Meet Our Newest Kentucky Missionaries

Each year we learn of individuals and couples that sense God’s call and leading to serve in ministries across Kentucky.  On Friday, April 14th, these new Kentucky Mission Service Corps (KY-MSC) Missionaries will be commissioned by the Kentucky Baptist Convention, in conjunction with the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting, at the Convention Center in Cave City.  These missionaries serve in a variety of ministers all across the state.

Prior to the commissioning service, the missionaries will spend their morning and afternoon in orientation to learn more about the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Cooperative Program, and resources that are available to them.  This time of networking with each other is most valuable. 

The new missionaries are:

  • James & Whitney Bunch – Faith with Works Ministry/Steubenville Baptist Church, Monticello
  • Kelli Carper – Owen County Pregnancy Resource Center, Owenton
  • Jeremy Cole – M25 Ministry, Somerset
  • Angie Crawford – Alpha Pregnancy Care Center, Hopkinsville
  • Cheryl Debort-Erwin – South District Baptist Association, Danville
  • Paula Halcomb – Grace & Mercy, Hopkinsville
  • Sherry Hendrix – Upper Cumberland Baptist Association, Loyall
  • Judy Jones – Life House Pregnancy Center, Paris
  • Kyle McDanell – Capitol Commission, Frankfort
  • Chris & Denise Mathews – The Lighthouse at Nolin Lake, Mammoth Cave
  • Samantha Maurath – Red Letter Advocates, Somerset
  • Kaye Mounce – Glory Readers, Somerset
  • LaRaine Rice – Orphan Care Alliance, Lexington
  • Sherry Hendrix – Upper Cumberland Baptist Association, Loyall
  • Dale Taylor – Bags of Hope Food Pantry & Clothes Closet, Hardin
  • Charlie Turner – Cedaridge Ministries, Williamsburg
  • Colin Wood – Refuge Bowling Green, Bowling Green

You will not want to miss this special service and meet our newest Kentucky missionaries.  Perhaps you can connect with them and learn of ways to be a support to them in their ministries. 

The 2023 Kentucky Missionary of the Year will also be recognized during this service.

For more information on the activities of the KY-WMU Meeting go to

Hope to see you there!!

Ask, Seek, Knock

I am a very visual person. I learn by seeing and doing more than reading and listening. It is just the way God made me. But when I read or listen, I have to visualize something that I’m reading that will allow me to fully understand.

That’s one reason I love the parables Jesus taught. Jesus would give great object lessons to teach the spiritual truths. Seeing the visual example helps me understand the spiritual truth.

I was reading Matthew 7:7-8 and I love the illustration of the asking, seeking and knocking. I can see a visual picture in my head which helps me understand the spiritual truth.

ASK…and it will be given to you helps me understand the importance of praying. The focus is not on what we are asking for, but from Whom we are asking. When we understand from Whom we’re asking, it helps us to keep in perspective of what we ask for. When we understand the “Whom,” it helps to get “me” out of the picture.

SEEK…and you will find helps me to remember to always look for opportunities to serve the Lord. To look for times God wants to use me. And seek those opportunities to have Gospel conversations. When I am seeking the things of God, I am sure to find what He has for me and what He has to teach me.

KNOCK…and the door will be opened to you reminds me of the wonderful experiences God has for me. Through saying yes to God and going through the doors He opens, I have seen the miraculous, the majesty, and I have seen the moving of God in my own and others’ lives.

I get reminded of this so many times when we are called out to respond to disasters. When I pray, I want to follow the “Whom” I am praying to, so I may receive God’s best in my life. I have settled for too many times and have learned to seek God’s best. So, my ask of God is to use me.

When we are called out to respond to disasters, I want to seek those opportunities for God to use me to encourage others, to disciple others, to allow God to teach me, and to seek opportunities to have Gospel conversations with those we meet.

