Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Are We There Yet?

By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO    

        Christmas means different things to different people, but to us Kentucky Baptists it means the Lottie Moon Offering for international missions. It’s a special opportunity during a special season of the year to demonstrate in a special way our desire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the nations, those beyond where we can go and what we see.

            How fortunate we are to have more than 5,000 self sacrificing international missionaries scattered to the ends of the earth telling the good news of Jesus 24/7.  To undergird and facilitate their boldly going, we at home must boldly pray and boldly give.  Did you know contributions through the Lottie Moon Offering provide more than half the support for international missions through the International Mission Board, SBC?  As a result, it is critical we as individuals continue to enhance our giving through this Great Commission giving channel even as our churches enhance their giving through the Cooperative Program, which is the other major Great Commission giving channel of support for international missions.

            The question, “are we there yet?” is the theme for this year’s week of prayer for international missions.  The answer to the question is “no,” we are not there yet in reaching the world for Christ.  However, the IMB has identified the 6,426 people groups that still need to be reached.  So, let’s get busy and start reaching more and more of them before it’s too late.

            This year I want to encourage you to consider moving from a transactional to a more comprehensive approach to giving. This will result in you more boldly giving to reach all peoples with the gospel.  This would be consistent with the KBC’s More for Christ emphasis.  What I mean by a more comprehensive approach is this: in addition to your annual contribution through the Lottie Moon Offering, you consider including in your estate plan a provision(s) to perpetuate your contribution beyond your lifetime. 

            Call Laurie Valentine or me for assistance in accomplishing such a life-changing legacy. (502) 489-3533 or toll free-1-866-489-3533 (KY only)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fulfilling A Vital Mission

By: Barry G. Allen- President and CEO

When you consider your involvement in accomplishing the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you likely do not consider involvement through the Kentucky Baptist Foundation to be a part of that effort. And yet, at the heart of the Foundation’s mission is teaching disciples of Jesus Christ to obey the biblical mandates of financial stewardship to the end more financial resources will be available for accomplishing the Great Commission.

Reaching the world for Christ takes money. And, it will take more in the future than it has in the past and present. Every component of our cooperative missionary, educational and benevolent enterprise will require more money to fulfill its part of the Great Commission effort. Churches and associations will need more money; Baptist colleges, academies, schools and seminaries will need more money; Baptist children’s and other benevolent ministries will need more money; mission boards and missions support organizations will need more money.

Providing the financial resources to accomplish the Great Commission by putting checks and cash in the offering plates on Sunday mornings will not be sufficient. Only when Christians in mass begin to practice what we proclaim we believe will significant progress be made in accomplishing the Great Commission. We proclaim we believe God is the owner of all things, and He has entrusted us to be His managers (stewards) for His purposes. However, there a huge disconnect between what we proclaim and what we do.
We believe the single most important act of financial stewardship a Christian likely will ever make is how we plan our estate. Furthermore, we believe through faithful estate stewardship more resources will be available to accomplish the Great Commission.

So, I invite you to get involved in the Foundation’s vital mission by becoming a friend. Since our traditional sources of support will no longer provide the financial resources necessary to fulfill the mission, we need friends who believe in what we do to begin to provide financial support. Call us to learn how to become a friend.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giving During Life To Provide Perpetual Support

By: Laurie Valentine-Trust Counsel & Chief Operating Officer

You do not have to be a millionaire to be able to provide financial resources that will change peoples’ lives in the Lord’s name.

 Providing support that will continue to give until the Lord returns for your church; state, national and/or international missions; ministries to hurting children and their families; disaster relief; and/or other causes important to you can be accomplished through the creation of a new endowment fund or by making gifts to an existing endowment fund.

An endowment fund is a permanent, perpetual fund managed either by the cause benefited by your gift or another entity such as the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. Only the earnings from the endowment fund are distributed for use by the cause(s) you have designated; the original value of what you give is never spent.

A large gift is not required to establish an endowment fund with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. It can be started with any amount, to which you may add from time to time over your lifetime. This permits even those of modest means to do much more than they ever dreamed possible. As the endowment fund grows, more lives will be touched and blessed through the support provided.

