LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- The new leader of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation plans to build bridges with Kentucky Baptist churches to carry the organization deeper into the 21st Century. French Harmon, pastor of First Baptist Church Somerset, was elected unanimously as the new president of the KBF on Monday.
“I am not a Wall Street banker. I’m a pastor. When I visit Kentucky Baptist churches I want to share what could happen when we partner together,” Harmon said. “I want to work as a harmonious team with the Kentucky Baptist Convention staff.”
Harmon has been the pastor of FBC Somerset for the past 13 years. Previously, he served for three years as the Church Development Team Leader at the KBC. He’s also served as pastor of Allen Baptist in Prestonsburg and Fort Mitchell Baptist.
Mike Malone, vice chairman of the KBF board of directors, made the recommendation to the KBC Mission Board at its May 4 meeting. “We believe he will increase the impact of the Kentucky Baptist churches based on the leadership he’s provided over these past 13 years of serving FBC Somerset,” Malone said.
KBC Executive Director-Treasurer Dr. Todd Gray believes Harmon is a great choice for the role.
“The Baptist Foundation made a great decision on the recommendation and ultimately hiring of Dr. French Harmon. French is a longtime Kentucky Baptist. He is a seasoned leader, a gifted communicator, and a tireless cheerleader for the Cooperative Program. His lifetime of service in Kentucky will be helpful as the Baptist Foundation continues to offer financial services aimed at helping churches.”
Harmon laid out a three-point vision as he steps into the lead role. He said he wants to build bridges between Kentucky Baptist churches, institutions, and pastors. He wants to increase the brand awareness of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation and to improve technology at the Foundation.
Harmon was licensed and ordained to the gospel ministry at Unity Baptist Church in Ashland. His tenure officially begins July 1.
The KBF manages around $200 million in funds annually. Since their inception in 1945, they’ve distributed $194 million to Kentucky Baptist causes, according to Richard Carnes, retiring KBF president.
“The KBF makes investments that will fund Baptist work at home and around the world for decades to come," Gray said. "The Foundation is uniquely poised to help Kentucky Baptist church members invest in Kingdom work long after their life has been spent in service to Christ.” .
Carnes is retiring June 30 after two stints with the group. Gray praised Carnes efforts over the past five years of leading the KBF. “Richard Carnes will be sorely missed by Kentucky Baptists,” he said.