Introducing the 2022 Kentucky Missionary of the Year

Stacey Burton, Director of Lake Cumberland Baptist Association’s PM59 Ministries in Somerset, is the 2022 Kentucky Missionary of the Year.

Stacey has served as a Mission Service Corps Missionary since June 2013.  She directs a ministry to children and families which, in the past, has included a children’s choir, family mission action projects, mission education for children, day camps, family movie nights, and much more. 

In March 2020, when the pandemic forced their regular ministry activities to stop, Stacey found new adventures and new ways to reach her community.  Working with five partnering churches, they began drive thru dinners and, when these stopped, she focused on two housing areas where they continued to deliver meals.

Stacey ministers to ladies at a local rehab center, where she builds relationships, feeds them meals, and offers encouragement.  Over the past couple of years, she has seen many of these ladies profess faith in Christ and follow through with baptism.  Stacey helps to connect them to a local church and continues to disciple them in their new walk with the Lord.

On her 2021 KY-MSC ministry report, Stacey reported thirty professions of faith and twenty-five baptisms as a result of her ministry and/or personal witnessing. 

Each year Stacey coordinates the Christmas Backpack program in Pulaski County, serving nearly one thousand local children.  She works with other churches in the Lake Cumberland Baptist Association to create, organize, and/or maintain their preschool, children, and family ministries, and helps many of the smaller churches with Vacation Bible School.

Stacey left a career as a public-school teacher a few years ago to devote full-time to this ministry position.  In addition to her ministry, she has adopted and fostered several children, some of which are now teenagers, and is leading them to be active in ministry. 

Bro. Ed Amundson, Stacey’s pastor at High Street Baptist Church in Somerset, has shared how valuable Stacey has been in leading their church and other churches in the Lake Cumberland Baptist Association to be on-mission in their local communities. 

Stacey is most deserving of this award, which is given annually to a missionary that demonstrates:

  • Commitment to and effectiveness in evangelism, church planting, or ministry.
  • Demonstration of “going the second mile.”
  • Outstanding performance in achieving assigned tasks.
  • Tenure
  • Unusual commitment to our Lord’s service.
  • Positive representation of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
  • True reflection of being an “On Mission Christian.”

CONGRATULATIONS, Stacey!!

Called to Make a Difference

God has always called His people to make a difference. God has always been a “sending God” where we are called to be sent. We find all through Scripture, and especially in the life of Jeremiah the prophet of being called and sent by God.

As God is calling Jeremiah, He points out to Jeremiah in chapter 1 verse 7, “Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.”

God called Jeremiah to be a voice calling people to a relationship to God. What is God calling you to? There are four things I want to point out:

First, There is a Call to be Responded To. God’s call on our lives is always a personal call. He does not call us all the same way for the same purpose, but His call to us is always personal.

• He called Noah in a personal way.
• He called Abram in a personal way.
• He called Moses in a personal and unique way.
• He called Samuel in a personal way in the middle of the night.
• He called Jeremiah in a personal way when he was a young man.
• He called Saul in a very personal and unexpected way.

Jesus calls us and He calls us by name in a personal and specific way, each unique.

The call from God to be responded to is two-fold: to a relationship with Him and to be on mission for Him.

Second, There is a Commission to be Committed To. God called Jeremiah to be a spokesman to the people. This was his commission to be committed to.

Every Christian has a commission to be committed to (Matt. 28:19-20). And just as God told Jeremiah, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.” The first words God puts in the mouth of any Christian are the words of his/her testimony – a testimony of how God changed your life.

There is also another commission we must be committed to and that is the mission God has assigned to you personally. As the Scripture compares the members to a body (1 Cor. 12), we all have part that we are called and assigned to in God’s plan. We must be committed to the commission we are assigned.

Third, There is a Caution to be Alerted To. In Jeremiah 1:17 God gives him a caution. God was warning Jeremiah not to be more concerned with making excuses for not carrying out the commission than about obedience to fulfilling the call.

We are all full of excuses.
• It is the preacher’s job.
• It is not my gift.
• I witness by my life.
• I am too busy.

However, we should always remain obedient to the call. I am reminded of the words of the old hymn, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus. But to trust and obey.”

Yes, it is just that simple. Not always easy, but it is simple.

Finally, There is a Command to be Obedient To. When God calls a person to follow Him and to answer His call, He expects not dialogue, not discussion, nor debate; but simply obedience.
The Psalmist said, “I have inclined my heart to perform Thy statutes.” Psalm 119:112

Jesus said in John 14:23, “If anyone loves me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.”

