Praying for Kentucky

During the recent KBC Pastor’s Conference, the introduction to the 2010 state missions video “Why” was shown because it emphasizes the lostness of Kentucky. During the  Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, the “Why Learn” segment was shown demonstrating that teaching children can help us reach lost families in addition to passing on our passion for fulfilling the Great Commission.

As I reflected again on the important message of the 2010 state missions materials, I came home with a renewed commitment to continue praying for the eight prayer requests included on our 2010 state missions prayer guide.  I would like to challenge every Kentucky Baptist to keep praying for these requests throughout the year. Put this list with your Bible and daily prayer time materials.  I believe that if we pray all year for lost people in Kentucky, we will see God do amazing things in response.

The prayer requests are based on Romans 10:5-15.  By reading the verses noted for each day’s request, you will see the connection between the verse and the prayer request.

Sunday – Romans 10:5-8
There is an urgent need to share the gospel in Kentucky. On any given Sunday, only about 12.1% of our population will attend church.  Pray for the lost in your community. Pray for pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and all who preach the gospel.

Monday – Romans 10:9
Pray that the lost will understand the truth of Roman’s 10:9.  Pray for an opportunity to share this verse with a  lost person today. Pray for expanded missions education with preschoolers, children, and youth in our churches and for their understanding of the Great Commission.

Tuesday – Romans 10:10
Pray for ministries among international students attending college in Kentucky. Many are hearing the gospel for the first time through Baptist Campus Ministry. Pray that they will understand their need for salvation and confess Christ as Lord.

Wednesday – Romans 10:11
Pray that Kentucky Baptists will be bold in sharing the gospel. Pray that we will not be ashamed to proclaim our faith in Christ.  Pray that “Find It Here!” will continue in 2011 through prayer and scripture distribution.

Thursday – Romans 10:12
(Note: This is an updated prayer request since the World Equestrian Games have taken place.)  Pray for the many visitors who heard the gospel through Affiliated International Ministries (AIM) during the World Equestrian Games held in Kentucky.  Pray for continued opportunities for AIM to share Christ through equestrian events.

Friday – Romans 10:13
Pray for a lost person by name. Pray that today lost people in Kentucky will call on the name of the Lord for salvation. Pray for an opportunity to witness today.

Saturday – Romans 10:14
Pray for Kentucky missionaries and missions volunteers.  Pray that more people will participate in mission trips and other projects to share the gospel. Pray about your own involvement in Kentucky missions.

Sunday – Romans 10:15
Pray for every Kentucky Baptist to participate in evangelism training this year. Pray that we will faithfully witness to the lost and bring the good news of Jesus to neighbors, friends, family members, and others in our communities.  Pray that Kentucky Baptists will give generously to the Eliza Broadus Offering and provide abundant financial resources for Kentucky ministries.

These are prayer requests for the year, not just a week in September.  As Dr. Kevin Smith said in the state missions video, Jesus looked at the lostness of Jerusalem and wept.  Will you join us in crying out to the Lord for Kentucky?

The Cooperative Program is Important

Serving on the Kentucky Great Commission Task Force for the past year has served to reinforce my support for the Cooperative Program.  And I am grateful that the Task Force Report stirred up Kentucky Baptists to think about the importance of both the work of our state convention and SBC missions.  Speakers for and against the Task Force Report during the KBC were passionate about the importance of the Cooperative Program.  I was glad to see the passion.

I hope that everyone heard the president’s address by Dr. Don Mathis who stressed that the problem with CP is not how it is divided, but rather it is the size of the pie.  Dr. Mathis then made the point that we are the ones who determine the size of the pie.  Churches (which include each of us as members) make choices in regards to allocations for missions.  It is up to us to challenge  our churches to support KBC and SBC ministries through the Cooperative Program.  (In receiving the Cooperative Program Award, Jesse Stricker reminded us that we give to KBC/SBC work through CP, not that we give to CP.) 

In his addres, Dr. Mathis noted that when he was state convention president in 1985, Kentucky Baptist Churches received $120,572,280 in undesignated receipts and gave an average of 11.69% through the Cooperative Program. This past year, Kentucky Baptist Churches reported $332,507,729 in undesignated gifts but only gave and average of 6.83% through CP.  While the dollar amount of the CP pie has grown larger, relative to undesignated receipts, it has gotten smaller.

