Following Mackey's announcement, which came during the KBC Administrative Committee's Oct. 12 meeting in Louisville, convention President Don Mathis appointed a 15-member search committee to seek his successor.
"It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life and ministry to serve our Lord Jesus Christ by serving the Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board and Kentucky Baptists as executive director-treasurer for almost 13 years," Mackey stated in a letter informing Administrative Committee members of his decision. Calling it a gratifying experience, Mackey added, "I have long admired the willingness of Kentucky Baptists to really stretch in order to cooperate in the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"It has been a joy to serve with a staff that has been unified and totally committed to the mission that God has provided," Mackey said.
Meeting later that afternoon with KBC Mission Board staff members, he commended their work with the Find It Here evangelism campaign, Crossover Louisville, implementing Kentucky Baptists Connect, disaster relief responses and church planting efforts.
"It is with much sorrow that I anticipate my personal loss of a wonderful daily working relationship with KBC leaders, staff and a host of Kentucky Baptists," he added.
Mackey's tenure has been one marked by a strong emphasis on evangelism, missions and church planting. Under his leadership, Kentucky Baptists developed partnerships with Baptists in Tanzania, Poland and Brazil, as well as with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. The KBC also began developing "High Impact" churches that were started with the intention that they, in turn, would begin other churches.
Mathis said he joins "all Kentucky Baptists at being saddened by his retirement announcement."
"I knew Dr. Mackey long before he became our executive director.... His ministry as pastor here in Kentucky and his evangelism leadership with the South Carolina convention well prepared him as God's man to lead KBC for these 12-plus years," Mathis said. "At the time of his election, I was convinced that he was God's man to lead us. From then until now, I have year by year become more and more convinced of that fact."
During the Administrative Committee meeting, Mathis appointed a 15-member search committee that also will include the next convention president by virtue of office. Committee members, according to the KBC's constitution and bylaws, will include a pastor from each of the state convention's eight regions and seven other persons. Among its members are nine pastors, a director of missions, three women and an African-American pastor, Mathis noted.
Paul Badgett, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pikeville and a past KBC president, was named as chairman of the search committee. A longtime pastor in the state, Badgett also has served on the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee.
Also serving on the search committee are Charles Barnes, a member of Hurstbourne Baptist Church in Louisville; Paul Chitwood, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mount Washington; Debbie Cook, children's associate at Central Baptist Church in Corbin; Alan Dodson, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lexington; Richard Gaines, pastor of Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington; Linda Polley, administrator at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown; Ronny Raines, pastor of First Baptist Church of Cold Spring; Pat Reaves, a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Louisville; Steve Rice, pastor of First Baptist Church in Shelbyville; Nick Sandefur, pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church in Hopkinsville; Ben Stratton, pastor of Farmington Baptist Church; Jerry Tooley, director of missions for the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association and member of First Baptist Church of Owensboro; and Ray Woodie, pastor of Coral Hill Baptist Church in Glasgow.
The Administrative Committee unanimously affirmed Mathis' selections, and Mathis also will serve on the committee at their request. Mathis, a vocational evangelist, is a member of Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green and a two-time KBC president.
Badgett said he is beginning his task with an attitude of prayer and humility, seeing it as perhaps his "best opportunity to impact the Kingdom" for the sake of all Kentucky Baptist churches. Expressing a desire to find "someone all of us can be as happy with as we were with Dr. Mackey," Badgett added that it will be hard to fill his shoes, but their hope is to find "someone who wears the same size."
"We believe that our next executive director will build upon the wonderful legacy left by Dr. Mackey and other predecessors," Mathis said. "So it is with a mixture of regret at the retirement of Southern Baptists' best executive director, and a sense of excitement that I look forward to seeing what God has in store next as we begin the search process."
Mackey, a South Carolina native, came to the KBC following a successful tenure as director of the leadership development and evangelism growth team with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Following his retirement, Mackey and his wife Kay plan to move to Raleigh, N.C., to be near their children and grandchildren.
Todd Deaton is editor of the Western Recorder, newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
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