Have you been called to make a difference? Are you committed to following His command?

GO! And make a difference in the world around you.

The Mission Continues

As Jesus gathers with his disciples on that Galilean Mountain for a final time, what would he say to them?  Would he say, “It’s been fun. Thanks for the memories.”?  Or maybe, “I will miss you. Hang in there.”  Of course not.  As the disciples see Jesus, they are mixed with worship and worry (Matt 28:17).

In that moment, Jesus says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20).

The change in circumstances for the disciples did not change their mission – make disciples of all nations. In fact, it propelled it.  The mission of Jesus is to continue through the disciples of Jesus.  The work is just getting started, he tells his disciples.  Instead of sitting back in fear of what just happened or what might happen, the disciples are given their mission and assured of Jesus’ ongoing presence. 

The circumstances surrounding the last weeks of Jesus’ life on earth did not deter the mission; rather, it gives fuel for the mission.  Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is the basis for the mission he gives his disciples.  Though the disciples are long gone and with the Lord now, the mission he gave them on that mountaintop remains.  The mission continues, as Jesus promises his presence to all who live out this mission (Matt 28:20). 

Jesus insists, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).  Quite literally, Jesus says that he is with us “all the days, even to the end of the age.”  His presence is promised to us as we continue the mission.  Seasons and circumstances change, but the mission marches on as Jesus promises to be with us. 

Whether in pandemics, wars or the like, the mission of Jesus continues until the “end of the age.”  The Lord’s church must find ways to stay on mission locally and globally regardless of the circumstances.  Your church plays a vital role in the mission given to us by Jesus.  How will you ensure that the mission continues across the street and across the sea regardless of the circumstances?  The Missions Mobilization Team is here to help you do just that, to continue the mission of Jesus.        

Meet Our New 2022 KY-MSC Missionaries


We have survived the long Winter season.  Spring is on its way, and things are beginning to point to new life.  What an exciting time of year.  It’s time once again for our annual missionary orientation and commissioning of the new missionaries serving in Kentucky. 

Fifteen men and women that have sensed God’s call to serve in ministries across our state will be commissioned at the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration on Friday, April 8th, at Hodgenville First Baptist Church.

These new missionaries are:

  • Mollie Bentley, Rockhouse Baptist Church Mission Center in Hyden.
  • Perry Cooke, Mark 12 Ministries in Louisville.
  • Marilyn Creighton, KBC North Central Regional Mobilization Consultant in Lexington.
  • Virginia Dial, Connect Community Village in Somerset.
  • David Little, Western Kentucky Correctional Complex in Fredonia.
  • Daryl & Sheila Mullins, The Haven at Clarity in Elizabethtown.
  • Pam Polkey, Irishtown Mission in Lexington.
  • Bryan & Stephanie Proctor, Orphan Care Alliance in Lawrenceburg.
  • Roberta Robertson, Bright Life Farms in Princeton.
  • Rebecca Salyer, The Branch in Prestonsburg.
  • Mary Jane Schopp, Kentucky Joy in the Mourning in Burlington.
  • Jerry & Kimberly Wallace, Northern Kentucky Re-entry in Cold Spring.

The orientation is a time for the missionaries to learn about the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Cooperative Program, Eliza Broadus State Missions and many resources and support available to them.  This time of networking is most valuable.

You can partner with these and/or one of our current 116 Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionaries by:

Plan to join us for this special commissioning service where you can meet the missionaries and pledge your support for them.  The 2022 Kentucky Missionary of the Year will also be recognized at the service.

For more information on the missionaries, email [email protected].  To register for the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration go to http://www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting

We hope to see you there.

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As the World Watches – There is Something We Can Do!

As the world watches, Ukrainians are being invaded by Russia and forced to flee from their homes.  While the actual numbers are believed to be higher, it was reported today by national news sources today that 365 Ukrainians have been killed and 759 have been injured.  We’ve seen the videos of families crying and praying as shots are fired and shells dropped in or near their homes. The world is watching as mothers and children wait it out in subway stations or bomb shelters throughout the Ukraine.  It’s so heartbreaking and perhaps even traumatizing. 

Many have denounced the actions and feel strong emotions toward those responsible. I’ve felt that too.  But I want to do more than feel, I want to help.  But what can I do?  Are there things I can do to help those that are experiencing isolation, hunger, physical pain, death of loved ones, unemployment and loss of shelter?  The answer is yes.  There are two primary ways we can help at this time in the crisis:

  1. Prayer – prayer is the best way to face anything, especially a crisis.  Prayer is a real connection to God and helps us as we petition God on behalf of others. God encourages us to cry out to Him when there is trouble.  “Call out to me when trouble comes. I will save you. And you will honor me.” (Psalms 50:15; Psalm 91:15).

