If elected, Chitwood, 41, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mount Washington, would begin his duties July 1, succeeding Bill Mackey, who is retiring as executive director May 31 after 13 years of service.
The search committee unanimously agreed to recommend Chitwood during its May 12 meeting, committee chair Paul Badgett, pastor of First Baptist Church of Pikeville, said in a press statement.
Chitwood told the Western Recorder newsjournal: "Michelle and I are honored and humbled that the search committee will be recommending me to the mission board as the next executive director.... Should the mission board confirm that it is God's will for me to serve in this role, I will accept the challenge of building on the good work of Bill Mackey."
Chitwood, who has served the Mount Washington church for seven years, has filled several elected Kentucky Baptist posts, including convention president in 2005-06, first vice president in 2003-04 and president of the state pastors' conference in 2002.
He also is the immediate past chairman of the International Mission Board's trustees, an assistant professor of evangelism and church growth at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and an adjunct professor at University of the Cumberlands.
Before coming to Mount Washington, Chitwood served three other Kentucky pastorates: First Baptist Church in Somerset, First Baptist Church in Owenton and South Fork Baptist Church in Owenton.
"All of the churches have experienced growth and renewed vision under Chitwood's leadership," Badgett said in a news release.
With a resident membership of 1,844, First Baptist Mount Washington is the largest congregation in the Nelson Baptist Association. During Chitwood's tenure, the church has added a third morning worship service, a second Bible study hour and purchased a 27-acre tract of land for a planned relocation. In 2010, the congregation reported 54 baptisms, placing it among the state's top 40 churches in total baptisms.
The congregation contributed $106,989 (8.18 percent) of its $1,307,928 in undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program in 2009-10, according to Lowell Ashby, KBC business services team leader. In other missions giving last year, the church contributed $37,324 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions; $9,125 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions; and $5,892 to the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions.
Given the current reality of Kentucky Baptist life, the next executive director "must be even more enthusiastic about our cooperative endeavors," Chitwood said, according to the search committee's news release.
"My desire is to serve the pastors and churches of the KBC to expand God's Kingdom in Kentucky and to the ends of the earth for His glory alone," Chitwood added.
A native of Jellico, Tenn., Chitwood is a 1992 graduate of Cumberland College (now University of the Cumberlands), where he also serves as a trustee. He earned a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1995 and a doctorate from the seminary in 2001. He and his wife Michelle have three children, Daniel, Anna and Cai.
Chitwood was a member of the search committee, but was removed in February when he became a candidate for the position.
Members of the search committee were precluded from consideration for the job, said Don Mathis, a committee member and former convention president from Bowling Green. Mathis, who appointed the committee last October, said several search team members felt Chitwood should be a candidate for the position, and he then was asked to allow himself to be included for consideration.
"After praying about it and consented, then we dismissed him from the committee, and he did not serve on the committee in any fashion after February," Mathis said.
Todd Deaton is editor of The Western Recorder (www.westernrecorder.org), newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Additional reporting by Drew Nichter, news director for The Recorder.
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