When we are called out to respond to disasters, I want to knock on the door where God leads me. And when God opens the door, I know I will experience only what God can do.

If you would like to become a Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer, please visit for more information.

Mission Partnerships

In 1925, Southern Baptists began the Cooperative Program to unite our resources for the furthering of the gospel.  Southern Baptist churches give a portion of their offerings to the Cooperative Program to fund both state and national convention work.  Over the years, thousands of missionaries have been deployed all around the world for gospel advancement; and countless churches have been strengthened as well as planted in areas in need of the gospel.

IMB photo

We are a cooperating denomination.  We work together for the advancement of Jesus’ fame.  This cooperation is meant for not only our giving, but also our serving.  We do not simply give so that missions will be done for us.  We give to partner more strategically and effectively that missions might be done together.  Regardless of the size of the church or location of the church, each church that gives through the Cooperative Program can truly say that they help to support over 8,000 missionaries around the world.

Yet, we do not give simply to support missions; we give to strengthen our partnership in missions.  We can do more together than we can alone.  Hence, we give our dollars, but we also want to give our lives.  The Missions Mobilization Team of the Kentucky Baptist Convention desires to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.  To this aim, we want to be a funnel for churches to partner in certain parts of Kentucky, North America, and the World. 

We create relationships with missionaries in order to connect our churches to strategic opportunities for gospel partnerships.  The partnership is ultimately with the local church, not the KBC.  By partnership, the KBC desires simply to connect and allow each local church to develop partnerships for the Great Commission.  While the KBC cannot connect churches everywhere, we are connecting churches to strategic places in North America and the nations.

Here are our current areas of emphases for KBC churches, both in North American and Internationally:

In partnership with NAMB, we are connecting churches to three SEND cities:

  • Cincinnati, OH: 1,639,443 people live in the metro Cincinnati area.  There is one SBC church for every 10,857 metro Cincinnati residents. 
  • Salt Lake City, UT: 2,743,111 people live in the Salt Lake City metro area.  There is one SBC church for every 43,942 metro Salt Lake City residents.
  • New York City, NY: 22,000,000 people live in the NYC metro area.  Only 4% identify themselves as evangelical. 

In partnership with IMB, we are connecting churches to several international areas:

  • São Paulo, Brazil: São Paulo is one of the largest metro areas in the world with a population of over 20 million people.  It is estimated that between 18 and 19 million people are lost.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: With over 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the need for the gospel is great there.  From disaster relief to theological training to evangelism to church planting, the opportunities for partnerships are numerous.
  • Central Asia: Over 385 million people live in Central Asia and it is estimated that 98%-99% are lost without Christ.   

The KBC is here to assist churches in any of these areas for gospel partnerships.  In fact, if your church is interested in other areas not mentioned in these emphases, we are more than willing to help you connect wherever the Lord may be leading you.  Contact me at [email protected] for further details.  I look forward to helping you reach the world for Christ.

Caring Enough to SEND Our Very Best

One of the most recognized and trusted advertising slogans in the world is “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best”.  This phrase is more than just a slogan for Hallmark, it was a business commitment for the distinctive card company.  When Ed Goodman, a Hallmark sales and marketing executive, wrote the words on a 3×5 index card in 1944, he was trying to capture the essence of why Hallmark stood as the very best in the world. Little did Goodman know just how much pressure the slogan would put on the company to be the very best and second to no other card company.

Thinking about this slogan, I wondered, do we send our very best to show we care?  I don’t mean do we send Hallmark cards.  What I mean is, do we send on mission the very best from our church to show a lost world we care?

The God we serve is a sending God.  Nearly every time He speaks to someone in scripture, He is sending them on a mission.  From Abraham to Moses to Paul, to us, God’s people are always being sent into the world on mission.  God showed He cared by sending His best and only son into the world to save us.  Jesus is referred to as “sent” forty seven times in the New Testament.  Clearly, God is a sender by nature and cares about us. 