Here are some specific ways to pray:

  • Pray for peace, asking God to bring an end to the violence and tension between these countries.
  • Pray that God will redeem this situation by drawing people to himself. 
  • Pray those in the crisis will place their hope in Christ rather than governments, a powerful military or diplomacy.
  • Pray that leaders will exercise wisdom and seek God about decisions being made.
  • Pray for the safety of soldiers and their families while separated from them. 
  • Pray for the 1.5 million refugees who have been displaced that are now seeking safety, shelter and food. 
  • Pray that Christians in both countries will stand strong and boldly proclaim their faith as it is tested.
  • Giving – giving is a way for us to bless those in the crisis as we’ve been blessed, and we certainly have been!  Donating to relief efforts encourages a grateful and generous spirit in us as we determine in our heart to give and help others who are in need. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). 

There are many organizations receiving financial gifts on behalf of the Ukrainian crisis and to whom you give is of utmost importance.  Here are a few things to consider before writing a check or making a charge on your credit card:

  • Research the organization you are giving through to ensure they are credible and have boots on the ground that can carry-out the response effort.
  • Consider becoming a partner to the organization and giving over the long haul because relief and recovery efforts may take months, and sometimes even years.    
  • Support an organization that was there before the crisis and already invested in the people. Unfortunately, charities come out of the woodwork following a disaster and many don’t have the local network, infrastructure or relationships to efficiently and effectively distribute aid to victims.
  • Make sure that the organization you are giving to is a registered non-profit with the state regulator.  If you wish to receive a tax deduction for your gift, make sure that they are registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt organization.  You can check this out at: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search

The Kentucky Baptist Convention (www.kybaptist.org/ukraine) is an organization collecting financial aid on behalf of the Ukrainian crisis. It is the organization that many choose to give through because it meets all the criteria outlined above.  They have partners on the ground already providing aid. To date, our nationally partner, SEND Relief, has already dispersed almost a million dollars in aid.  We have boots on the ground meeting needs because we were there prior to the crisis and have plans (Lord willing) to still be there when the dust settles.  Additionally, a small portion of the financial aid received through the KBC will be used specifically to aid Ukrainian refugees who settle in Kentucky. If Ukrainian refugees don’t settle in Kentucky, any dollars withheld will be forwarded to our national partner, SEND Relief. 

I can’t imagine being forced out of my home, community or country. But if it happened, I would find encouragement and strength in knowing that people everywhere are praying for me and giving financially toward my recovery.   

Ukraine Crisis: Overview, Impact and Opportunity!

Send Relief is bringing help and hope to displaced families in Ukraine during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Overview

After 8 years of ongoing conflict, Russia has launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine, rolling in tanks and troops into their neighbors to the West.

This conflict could cause nearly 5 million people to be displaced and lead to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis among the Ukrainian people. The greatest needs for displaced families are food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation and hygiene needs.

Send Relief, a cooperative ministry between the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, is working with local Baptist partners in Ukraine to respond to the growing crisis by ministering to displaced families. Send Relief can connect you and your church with opportunities to pray and give to support this response!

Your gifts to Send Relief are already providing emergency food supplies, shelter and clothing to displaced families. As the conflict escalates, Send Relief partners are preparing to provide more food relief, continue meeting shelter needs and offer transportation to those impacted by this crisis.

Impact and Opportunity

Give today to bring help and healing to the hurting! Link to give: sendrelief.org

This is a scene from a Ukrainian church we have partnered with to care for displaced families. They are providing food, a warm place to sleep and fellowship to 60+ displaced this weekend.

Your gifts for Ukraine are helping the Church be the Church! Also, your prayers are critical! Remember Church, there is extraordinary power in prayer. Kentucky Baptist, the Mission Mobilization Team exist to serve you and your church, as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. Contact John Barnett, KBC Missions Strategist and Send Relief Ambassador for Care for Refugees, if you have questions or concerns. We are here to help! Email John: [email protected] or text: 502-654-3385.

Link to download your Ukrainian Prayer Guide: https://www.sendrelief.org/resource/ukraine-prayer-guide/

Church: Pray, Give, Get involved today!

