Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 30, 2014

Ky. Baptists see membership growth

More than 26,500 added to rolls last year

LOUISVILLE — Southern Baptist churches in Kentucky reported significant growth in membership in 2013, adding more than 26,500 believers to their rolls.

The growth further strengthens the Kentucky Baptist Convention, which already was by far the state’s largest religious organization with some 750,000 members.

“We thank God for each of our new members, and look forward to seeing them impact Kentucky and the world for Christ,” said KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood. “We’re truly humbled to see the Lord bless the work of our churches in every part of Kentucky, whether tiny rural communities or large urban centers.”

Actual membership growth could be significantly higher, considering nearly 20 percent of the state’s Southern Baptist churches didn’t submit annual reports with statistics about new members.

Churches that did submit paperwork reported a total of 13,970 members added by baptisms and 12,597 who transferred from other congregations for a total of 26,567.

The 2013 growth followed a strong 2012, when 14,984 members were added by baptism and 12,710 transferred in for a total of 27,694.

“Those totals are especially eye-catching when you consider they exceed the populations of cities like Ashland and Paducah, the regional hubs of eastern and western Kentucky,” Chitwood said. “We have seen enough people added to our churches to fully populate a mid-size Kentucky city.”

Hillvue Heights Baptist Church in Bowling Green led the state last year with 571 baptisms. Valley View Baptist Church in Louisville was second with 142. Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown reported 108. And First Baptist Church in Somerset reported 102.

Churches in the Warren Baptist Association, based in Bowling Green, reported a total of 1,065 baptisms and 809 transfers from other congregations. The Long Run Association, based in Louisville, reported 755 baptisms and 1,029 transfers.

The growth not only strengthens Kentucky’s Southern Baptist churches spiritually, but gives them more clout on moral and political matters important to Christians.

Major secular newspapers reported in April that Southern Baptists’ cultural influence is what doomed a proposal to legalizing casinos in Kentucky in a recently concluded legislative session.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Courier-Journal and USA Today carried a story reporting Southern Baptists make up more than 1 million of Kentucky’s 4.4 million residents, and that almost half of the state Senate and more than a third of the House identify as Baptists.

“I’m thrilled that Southern Baptist churches are being so successful in their outreach to Kentucky,” Chitwood said. “We need to keep in mind, this is not about numbers. It’s about introducing the lost to Jesus. It’s about changed lives. It’s about the hope of heaven.”


Text Only
Local News
  • Local in brief: 7/23/14

    The inaugual Ride for Autism will be Aug. 23, starting and ending at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill at the Kyova Mall, including a stop at Carter Caves State Resort Park.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723trailtown.jpg First lady recognizes Morehead Trail Town status

    Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear said Morehead’s achievement in finally reaching “Trail Town” certification exemplifies the strength and dedication of the small town community during her address Tuesday at the Rowan County Arts Center.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • McConnell co-sponsors bill to protect correctional officers

    U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell co-sponsored legislation to help protect correctional officers and staff at Federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723copshots1.JPG Focus on law enforcement

    Members of several local and regional law enforcement agencies hit the streets of downtown Ashland Tuesday armed with digital cameras and assignment sheets as they completed in-service photography instruction through the Department of Criminal Justice.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Obama admin. says health subsidies will continue

    A federal appeals court delivered a potentially serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law Tuesday, imperiling billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.

    July 22, 2014

  • State’s longest trail system turns 35

    The Sheltowee Trace was officially dedicated as part of the National Recreation Trail system in 1979. After 35 years, the trail remains Kentucky’s longest distance trail, estimated at 307 miles.

    July 21, 2014

  • Pancake releases new album

    The top of the Sky Tower in downtown Ashland was booming Saturday night with music from Larry Pancake’s new album “Fair Weather Friend.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Telephone scammer fleeces man of $5,000

    A telephone scammer claimed another area victim when a Williams Avenue man paid $5,000 after the con artist told him he had won a sweepstakes but had to pay taxes on the prize money before collecting it, according to Ashland Police Department reports.

    July 21, 2014

  • Murder defendant pleads guilty on lesser charge, sentenced to 8 years

    One of four charged with murder in a 2008 double killing pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday just before his trial was to start.

    July 21, 2014

  • MIA Rush Marine to rest in Arlington

    Finding Dottie McCoy’s uncle after 71 years was the biggest part of the struggle.

    July 21, 2014