After His resurrection, Jesus passed on his identity to His disciples:  “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you”  (John 20:21).  Like his disciples – we too, have a responsibility to send our very best.  

We read in Acts 13:1-3 that after prayer and fasting, the church at Antioch sent Barnabas and Saul out on mission to share the Gospel.  They did so in obedience to Jesus’ command to go and the Holy Spirit’s leading.  Make no mistake about it, the church sent out on mission two of their best because they cared for those who had not yet heard the Gospel. They correctly believed that people who don’t know Christ as Savior and Lord will suffer God’s judgement. So why would they not seek to share the Gospel with those who need to hear it?  Barnabas and Saul were strong leaders and faithful teachers, but the church didn’t try to talk them into staying.  Rather, they cared enough to send out two of their best churchmen because they cared for the unreached. Our failure to send out the very best from our churches to serve on mission or start a new church speaks to our lack of care for those who have not yet heard the Gospel and experienced the grace of Christ.    

In the same way the slogan put pressure on the Hallmark company, I pray the example of the church at Antioch will put pressure on our churches to send the best members out on mission.  Let’s show the lost world we care by sending our very best to share the Gospel with them.    

Remembering Ms. Dottie

On January 29th our KY-MSC Family lost a dear member.  Ms. Dottie Gebhart, who served with Hope Academy for Kids, went home to be with the Lord.  Dottie and her husband Chuck served together as Food/Nutrition Department leads and Chuck, also a KY-MSC Missionary, directs the van ministry.

Nelle Thomas, Executive Director of HAFK, shared.  “Our HAFK family has suffered a great loss in the passing of a ‘hall of fame’ volunteer and KY-MSC missionary who fed thousands of children in Hardin County for over 15 years. Ms. Dottie’s passion to nurture children with the love of God has eternally impacted all kids, big and small, who had the privilege of knowing her. Thank you for leaving your handprints on our HEARTS, Ms. Dottie Owens Gebhart! We will press on and carry out our mission of HOPE and make you proud.”   

Hope Academy for Kids began in 2007 as an outreach of a local church, when a handful of church members volunteered to transport children to the church facility for a weekly Bible study.  Immediately after the program began, volunteers realized that the children were hungry and started a chapter of Kid’s Café, to provide a meal, Bible study, and activities for 150 children living in poverty.  With such a large growth, and a desire to do more for the kids, Kids’ Café dissolved, and Mission Hope for Kids was officially established in May 2012.  The name has  since changed to Hope Academy for Kids and continues to disciple and mentor Elizabethtown-area students in grades K-12, addressing educational, spiritual, physical, and emotional needs, serving upwards of 185 students.  Ms. Dottie has been with the ministry since the beginning.

Volunteers that worked with Dottie describe her as “a special lady, loved by all, witty, having a heart of gold, a servant’s heart, one of a kind, and a person that impacted all of us.”

A parent of one of the students wrote the following sentiment. “My greatest memory of Ms. Dottie was when she would come to our house for outreaches. She never met a stranger and didn’t care how or what we looked like. We got hugs and food, and she would talk to us how much Jesus loves us and that she and Mr. Chuck love us too! She would ask us if we needed anything and she and Mr. Chuck would go buy it, or if she thought my family needed anything from food, school supplies, gas or just to cook us dinner and she and Mr. Chuck would eat with us, and sometimes Ms. Dottie would cook a meal and knock and leave it at the door and would surprise us! We KNEW WHO IT WAS FROM.  We will forever miss Ms. Dottie.  Now we have to love extra on Mr. Chuck.” 

Two HAFK students (sisters) remember Ms. Dottie and Mr. Chuck always being their biggest fans.  “Ms. Dottie would ask for our softball schedule each year.  She would tell us stories about her playing softball, give us tips on how to catch, throw, and hit the ball hard, and coach us from the sidelines.  She encouraged our whole team to play harder and play our best.  My sister and I will continue to play in memory of Ms. Dottie.”

