooperative Program spending target of $17.72 million during the organization’s first-ever virtual meeting on Monday.
KBC Business and Finance Committee Chairman James Carroll made the recommendation based on an anticipated 20 percent decrease in CP giving as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Kentucky officials ordered the closings of churches in early March as a means of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
The reduction is nearly $4.5 million less than the $22.15 million budget approved in November. The new spending target will guide how the KBC Mission Board staff fulfills its mission of helping churches reach Kentucky and the world with the gospel in the 2020-2021 budget year.
“To reduce a $22 million budget by 20 percent is a tremendous task,” said Carroll, speaking via Zoom to 130 online meeting participants. He noted how quickly KBC leaders responded by initiating an organization-wide spending freeze through the month of April.
Carroll, pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Louisville, said in the coming months mission board staff will “carefully and prudently” ease up on the spending freeze – in large part due to God’s provision in years past when Kentucky Baptists gave more to the Cooperative Program than what was budgeted.
“Good stewardship in the past and good leadership in the present” will allow the KBC to continue serving and ministering to churches, church planters, and missionaries throughout the state, Carroll said.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention forwards 50 percent of all Cooperative Program receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention for the work of organizations like the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, the six SBC seminaries, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
“The convention and mission board staff continues to move forward," said Dr. Todd Gray, KBC executive director-treasurer, speaking to the Mission Board. “This virus has not slowed us down.”
After churches were forced to abandon in-person worship services, Gray said KBC staff picked up their phones to see how pastors were doing. They also created coronavirus-related resources to help navigate the unchartered waters of social-distance ministry.
“We discovered this whole new platform to deliver content,” Gray said. KBC leaders have held and continue to develop practical webinars featuring, not only Kentucky Baptist leaders but some of the top Southern Baptist leaders, thinkers, and evangelists from across the nation.
Gray said the Kentucky Baptist Convention has also worked on behalf of Kentucky Baptists to make sure their religious liberty concerns are heard by the state’s top officials, including Gov. Andy Beshear, and to ensure “churches have a seat at the table” when it comes time to open businesses.
“It doesn’t matter what is going on the world, our mission has not changed,” Gray said, and that mission is serving Kentucky Baptist churches well.