Thankful for Those Who Serve

This past Sunday morning I was up early, like my mother and grandmother so many times before me, making chicken and dumplings for our annual church Thanksgiving meal.  This being the Thanksgiving season, my mind turned toward my family and the many things for which I am thankful.

I thought of how blessed I am to have grown up in a Christian home where I was taught a love for Christ, for His Word, and for His church.  I thanked God for such a small thing as my mother teaching me to make her chicken and dumplings.  Now I carry on that tradition for our church and family meals. 

Most of all I am thankful for God’s love and for Him waking me up one night and calling me to a relationship with Him.  Then, several years later, He called me to special service.  What a blessing and privilege it is to serve through my local church, association, and the Kentucky Baptist Convention. 

I also thank God for the more than 30,000 short-term volunteers and the 100+ self-funded missionaries that have served with us this past year in Kentucky.  Because of folks like these many needy families will have a hot meal this Thanksgiving.  Also, many will have warm clothes and coats to wear this winter. 

How rewarding it is to work behind the scenes and help connect individuals and mission teams to areas of need like these all across our state.  When I go to the office each morning I never know what God is up to as I answer an email or phone call.  It may be a lady from Florida calling to say she feels God leading her to serve in Appalachia, a South Carolina Baptist Men’s group feeling led to construct a new building for a small church in eastern Kentucky, a lady from Louisiana donating $40,000 toward a new house for a widow with a special needs son whose house is falling down, or a WMU group in Henry County who has collected cleaning and hygiene items for a ministry in Harlan County.  Each day is full of nice surprises.

God is calling you as well.  Have you responded to His call to a relationship with Him?  Is He perhaps calling you to MISSIONS?  Kentucky is full of opportunities.  Let me help connect you to a place of service.  Whatever gift, skill, or talent you may have we have a place for you.  Go to our website ( to view a list of opportunities to serve.  Or, give me a call and let me help connect you to a blessing.

Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Enlarge the Tents

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer Glenn Hickey serving with feeding unit in New York City.

In the book of Isaiah, God tells the remnant of His people living in a difficult time to “Enlarge the place of your tent” (Isaiah 54:2-3).  I love the imagery of a tent.  Tents speak of flexibility, adaptability, and mobility.  You can set up a tent almost anywhere.  A tent can easily be expanded by adding panels.  A tent is easily packed up and transported wherever it needs to go.  This sounds a great deal like Disaster Relief ministry – flexible, adaptable, and mobile.

The response to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy has been challenging as we have faced logistical challenges, resource shortages, and extreme weather conditions.  Through it all, our volunteers have demonstrated the ability to be flexible, adaptable, and mobile for the sake of Christ.  These faithful Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have provided thousands of meals, cleared trees, and pumped flooded basements.  But, more importantly, they have shared the hope of Christ through the work of chaplains, prayed with those affected, and offered the life-changing Good News of our Savior.

Listen to the testimony of one of these faithful volunteers responding in New York City:

“We’ve faced some tremendous challenges, but we are still serving people despite it all,” said Karen Smith, a Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leader serving with her Kentucky feeding kitchen at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, N.Y.

Last Sunday, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief feeding units and volunteers provided almost 100,000 meals in New York and New Jersey to people devastated by this mega-storm that slammed the Northeast.  As these meals and other ministries have been provided, it has opened doors to share the hope of Christ.  The result is that at least four have made professions of faith during the response.  Flexibility…Adaptability… Mobility…  Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief remains ready to go wherever and whenever the Lord needs someone to go into the broken places.

This is the Lord’s promise for those who enlarge the place of their tent in difficult times:

“For you shall expand to the right and to the left,

And your descendents will inherit the nations,

And make the desolate cities inhabited”

(Isaiah 54:3).

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief is currently responding to those affected by Hurricane Sandy in New York City.  Contributions for the response to Hurricane Sandy and other disaster responses can be made online or by mail to “Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief” in care of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, PO Box 43433, Louisville, KY 40253-0433.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief is a ministry supported through gifts to the Cooperative Program and the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions.

Mobilizing Believers to Tell Everyone

I have the privilege of writing this first post on our new blog, “Kentucky and Beyond”. I’m not exactly sure where it will go, but I’m hoping that the writings of our team will serve as a tool for missions mobilization in Kentucky, North America and around the world. Let me first clarify missions mobilization as simply a way of referring to work that helps people understand, embrace, and get involved in the Great Commission.

Some people mobilize without noticing they are doing it. A person may tell a friend about the community ministry he’s involved in or invite someone out for coffee with a church planter who is sharing about the new work. Others consciously work to involve believers in mission trips or local ministry opportunities.

There are two primary stages to the missions mobilization process and both are necessary because they depend upon each other as the process continually repeats itself. The first stage raises awareness, educates and inspires vision and passion for missions. A person is likely introduced to this stage of mobilization when he hears a mission conference speaker. Hopefully he comes away reminded about God’s love and concern for the whole world and senses personal responsibility to join in the task. But he also probably senses a need for more practical training about how to apply what he has heard to his life.

The second stage of missions mobilization provides the practical information and guidance people need to transform their mission desire into meaningful involvement. An example of this would be which helps people actively serve by providing details on mission and ministry opportunities; or which tells how to be trained and equipped for responding to disasters in Kentucky and beyond; or which provides guidance to people exploring a missions career.

Both stages are equally important to the success of passing missions onto the next generation of believers and getting people meaningfully involved in God’s plan to reach the lost of this world, beginning right here in Kentucky.

Each believer may find himself at a different place in the process, but ALL Christ followers should be in involved in missions (Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20). In what stage of the missions mobilization process do you find yourself at this time? I’d love to hear from you concerning your missions involvement and learn how we can help you tell His story in Kentucky and beyond.