The clarion call during the KBC is that if we believe that the Cooperative Program is important, we must go home to our churches and make it so.  While we would like to see the average church gifts through CP rise from between 6-7% of undesignated receipts to 10% in one year, the “More For Christ” effort simply asks churches to raise what they are currently giving through CP by .25% (one-quarter of one percent) a year. 

I’m not a mathematician, but a percent is one hundreth.  One dollar is 100 pennies, each penny being one percent.  So, to do the math, multiply what you now give through CP by .0025 to learn what a one-quarter of one percent increase will look like.  We will all see that it is a doable number!  In the case of $100, it is an increase of 25 cents the first year.  The request is keep increasing by one-quarter of one percent until your church has increased CP gifts by 3%.   For some, that will move the church closer to giving 10% through CP.  Many others that already give 10% or better, have expressed willingness willing to keep increasing for the sake of world missions.

It is also vital that all KBC/SBC staff and elected leaders, as well as those who serve in institutions and agencies supported by the Cooperative Program, be in churches that are strong CP supporters.  Some would say that I am making CP a “sacred cow.”  I am not bashful about this.   I am grateful for years of CP support going back to our early days as church planters in Pennsylvania.  Those who are paid by CP have an obligation to be in churches that support CP.  Those who run institutions supported by CP have an obligation to be in churches that support CP. 

Above all, out of our KBC Annual Meeting, it is my prayer that we  come away with a renewed appreciation for the Cooperative Program and how it works.  Through a plan to support all of our work through percentage giving, both the seemingly mundane needs (like utilities) and the heart wrenching needs (like ministries to children) are all provided with resources so that our work together to share Christ can go forward. 

As noted during the report of the Kentucky Great Commission Task Force, the lost person in China or Kazakstan or Thailand is not here to say “remember me” when our churches are setting budgets.  Children in abusive homes are not at the table to say “remember me.”    Lost people in communities where we need to plant new churches are not here to say, “remember me.”   More for Christ is about remembering and giving more of ourselves and our finances for the sake of gospel.

Moving On

 Technology is a constantly evolving commodity. It has new twists and options daily. While I have embraced many of the “bells and whistles,” I have been slower on some others. The technology supporting my blog has changed and with some anxiety, I have been persuaded to move the blog to a Word Press format.The blog will be hosted on the KBC server and will be similar to the previous one. Brenda Smith, KBC webmaster, has designed a new look, including an updated picture!

If you are currently a subscriber to this blog and receive it by email, your email subscription has been being transferred to the new site. If you are new to my blog, I invite you to visit the new site and subscribe to receive it by email or RSS reader.  Everyone can access my blog directly at  I hope that you will stay on as a reader and spread the word. 

Meanwhile, be sure to subscribe to our other Word Press blog, Kentucky WMU News.  You will find it at:

Sometimes life calls for moving on.  Here’s to moving!

Radical – The Book

The WMU vision statement says that WMU challenges Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.  From believing that women had a role in the Great Commission, finding ways to support missionaries when women had little income of their own, to dreaming global sized dreams, WMU has been radical.  WMU has never been satisfied with groups that are self-focused.  Always our purpose has been on finding ways to share the gospel and minister to people in need.

Yet, even with these noble goals, there are times that we become self-satisfied, content with projects that are not difficult. Content with sending items but not going in person.  Sometimes our prayer times are routine rather than truly crying out to God for the salvation of the lost, for unreached people groups, and for our missionaries.  And in far too many churches, we have become apathetic about teaching Great Commission values to our children.  The decline in missions education for preschoolers, children, and youth points to something that is less than radical.

Radical – Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt is a must read.  I purchased it over the weekend and could not put it down.  David verbalized the longings of my heart for a radical faith.  I am weary of business as usual – in my church, in WMU, in my own personal walk of faith.  David has captured in his short book what abandonment to Jesus looks like. 

Many in WMU are already living the radical faith David describes.  I see it in ministries that change lives and in the way I hear some women pray when I am with them.  But I also hear from WMU folks that are discouraged, wanting WMU to be the vibrant, radical avenue for Great Commission living that they long for.

I recommend Radical for personal reflection and even for group study.  After challenging his readers as to what radical looks like, David offers a one-year life experiment with four challenges.  The interesting thing about these challenges is that they are exactly in keeping with what WMU has always taught – study God’s Word, pray, give, go, and be a part of a multiplying congregation.  But sometimes we need to hear it again from another perspective. 

Radical by David Platt, copyright 2010, Multnomah Books.  Available at LifeWay.