*All Pics and article information have been shared with permission from Send Relief (sendrelief.org)

Reaching Others Through Evangelism and Missions

I remember several years ago overhearing two pastors discuss evangelism vs. missions and which should be the focus of the church. One pastor thought all the focus had to be on evangelism. After all, are we not about the Great Commission and sharing the Gospel? The other pastor argued it had to be about missions. After all, didn’t Paul and others take many missionary journeys? Paul and his companions were always on mission.

I am not sure how each pastor defined these terms in their own mind, but evangelism is spreading the Gospel by preaching or personal witness. Missions involves the calling to go out and spread the Word of one’s faith. Those terms seem very similar to me, yet maybe different in context.

Organizationally we may separate them as evangelism does involve equipping and training, which is a biblical mandate (Eph. 4:12). Missions involves going out and being involved; this too is a biblical mandate (Matt. 28:19-20).

In the church I grew up in, it seemed when you said the word “evangelism,” the picture which came to mind was going door to door creating anxiety in many minds. Whereas the word “missions,” a picture which came to mind was sending a check to the Cooperative Program, Annie Armstrong Easter offering, Lottie Moon Christmas offering, and state mission offering. Maybe a local mission project from time to time might be included.

In my mind, you cannot separate evangelism and missions. They go together. If we refer to the definition of the two terms, if you are evangelizing, you are on mission. If you are going on mission, what is the point unless you see the opportunity to preach or share your personal testimony? I don’t know about you, but I don’t need something else to do for the sake of doing it. But ministry the work of motivates us to be on mission and evangelize. Because of our going and doing, we have the opportunity of serving and sharing.

That is why I love the disaster relief ministry. I see how it models the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was on mission and Jesus evangelized. As you read and study His ministry, very often you see how He met the physical needs of someone, which would then open the opportunity for Him to share their greatest need, their spiritual need.

Often people will ask me when we are on a disaster response helping clean up after a storm, “How much does this cost?” I often will answer with, “It has already been paid for.” This confuses them for a moment, but that answer opens the door to share the Gospel, as Jesus paid it all.

I remember the story in the Bible when Jesus “had to go to Samaria.” (John 4:4). He had a calling to go there (missions), and an opportunity to share the Gospel (evangelism). Jesus called Zacchaeus down from the tree and went to his house. Jesus went to his house (missions) and shared the Gospel (evangelism). Because of His mission, He changed lives with the Good News.

If we are to be followers and ambassadors of the Lord, then we should do as He did. And obey as He did. We are to “go” as we are sent; “do” as we are given opportunity; “be” what He has made us; and share the reason of our hope: Jesus Christ.

Going and sharing. Sharing and going. Evangelism and missions. They go together. And as we go, we will reach the world for Christ.

Throw a Lifeline

Years ago, while speaking at a youth camp in Daytona Beach, FL, myself and several others were caught in a dangerous undertow while attempting to give assistance to a teenager struggling in the choppy Atlantic waters.  Thinking that I was swimming over to help a teenage boy in need, I found myself needing help.  Before I realized it, lifeguards filled the sandy beach, along with firetrucks and ambulances.  All the while, one lifeguard swam against the undertow to rescue myself and a few others who were in danger of drowning. 

Clinging to his buoy, he instructed us to kick as we tried to swim parallel with the beach in order to eventually swim out of the undertow.  Unfortunately, we did not make any progress.  The waves continued to pull us further away from shore.  We were struggling to hang on and stay afloat.  That’s when everything changed.  One by one, other lifeguards entered the water, stretching out their buoys until they formed a human lifeline to reach us and pull us to the safety of the beach.        

Those in the waves of gospel ministry can relate to this story all too well.  They answer the call from God to go and help those struggling in the waters of life.  Yet often they find themselves in need of help.  Missions specifically and ministry in general is not for the faint of heart.  One need only review the apostle Paul’s “resume” to realize such is the case. 

He describes his own experience, “Apart from such external things [beatings, ship wrecks and fleeing], there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:24-25, 28).  No wonder why God assured Paul that no harm would come to him while he was in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11). Paul faced both external opposition to the gospel and internal pressure for the care of the church. 

Bottom line: ministry is filled with both physically demanding and emotionally draining work.  Gospel work is hard work.    

It is no wonder why Paul, in his prison letter to Timothy, reminds the young pastor, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).  Ministry can be brutal both to the body and the mind.  Timothy needed to be encouraged to continue in the work that God had called him to.

Today is no different.  When it comes to the Great Commission, encouragement for missionaries and those who labor for the gospel is vital for their longevity.  Because doing the work of ministry involves external opposition and internal pressure, finding ways to throw our co-laborers a lifeline is essential for their survival.   