Endowment fund giving does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. You may want to use a life income gift to fund an endowment fund. Life income gifts allow you to make a gift now that will provide an income stream to you and/or others for life with the endowment fund funded with the remainder of your original gift at your death.

Establishing (or adding to) an endowment fund during your lifetime may provide income tax savings if you itemize deductions and capital gains tax savings if you use appreciated assets to fund your gift.

All with which we have been blessed comes from God. Establishing an endowment fund, whether through a single large gift or a lifetime of more modest levels of giving, permits you to demonstrate your gratitude for God’s blessings and your desire to be involved in touching lives in His name.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More For Christ

By: Barry G. Allen- President and CEO

Messengers to the recent annual meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention approved the 4 recommendations of the Great Commission Task Force one of which was for a 3 year emphasis called “More for Christ.”  This is intended to be an intentional time of personal repentance, renewal and redirection for the future as well as a personal and corporate commitment to Christ and to the Great Commission.

More for Christ is intended to mean for each of us Kentucky Baptists: (a) more of myself in personal surrender, personal witness and personal sacrifice; (b) more of my family; (c) more for the lost; (d) more for the needs; and (e) more for the nations.
Alongside the approval of the 4 recommendations, the messengers also approved a resolution on “Giving More for Christ.”  This resolution calls upon each of us to examine closely our hearts and lives to determine how we can give more sacrificially of our time, talents and the financial resources the Lord has entrusted to us to further His kingdom through service in our local churches and church-related ministries. 

The resolution also calls upon each of us to consider making legacy gifts for the support of our churches and the Cooperative Program, which is a recognition that advancing the Kingdom in the future cannot be funded solely by us Christians writing checks and placing them in the offering plates on Sunday morning.  Advancing the Kingdom in the future will require us Christians to steward out of our income as well as out of our assets, which includes estate stewardship.  The characteristics of a legacy gift are: it can’t be put in the offering plate; it’s a gift of a cash or non-cash asset; it’s a gift normally made in light of one’s overall estate and financial plans; it uses tax-advantaged methods to achieve the giver’s objectives; and it may require the assistance of a professional adviser to complete the gift.

As the Lord leads you “to give more for Christ” via a legacy gift, please give us the privilege of assisting you.  Laurie Valentine and I are just a toll-free call away. 1-866-489-3533. (Kentucky only)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kentucky’s Abused Children Deserve Our Care

By: Barry G. Allen- President and CEO

Recently a friend showed me a souvenir of the 24th anniversary of the organization of the Louisville Baptist Orphan’s Home held on June 30, 1893. It included a letter from Mary Hollingsworth, superintendant since its 1869 beginning. It stated “A year ago we had fifty-eight children dependent upon our charity; today we have eighty-two children to care for, and children are coming almost daily. This means additional burdens for us as a people, and we must do this noble work God has placed in our care, for to Him we are indebted for all that we have, and we must help these dear children by giving liberally of our substance. Our work is increasing each day, and of course our expenses of necessity will increase. We appeal to the friends of our Home everywhere, to give liberally for the support of the Home, as we need that help now.”

Just last week I received a communication from Dr. Bill Smithwick, President/CEO of Sunrise Children’s Services, successor of the Louisville Baptist Orphan’s Home, with some startling statistics about children today. Did you realize thousands of Kentucky children go to bed each night and wake up in homes where proper love and concern are absent, where physical, sexual and emotional abuse is common, and where the hope for a brighter tomorrow grows dimmer with each passing day? There have been more than 15,000 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect, and Kentucky led the nation last year in the rate of child abuse and neglect deaths.

Since 1869 we Kentucky Baptists have been caring for children through this vital ministry. Last year more than 2,000 turned to Sunrise for help. Although the types of care required have changed since Superintendant Hollingsworth appealed in 1893 for financial support, the necessity of “giving liberally of our substance” has not changed. Please join my wife and me and make a liberal contribution to the Thanksgiving Children’s Offering on which this ministry depends. Make an impact for Christ’s sake and for the sake of these children.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Smart Giving

By: Barry G. Allen- President and CEO

Between now and the end of the year you very likely will be bombarded with appeals for financial assistance from the various worthy charitable organizations with which you are affiliated and from others seeking your affiliation and support.