Dottie was indeed a special lady that impacted the lives of many.  Thank you, Ms. Dottie, for giving to the Lord.  What a beautiful legacy you have left. 

Equipped to Serve

You have heard the expression “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I have also wondered if you can say something similar as, “If you fail to equip, you are equipped to fail.”

What I mean is if I fail to learn to drive a car, I will likely fail miserably if I get behind the wheel to drive. If I fail to learn to operate a stove, I will fail miserably at cooking. If I fail to learn to operate a lawn mower, I will fail miserably at mowing my lawn.

The reality is I am fully capable of all those things. Sometimes even a little instruction allows much of the process to make sense and then it simply requires some practice, time and confidence. Before long it becomes very natural.

God has called all of us to be equipped for His purpose. Yet, He wants us to be equipped to serve with knowledge and excellence.

I’m reminded of the verses in Ephesians 4:11-16 which speak of the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry for the building up of the body. I especially like verse 16 which says, “from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Using a simple acrostic of the word EQUIP, may this be a reminder where we all need to be equipped to serve:

E = Expect.
As a believer, expect that God has called you and wants to use you for His work.

Q = Question.
Ask questions from the very One who has called you how He wants to use you.

U = Understand.
Understand your assignment. Do your homework and be prepared for what He calls you to.

I = Involvement.
Get involved. It is one thing to learn about something. It is totally different to be involved.

P = Practice
Put into practice what He has equipped you to do. Equip yourself to serve.

Discover your own spiritual gifts and grow in them. God has given you gifts, skills, abilities and He calls us to use them for His purpose and glory. Be equipped to serve. Be willing to serve. Be available to serve. And you will be blessed by serving.

Not only should you equip yourself to serve but be intentional about equipping others to serve with you. Multiply yourself so others will experience the mission God has called us to.

The Mission Mobilization Team has several Every Church on Mission workshops scheduled across Kentucky in February. Join one of those workshops to prepare you and your church to take the next steps in mission mobilization. You can learn more by visiting

Be equipped to serve. It will change your life!

Enlisting a Short-term Mission Team

Your church wants to partner well with missionaries and perhaps even knows with whom and where you will partner.  But how does a church go about enlisting people to go on short-term mission efforts?  Is it best to just open up the mission effort to any and all who want to go?  Are there some suggested practices that might aid a church in enlisting its members for short-term missions? 

The following are suggestions for churches as they begin enlisting people to join in short-term mission efforts.

  1. Clearly communicate the mission to the church.  The members need to know why the church is engaging in this mission partnership and how a short-term mission effort will enhance that work. 
  2. Work closely with the pastor(s) in the process of recruiting and/or approving team members.  The pastoral leadership of the church often knows the members best and, as the shepherds of the flock, should speak into the selection of those who will represent the Lord and the church in short-term mission efforts. 
  3. Plan an informational meeting to discuss: location, purpose of mission, cost, expectations, and Q & A.  An intentional interest meeting will often give members additional info that they can pray through in determining if this mission effort is right for them at this particular time. 
  4. Schedule interviews and/or have an application process.  Talking through or providing an application that covers location, personal testimony, personal growth as a believer, reason for wanting to go, emphasis on being a team player, importance of flexibility, and the need for physical and emotional stability are all important matters to cover with interested team members.
  5. Inform person of decision.  There is strength in numbers. Prayer throughout this process is vital.  It is best that the approval of short-term mission team members not fall to the decision of one individual.  In working with the pastor leadership, a mission team/committee is helpful for many reasons, not least of which is to discern prayerfully the best team for this particular short-term mission effort.   
  6. How to say “wait.”  There will be times that it is not best for an individual to go on this particular mission.  We want every believer to be involved in Great Commission work.  Involvement will vary from person to person depending on gifts and experiences.  So, using the word “wait” is intentional, rather than “no.”  The reasons for waiting can be varied but learning to say “wait” is important. How do we best say “wait”?  Pray for God’s grace and wisdom.  Involve more than one person in the conversation.  Communicate why you are suggesting the person wait.  Offer steps of growth. Encourage their cultivation of passion for God.  Communicate with clarity, compassion, and grace.  Affirm the person in the Lord and close with prayer.

