by John Lepper
If you can answer "yes" to the above question, it's time to do what early supporters of KBF did. They put their money where their wish was. Keep reading and learn why your life wish for KBF needs to translate into financial support.
Following the recent KBF Spring Gathering, I received an email from Jeremy Colliver, Minister with Students at St. Matthews Baptist Church, Louisville. He said, “Thank you all for a great weekend. It is always good to be around KBF people.” Jeremy was reporting on the meeting that was held with youth ministers on Saturday morning. He went on to share a couple of things that came out of their discussion. “Those who were there craved connections to be made.” He said, “They felt like they were out on their little islands where they try to meet with other ministers in their town but those people aren't ‘like-minded’ Baptists.”
How refreshing to hear younger leaders crave contact with Cooperative Baptist kind of folks. There was a day when the KBF Spring Gathering was a reunion of people who were bruised and battered from previous experiences (usually middle aged and older). It’s such a joy to see the Spring Gathering evolve into an intergenerational love fest! The various aspects of the meeting were done with excellence: preaching, worship, music, workshops, food and even exhibits. But greater than these was the opportunity to make new friends and to connect and reconnect with old friends from far and near. It was one great big family reunion which will sustain us in the coming days.
I’ve recently been doing some research about the staffing history of KBF. Interesting that our first staff person, Carolyn Hale, worked 10 to 20 hours per week and was paid less than $10 per hour! We have really come a long way. When I began work as the first full-time staff of KBF, I realized at the very last minute (just before I said ‘I do’) that the entire income of KBF the previous year was less than my salary and less than half the budget we set for ourselves.
During those days, we defined ourselves in terms of who we were not. We were angry and grieving and it was easy to find churches and people who wanted to invest in the future of this fledgling organization.
We’ve moved down the road from those early days. We have a better understanding of our identity and our mission. Many people desire a place to belong and a place to invest their lives in some positive mission and purpose. KBF offers us a collective opportunity to pool our resources. Today we have great ministries in Morocco, McCreary County, Owsley County, and Nada. We link hands and hearts with CBF Field Personnel in Louisville who reach out to the Burmese people. With the commissioning of Scarlette Jasper, we have a new opportunity for an outpost of ministry in the Somerset area. We provided a large initial gift at the founding of Baptist Seminary of Kentucky and we continue to provide financial support for this worthy educational institution. We collaborate with BSK in many ways, and one of them is the way their students bless us as they serve in our churches.
Aren’t you glad you are part of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Kentucky Baptist Fellowship? We have evolved into an intergenerational group of folks who crave connections and who multiply our effectiveness by joining together. We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings because many congregations and people had a life wish for KBF. They had a life wish and they put their money where their wish was. It’s time to step up again.
For several years now we’ve stretched to match dollars with our mission. I have said for years that all non-profit organizations are passionate about their mission but are challenged to finance those passions. Let’s show the staffing study group we mean business and want to keep the lights on in the missions coordinator’s office.