STATE CONVENTIONS: Kentucky, South Carolina

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (BP) – Kentucky Baptists explored the theme of “Every Church on Mission” at the group’s 185th assemblythAnnual Meeting November 14-15 at First Baptist Church.

Outgoing President Harold Best, pastor of Burlington Baptist Church, has watched as Kentucky Baptists thrive during a turbulent year with natural disasters in western and eastern Kentucky about nine months apart and post-Cup struggles for the unborn of the mission lived Roe v. Calf.

“It’s been a busy year but we’ve certainly seen God at work,” said Best. “It’s been the honor of my life to serve as KBC President. I am not sufficient for the task, but God is more than sufficient. I want to show my appreciation to my church, the Burlington Baptist Church, for my privilege to serve. It is such a blessing to work alongside KBC leaders and staff as Dr. Todd (Gray) controls the boat. I love our campus ministries. KBC staff is the best. I hope you know that.”

The number of visitors was 1,004, with 790 messengers and 214 guests. The newly elected officers include President James Carroll, pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown; First Vice President Bob Ehr, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lawrenceburg; and second vice president Brad Walker, pastor of Briensburg Baptist Church in Marshall County.

Messengers approved a budget of $23,778,670 for the cooperative program, a slight increase over the previous year. KBC allocates half of the Southern Baptist Convention’s funding for international missions, disaster relief, seminars and other vital services.

Eleven new municipalities were added to KBC at the meeting and several municipalities and individuals received awards.

Read more about the KBC Annual Conference here, here and here.


By Todd Deaton, Editor-in-Chief, The Baptist Courier (South Carolina)

With “Wake up! As a theme, messengers at the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s annual meeting adopted a report from their sex abuse task force, honored their retiring leader, and elected a Columbia pastor as president-elect.

At their November 14-15 gathering at the Riverland Hills Baptist Church in Irmo, SC, the 703 registered ambassadors also passed a $26.5 million budget and approved eight resolutions. President Wayne Bray, pastor of First Baptist Church of Simpsonville/Upstate Church, chaired the sessions.

Willie McLaurin, interim president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, opened the meeting by urging South Carolina Baptists to go “outside these walls” and embrace the church’s calling to “bring the gospel to the nations and to the neighborhood “.

Noting the Church’s witness from Acts 1 through Acts 28, McLaurin said, “They understood the power of what it meant to come out of the walls of the Church.” He said, “Every church and every believer is called commanded and commissioned to move beyond the walls of the church.”


DJ Horton, chair of the state sexual abuse task force, told Messenger, “Our commitment to the word and the gospel means we must emulate our Savior. Our Savior loved the weak. This is about protecting the weak.”

Horton, pastor of the church at The Mill in Moore, noting that many in the room bore the title of pastor, which comes from a Latin word for “shepherd,” said the task force wanted to ask every shepherd, every ministry leader, “What can my church do more faithfully to protect every child, every sister in the Lord, and every person with special needs?”

The nine-person task force recommended creating a congressional staffer position for someone trained in trauma-informed care who would assist, equip and serve as a point of contact for pastors and churches in dealing with suspected or witnessed abuse. They proposed a broader definition of sexual abuse and called on pastors, churches, associations and the state convention to further promote the handling and prevention of sexual abuse.

The task force also called for a resolution calling for the strengthening and clarification of laws that remove any legal barriers that prevent pastors or churches from disclosing certain sex abuse information to prospective employers.

The report included some best practices on how churches prevent, monitor and respond to sexual abuse, as well as a list of additional resources.

The messengers authorized the task force to remain in place until next year’s annual meeting to oversee and assist in the implementation of the SCBC’s response. Kathy Robinson, strategy director for First Baptist Church, Simpsonville/Upstate Church, has been appointed co-chair.


Wes Church, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Columbia, was unanimously elected president-elect of the state convention. He was nominated by Tim Williams, pastor of Roebuck Baptist Church, which the church attended before accepting a call to ministry. Church is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and Liberty University.

In nominating Church, Williams emphasized his big heart for the Lord, for God’s Word, and for the church, mission, evangelism, and discipleship. “Wes is a godly man, a great leader. But one of the things that strikes me is his humility,” Williams said. “I can say with confidence that by electing the Wes Church we will be doing … a great service to our churches and to our Congress.”

Also elected officers by acclamation were Ryan Goodroe, pastor of Utica Baptist Church, as vice president; and Brian Sherwood, pastor of First Baptist Church of Darlington, as registration secretary.

Albert Allen, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Newberry, will chair next year’s annual meeting, which will be held November 13-14 at the Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia.


In his final address as executive secretary and treasurer of the South Carolina Baptists, Gary Hollingsworth challenged them to consider why mission is important.

Hollingsworth suggested three main reasons: 1) because lost people will spend eternity separated from God in Hell; 2) because the gospel is still good news; and 3) because the church is still God’s plan to fulfill the Great Commission.

“We can focus on the challenges, resent them…or we can use these opportunities to share gospel hope in new, fresh, and creative ways,” he said. “Good news brings hope, and people need hope now more than ever,” he added, urging God’s people to keep breaking new ground for the gospel.

During Monday night’s session, Hollingsworth was honored with multiple recognition resolutions from Southern Baptist and South Carolina Baptist leaders and the state Senate. He was also presented with the EA McDowell Award by the SCBC’s Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee, which recognizes individual service in politics, government and community affairs.


Messengers approved a budget for the collaborative program of $26.5 million for 2023. The budget does not reflect an increase over the prior year.

Of the total, the budget earmarks 25.16 percent or $6,669,545 for international missions; 20.34 percent or $5,387,955 for national missions and 54.5 percent or $14,442,500 for intrastate missions and service partners.

In addition to the two resolutions proposed by the Sexual Abuse Task Force expressing appreciation for the service of their retiring Executive Director and for the host church, Messengers passed resolutions on:

• Celebrating the 100th anniversary of South Carolina’s Baptist Campus Ministries.

• Support for Christian higher education and its three Baptist universities – Anderson, Charleston Southern and North Greenville.

• Opposing the use of preferred gender pronouns.

• Encourage the passage of legislation to protect minors by banning transgender surgery, puberty blockers and cross-hormone therapies.

(The full text of the resolutions can be found online at