Enlisting church members for short-term missions is an intentional responsibility.  Rather than simply extending a “y’all come and go” request, there are some intentional steps that can be taken to better ensure that those who are going should be going.  We enlist short-term mission team members because we want to partner well with missionaries. And we want to partner well for God’s glory and fame to spread most effectively through the strategy of our partner missionaries.   Learn more tips about short-term missions at International Team Leader Training March 3-4 or September 22-23. For more information, visit:

God’s “Blessengers”

In August 2022 I received a phone call from Lisa McCoy, with Lewisport Baptist Church in Hancock County. Lisa is a member of God’s Messengers, a ladies Sunday School Class of eighteen or so members, that range in age from sixties to upper seventies. During prayer time, the ladies shared their concern about the people of eastern Kentucky following the devasting flood just a few weeks prior. The church had given a monetary donation through Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief, had even gathered resources to send to the area, and were already filling fifty Christmas Backpacks for children in Kentucky. However, these ladies wanted to do more…something more personal.

In the past, the Class had “adopted” a local family at Christmas and thought perhaps this was something they could do for an EKY family that had been affected by the flood. Lisa called me and asked for help in making a connection.

I put Lisa in touch with Lester & Bessie McPeek, Kentucky Mission Service Corps Missionaries in Jenkins. Bessie knew of a family (dad, mom, 10-year-old daughter & 3-year-old daughter) whose home had been heavily damaged from the flood, and a family that would be a perfect match for this Sunday School Class. Bessie sent ages and sizes of the family members to Lisa, and the class went to work. They bought coats, shoes, underwear, socks, hats, gloves, and two or three outfits for each family member, along with toys and bath towels. One lady also made four blankets to send. The items were mailed to the McPeeks, who planned a big Christmas party for the family.

Bessie & Lester invited the family to their ministry center, prepared a spaghetti dinner (along with homemade cake). Bessie said, “I don’t want them to eat on paper plates, I want to set out our best china,” which is what she did. The tables were decorated with red cloth tablecloths, Christmas plates, cups, glasses, and napkins, and candles burning. The Christmas tree was lit, and the presents from God’s Messengers were under the tree.

The dad was surprised when he too received gifts. “I didn’t know I was going to get gifts,” he said. “I thought I was just bringing the children for Christmas gifts.”

 The ten-year-old daughter had wanted jewelry and make-up. When she opened one gift there was a jewelry box, filled with jewelry. She was delighted.

What a special Christmas blessing for a family that had lost so much. Thanks to Lewisport Baptist Church’s God’s Messengers Sunday School Class and KY-MSC Missionaries Lester & Bessie McPeek for showing and sharing the love of Christ.

This is a Christmas that will be remembered for a long, long time…not only by the family that received the gifts, but by the ladies of God’s Messengers Class, and by the McPeeks.  Everyone was blessed by this generous act of love and kindness. 

Lisa McCoy shared, “One of the best parts is that I have made a new friend in Bessie.”  By the way, the Sunday School Class never met the family they had blessed this Christmas. 

Bessie also shared that the family was able to move back into their home before Christmas and even put up a Christmas tree. To God be the Glory!!

Sometimes It Is Good to Push Pause

The other evening, we were home watching a movie and my wife needed to tell me something so I reached for the remote and pushed pause so I could give her my attention. If I had not, I would have continued to be distracted by the movie and missed something important I needed to hear. It is good to hear the important things!

Not only is it good to hear the important things, but it is also good to pause and remember the important things of the past. As we are coming to the end of 2022, we should hit “pause” and reflect on all God has done in our lives over the past twelve months.

