Next Steps Part 3: The Future of KBF

by John Lepper, KBF Coordinator

The Coordinating Council met on the first Saturday of March, just a few days after learning that Josh Speight was transitioning from Kentucky Baptist Fellowship to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The Administrative Work Group of the council, with their oversight of personnel and finances, formed two groups to help us move forward in positive ways.
Tara Edwards, moderator, was empowered to appoint a seven member Staffing Study Group. The following individuals are on this study group: Melody Chaney, Canmer; Robert Davis, Louisville; H.K. Kingkade, Georgetown/Lexington; Bob Browning, Frankfort; Susan Reed, Louisville; Kimbrough Simmons, Utica/Owensboro; Alice Termaine, Corbin and Tara Edwards, ex officio, Hopkinsville.  
The members of this study group were carefully selected, according to Tara, “…as a representative group of the KBF at large.  Some are ministers, some are not.  Some are from rural parts of the sate, others from more urban areas.  Some have a long history with the KBF, some are relative newcomers.  All have a vested interest and love for KBF.”
Tara Edwards convened the first meeting of this group earlier this week and they began to get organized; they took their first steps to study the overall staffing needs of Kentucky Baptist Fellowship as well as our financial capabilities. Robert Davis agreed to chair the group and Tara Edwards agreed to serve as secretary.
Each member of the group was asked at their first conference call meeting to talk about their reasons for agreeing to serve on this group.  Here is an abbreviated list of those responses:
“As a moderate Baptist and one serving in Kentucky Baptist life for 20 years, I want to continue to help KBF be strong and grow.  KBF can be that which ties us together.”
“We can do more together than we can do alone. I want us to find common ground—where we stand and how we serve.”
“Where I live is a difficult place for moderate Baptists and I’d like to see if we can work toward making the fellowship inclusive of all geographic areas and identity of like-minded people.”
“I want to help us look at how we can ensure long-term viability and strengthen the organization and our vision going forward.”
“I agreed to serve on this group because I’m invested in KBF. With Josh leaving we will have changes and change brings opportunity. I want to do my part to keep KBF strong.”
“CBF has been important to me personally. Much of my spiritual formation took place in a CBF-related seminary and I am an endorsed CBF chaplain. Connection with KBF is important also because I live in an area isolated from other like-minded churches and I want us to grow and connect churches.”
The group will move forward in a careful and deliberate way but not try to rush the process.  Some specific areas that need attention were identified and some assignments were made for the initial phase of gathering information.  The group plans to meet face-to-face at the close of the Spring Gathering.
It is hoped that a preliminary report will be brought to the Coordinating Council at their August 2014 meeting. Any future search committee for staff will be established in light of the results of this study.
Second, a five-member Succession Planning Group was named by the Administrative Work Group.  Josh’s departure brought to the front and accelerated the development of a succession plan. Members of this group are: Bob Fox, Georgetown (chair); Don McFadden, Winchester; Terry Lester, London; Laura Colliver, Louisville; and Alice Mull, Elizabethtown.  This group will have its first meeting on Monday, April 7th.  Bob Fox said,  “I hope to be able to hammer out the framework for a policy at that meeting.  We will then pass it around by e-mail and get a final form.  I anticipate that we will have this report ready to send to the Coordinating Council the week prior to the Spring Gathering in Louisville.”  If this is the case, this group will seek approval of the succession plan in April.
Please pray for the coordinating council, and specifically these two groups, as they lead KBF through this transition.