What a year!
There are a lot of reasons to remember 2020 and many of them are not good ones. However, it is a year to remember for many positives, too. Here are five potential “2020 Headlines” that stand out to me:
Kentucky Baptist Pastors Led Well: While seeking some reassurance from a fellow state executive friend, he said to me, “You are the best executive director-treasurer they have ever had during a pandemic.”
I can say more than that for Kentucky Baptist pastors. They were served a difficult year and responded with stellar leadership. Our pastors have modeled the heart of a caring shepherd seeking the best interest of those they serve. I am proud of our pastors.
Kentucky Baptists Gave Sacrificially: Even with the financial uncertainties surrounding all the complications of COVID-19, our churches, by the grace of God, managed to meet 98% of the Cooperative Program goal set by the convention for the 2019-2020 year. That is an amazing accomplishment and a testimony to the fact our churches value our state, national, and international missionary enterprise and want to assure it does not go unfunded.
Kentucky Baptists Served Well: Even while hamstrung with an absence of in-person services our churches found ways to serve their members and their communities. Whether it came in the form of drive-by visits, phone calls, texts, Facebook live devotionals and services, and more there is no doubt that God’s people have rallied for the good of people.
Not only were church people ministered to but also those of the surrounding communities. Many of our churches found creative ways to see to it that physical needs of their neighbors were cared for as many of those neighbors faced tightened budgets due to job loss.
Kentucky Baptists Unite for Evangelism: When the Gospel to Every Home (GTEH) initiative was introduced in 2019, none of us knew that a global pandemic was on the horizon. That reality did not slow Kentucky Baptists.
The goal of phase one of GTEH was to see each of the 1,728,681 homes in Kentucky adopted by a Baptist association or a Baptist church in 2020. As of right now that goal is nearly complete.
We are poised to hit 2021 in an excellent position to get the good news of Christ to our neighbors who do not know Him.
Kentucky Baptists Move Forward Together: While the country is divided over numerous issues we are not. Of course, we do not see eye to eye on every matter that impacts humanity but we as a people possess, by the grace of God, the maturity to focus on what matters most.
We know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to what ails our fractured nation and communities. We know apart from a relationship with God people are lost and will continue to live out their fallen nature. We also know the only way for the world to change is for people to change and the only way for people to really change is when they repent, believe the Gospel, and become new creatures in Christ. We have the message the world needs to hear and believe, and we will move forward together delivering that message.
May the Lord’s blessings abide on us, our families, our ministries, and the churches we serve and may the best days of Kentucky Baptists be out in front of us and not behind us.
Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.