There are so many things I am grateful for, and all God has taught me over the past year. He continues to mold us and make us more like Himself and show us who He truly is. There are several things which come to mind.

I am reminded of His PROVISION
The past year has been a year of disasters. We began 2022 still cleaning up from the western Kentucky tornados, small disasters throughout the commonwealth all year, and then the major flooding in eastern Kentucky, with Hurricane Ian in Florida immediately followed. But God provided the volunteers, the finances, the equipment and the opportunities. He changed lives in the midst of difficult days and reminded me of His provision. He is good.

I am reminded of His PROTECTION
The work of disaster relief can be dangerous. Cleaning up debris, cutting up trees, preparing hot meals and so much more present its unique dangers. Even the travel to and from on the highway can be treacherous. I am so grateful for God’s protection of His faithful servants to protects us from the dangers around us. He is good.

I am reminded of His PROVIDENCE
I am constantly reminded I am not in control. Only God is but I get to be part of what He is up to. He puts us all in places or allows us to meet just the right person at the right moment which opens a door of opportunity that changes lives…and mine. I think back over the moments of what we originally thought was a disruption of our plan, actually became a teaching moment or opportunity in which we recognized only God could plan. I am grateful for His continued interest in me. He is good.

I am reminded of His PROMISES
There are so many promises of God I find in the Scriptures which encourage us in our time of need. He is always with us; He will never fail us; He is our strength and hope; and the list can go on. As we search the pages of the Word of God, His promises are found throughout the pages. And He reminds of His promises just as we need them. He is good.

I remember a friend of mine from my church in Missouri who we all called “Geezer.” He and I shared a favorite verse in the Bible which simply read, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). As good ole country boys we shared our own version that read, “Shut up and listen!” We would often smile at each other and one of us would say those words to the other because we both needed to remember to pause and reflect on God and who He is.

What a good God we serve. Remember to push “pause” and be still and listen closely. Do not miss the important lessons. He is good.

Give a Gift They Won’t Return!           

We have officially entered the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. There is shopping to do, cookies to bake, activities for the kids and presents to wrap.  Giving someone the perfect gift can be a hard thing to do.  Do I really know what they need, or more importantly what they would want?  It’s dangerous to give clothing when I don’t know their size and electronic presents quickly became outdated.  And what do you give that special someone who already has everything they need and want.

I’ve spent many hours looking for just the right gift to give, browsing online and in stores, asking others for suggestions and sometimes even coming right out and asking the recipient what it is they’d like to have.  All because I desire to give that special gift that will be appreciated and remembered.  One that is meaningful and loved because I’ve thoughtfully selected it. A gift they won’t return!

Here’s an idea.  A donation to a ministry or non-profit on behalf of someone won’t be returned and it’s making more than just the honoree happy.  This kind of gift blesses the giver, the honoree and the ministry or organization that receives it. Sounds like a win to me.  However, not just any organization will do. What you decide to give and who you choose to give to will determine just how happy it makes the honoree.

If you want your gift to be well received, and I know you do, it’s important to give to a ministry or organization that connects with the interests and desires of the honoree.  For example, someone concerned about needy children would appreciate you giving to a ministry that provides after-school tutoring, meals and spiritual instruction.  Someone with an interest in gardening might greatly appreciate seeds or chickens given in their honor to an international missionary teaching sustainable farming.  You might consider giving so that young girls in Ukraine receive an education and hear the gospel.  Wouldn’t it be exciting to know that a gift was given to help provide clean drinking water and the Living Water to quench the thirst of those in Africa?  There are so many kinds of gifts that can be given to your loved ones that simultaneously meet the needs of others.   

Why not make a lasting difference this year at Christmas by giving a gift that won’t be returned.  Here are two organizations you can trust to help you give the perfect gift this year at Christmas.

International Mission Board –

SEND Relief –