The church can play a vital role in lifeline ministry to missionaries and gospel workers.  While ministers of the gospel grow weary, churches that embrace a culture of encouragement among those on the frontlines provide real endurance for those struggling to run the race well. 

As I meet with pastors, church planters, and missionaries all over North American and internationally, the common theme I hear from them is that we have no idea what it means to them when they receive a card, message, package, phone call, or visit. 

Paul knew this well.   After all, after planting churches, he made rounds back to those same churches “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22).  You never know what a call, card, text, package, visit or just ongoing communication with a pastor, church planter, or missionary will do to help them “continue in the faith.”  It quite literally is a lifeline to them!

Long-Term Missionary Opportunities

People all across Kentucky are being impacted by of the ministry of Mission Service Corps missionaries. A Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionary (KY-MSC), is an adult (18 years of age or older), called by God and connected to a Kentucky Baptist Convention church. They commit to serve from nine months to two years, with the term being renewable. The positions engage in or directly support missions, church planting, collegiate ministry, or evangelism, in cooperative partnership with a Kentucky Baptist Convention church, association, or organization. Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionaries are self-funded.

Currently there are 111 KY-MSC Missionaries serving, and eight others that have applied. These missionaries serve in a variety of ministries, from directing ministry centers, to pregnancy care centers, prison ministries, student ministries, homeless shelters, food & clothing ministries, equestrian ministries, Celebrate Recovery, ministries to internationals, and the list goes on and on. I often say that however God has gifted you, there is a place for you to serve in Kentucky.

Do you sense that God may be calling you? Many times we think a missionary call means to serve in another country or state; somewhere far, far away. And, while that might be the case, He may be calling you to a ministry right here in Kentucky, perhaps in your own county or community. If so, we would like to talk with you.

Currently we have ten open requests for long-term, self-funded missionaries. Please pray that these positions would be filled. And consider if God might be leading you to fill one of the positions.

Click on the following links to view the open requests.

  1. Allen Baptist Church – Allen, KY
  2. Baptist Mission – Luanda, Angola
  3. Crossroads Community Baptist Church Missionary Need – Stearns, KY
  4. Emergency Christian Ministries – Williamsburg, KY
  5. Freedom Center Ministries Assistant Directors – Cumberland, KY
  6. God’s Appalachian Partnership DB Director – McDowell, KY
  7. God’s Appalachian Partnership  E2 Director – McDowell, KY
  8. New Bethel Baptist Church – Eddyville, KY
  9. Red River Baptist Association – Stanton, KY
  10. South Union Baptist Church – Hopkinsville, KY

Please pray with us for individuals and/or couples to fill these positions. For information on how to get connected email [email protected].

Spiritual Growth Leads to Mission Service

There’s no shortage of places to serve on mission with the Lord.  Opportunities abound, but only a very small number are willing to respond. We’ve heard the request for mission trip participants or the plea for volunteers to help meet a need in the community, but how did we respond?   Many churches lack people who are willing to get involved in taking the gospel across the street, much less, around the world.  The mission fields locally and globally are in desperate need of obedient Christ followers willing to say, “here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). I’m not sure what more can be done by churches or missions organizations to entice people to respond affirmatively to mission service.

I don’t think the answer to more people serving is greater promotion, financial assistance or even a powerful personal challenge. While those things may be helpful, what is needed are spiritually mature believers who will say yes to live out their faith (James 2:14-26).  We need God’s power to fall upon our churches because His presence in our lives will bring repentance, followed by a life of service. When God is at work among His people, there is never a shortage of volunteers or resources for His work!  When Christ followers are walking with Him, witnessing to neighbors and taking the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) will be a natural outcome. 

God didn’t save us to satisfyingly sit.  He saved us to serve Him through a life on mission. He expects us to minister to the least of these (Matthew 25:40) and take the gospel to the lost. But will I be obedient in going if it requires making personal sacrifices in-order to do so? Living a life on mission involves exchanging my selfish desires for whatever God wants. The author is unknown but I’ve heard it said that “spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how high you jump in praise, but by how straight you walk in obedience”.

If we are growing in our faith there will be an awareness within us of the lostness around us.  Very simply, God draws us to Him and sends us out (John 20:21).   Spiritual growth in the life of a Christian will be lived out through missions involvement. So, if I’m not living as “sent”, perhaps I’m not as spiritually mature as I should be because growing is evidenced by going. 

I pray that what God is doing in my life inwardly will be seen outwardly through mission activity that results in new believers being baptized and discipled.