LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) – Lexington Pastor Nick Sandefur, a candidate for president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, wants to work to reverse a downward trend in baptisms and press for greater commitment to the Cooperative Program if he’s elected.
“Baptism is not only a significant moment in the spiritual development of a believer, but churches are also impacted by the celebration of baptism,” Sandefur said. “Churches that are baptizing typically are sharing their faith more and are filled with more spiritual vitality.”
Sandefur, a champion of the Cooperative Program, said he wants churches to recommit to increasing their giving.
“Through CP giving, every church — large and small — has the opportunity to reach the world,” he said.
Evangelist Don Mathis said he intends to nominate Sandefur, who has served the 5,000-member Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington for the past two years.
“I have had the privilege of observing Bro. Nick's ministry on KBC committees and as church pastor, and am impressed that he will speak his convictions and opinions but is equally quick to listen to those of others,” Mathis said.
Sandefur, 48, has strong connections throughout the KBC, having served on the Mission Board, as a member and chairman of the Nominating Committee, and as a member of the search committee that recommended Paul Chitwood to become executive director. He also worked for the KBC for more than two years as a regional consultant serving some 400 churches in central and northern Kentucky.
“He developed a leadership network involving 140 ministers in that region, as well as conducting numerous training events on subjects vital in kingdom leadership,” Mathis said. “He preached in many churches of the region and served as interim pastor of two. In short, Bro. Nick knows Kentucky Baptists from both a convention viewpoint but, more importantly, in our churches.”
Mathis said he knows Sandefur best from the 13 years he spent as senior pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church in Hopkinsville.
“During that time, average worship attendance increased from 235 to 778, baptizing 459 people,” Mathis said. “He led the church to relocate involving $5.2 million. Giving grew from $295,000 to more than $1 million. Even with their debt, Edgewood never gave less that 11 percent though the Cooperative Program.
When Sandefur became pastor of Porter Memorial, the church’s contributions through the Cooperative Program was at 7 percent of undesignated receipts. He led the congregation to implement a plan to increase giving to 10 percent by raising it .25 percent per year. The church gave $150,000 of its $2.1 million in undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program last year.
Under his leadership, Porter Memorial has added 252 new members. Of those, 82 have come by baptism.
“Nick Sandefur is a Bible-believer who affirms the latest Baptist Faith and Message,” Mathis said. “He preaches the word., loves the Lord, loves people, has been married for 28 years to Kelley and they have two daughters ages 20 and 17, all of whom serve faithfully in their church.”
Mathis said he believes Sandefur has the track record and spiritual attributes needed to be KBC president.
“My nomination of Bro. Nick is not a nomination against any other announced candidate, but a recommendation of a godly man whom I know, who has been pastor to my family, a servant leader, and a man who will be an outstanding KBC president,” Mathis said.
If elected, Sandefur said he’d also speak for the unborn.
“We should continue to speak the truth that every human being has the image of God imparted to them and is to be treated with dignity and respect,” he said. “As Baptists, my hope is for people to see us consistently valuing life, all life – the unborn, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the fallen.”