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OPINION

Ky. Baptist Convention reducing staff

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--The Kentucky Baptist Convention's Mission Board will eliminate five full-time and 19 part-time positions in its next budget in order to send a larger percentage of church gifts to Southern Baptist Convention causes throughout the nation and around the world.
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The reductions are being made in response to a KBC Great Commission Task Force report approved by KBC messengers at the 2010 annual meeting in November. The report recommended changing the formula for allocating Cooperative Program gifts to an even 50 percent-50 percent split between the state convention and SBC over 10 years with the bulk of that shift occurring in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Three of the five full-time positions being eliminated are already currently unfilled while the other two positions will become vacant due to retirements on Aug. 31. The 19 part-time positions are a mix of filled and unfilled contract positions. Seven other part-time contract positions will be reduced.

The staffing adjustments go into effect with the start of the new fiscal year on Sept. 1. Lowell Ashby, the KBC's Business Services Team leader, said salaries of current staff will also be frozen for the new fiscal year at 2010-11 levels.

KBC Executive Director Bill Mackey told the Mission Board's Administrative Committee Jan. 27 that the part-time position reductions will come largely from two areas -- the elimination of seven part-time campus ministry positions and the elimination of funding for the part-time consultant positions from the worship and music department.

Mackey said ministry in these areas would continue.

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"We regret having to give up these positions and the ministry that takes place through them," Mackey said. "But we will do our best to meet these ministry needs through effective and faithful volunteers and assignments to current personnel."

Evangelism Growth Team Leader Ross Bauscher said that in the case of several of the seven campus ministry position reductions, the persons currently serving will continue their work as volunteers. The college campuses affected are Ashland Community College, Berea College, Centre College, Elizabethtown Community College, Hopkinsville Community College, Mid-Continent University and the University of Kentucky.

The UK position eliminated is a vacant intern position. That school will continue to have a full-time campus minister. Ministry at Berea College will continue through the work of a ministry intern based at Eastern Kentucky University, Bauscher said.

In regard to the Worship and Music Department positions, Mackey said that the five consultant positions being affected will actually continue at least temporarily into the new fiscal year. The department director position is currently unfilled but will remain in the inventory to give the KBC's next executive director flexibility in making decisions about the department. In the meantime, the funds from that unfilled position will be used to support the consultants' work.

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Mackey is retiring in May and a search committee is seeking his replacement.

Mackey said the staffing adjustments will result in a net savings of approximately $486,000. There will be a total of 90 full and part-time positions in the Mission Board's job inventory at the start of the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The CP allocation change is one of several funding challenges facing the Mission Board.

Additionally, the nation's recession is now taking a toll on church giving. Ashby reported that CP giving for the current year is running just over 9 percent behind pace for reaching this year's $23.5 million CP budget.

Currently, 38 percent of CP gifts are sent to the SBC while 62 percent are used for missions and ministries in Kentucky (36.4 percent by the Kentucky Baptist Mission Board and 25.6 percent by KBC agencies and institutions).

Robert Reeves is communications director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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