As you prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you to do during this season of giving, let me commend to you the reminders of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15:
∙ Giving is like planting seeds: “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (v 6).
∙ Giving should be thoughtful, cheerful and with conviction: “each person should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (v 7).
∙ Giving is motivated by our thanksgiving to God: “Thanks be to God for His
indescribable gift!” (v15).

If you conclude the Lord is leading you to make a gift(s) out of your assets in addition to gifts out of your income, and you would like assistance in understanding the various charitable giving options available to you, please contact Laurie Valentine or me.

Perhaps a life income gift would be of interest to you. Such a gift provides you an opportunity to establish now a future, irrevocable gift for your favorite charitable organization(s) and the potential to increase cash flow to you and/or others for life or for a term of years. If you itemize deductions, you may deduct, in the year you establish the life income gift, the present value of the charity’s interest.

Or you may prefer to establish an endowment fund to provide perpetual support to your favorite charitable organization(s). You could establish it with a year-end gift and add to it in the future, including a bequest in your estate plan.

Whatever smart giving ideas you may be considering prayerfully, please give us the privilege of assisting you with information and consultation. Call us toll-free at 1-866-489-3533. (Kentucky only)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Year End Tax Planning

By: Laurie Valentine, Trust Counsel & Chief Operating Officer

With December 31 fast approaching, now is a good time to review tax planning actions that you have already taken this year and to discuss with your tax adviser other things you may be able to do before year-end to further reduce your 2010 income taxes.

If you will be in a lower tax bracket in 2011, it may be prudent to defer some of this year’s income until next year and to pay deductible items that you would normally pay in early 2011 before December 31, 2010.
Business and professional people who use the cash accounting method may be able to defer the receipt of income by not billing until year-end for services rendered in 2010. The receipt of a bonus that your employer is free to give or not give can be deferred into next year to lower your 2010 compensation income.

Pay real estate taxes and the January 15 installment of state and local income taxes before December 31 to accelerate these deductible items into the 2010 tax year. If possible, pay all medical bills, if the total will exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, before year-end to be able to use that expense as a deduction, if you itemize.

Another income tax deduction that is very easy to accelerate is the charitable deduction. You have total control on when this deduction will be available; all you have to do is complete your charitable gifts before December 31.

Your tithes and offerings are “charitable gifts” that can be deducted on your income tax return, if you itemize. You can also deduct gifts of appreciated securities, mutual fund shares, real estate, business interests, and life insurance policies to your church, Kentucky Baptist and Southern Baptist causes or other qualified charities.

Charitable income tax deductions are available for both outright gifts to charity and life income gifts such as charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts.
Make time for year-end tax planning with your advisers; it can beneficial to you and to the charitable causes you wish to support.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice.  For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blessings, Responsibilities, Rewards

Barry G. Allen- President and CEO

I was inspired upon reading the 1950 report to the messengers of the General Association of Baptists in KY (now the KBC) of the late A. M. Vollmer, executive secretary of the KBF. His message is timeless, and therefore, I share a portion with you verbatim in its 1950s language.

“Men with limited intelligence may make money and men without intelligence may inherit money, but it takes men of keen intellect to rightly use money. It is hard to battle against money lust. It requires strength and courage. It is really the use of possessions that reveals character. What a man does with what he has tells the story of what he is.

Failure to make good use of possessions is folly. God called a man who accumulated large sums, enlarged barns, and made no provision for the future a ‘fool.’ George F. Johnson, a great shoe manufacturer, said ‘To die rich is a disgrace.’ It is the equivalent to failing at a very vital point in life.

Men and women who are blessed with earthly possessions have serious responsibilities. Great wisdom, cautious consideration and a keen Christian conscience should be used in planning for the future of these possessions. The one who fails at this point will lose the power of Christian testimony. He will soon be forgotten by succeeding generations. Failure in an opportunity for doing good can weaken prospects of a reward in heaven.

He who makes good use of possessions will show strength of character, sincerity of caution, and leave a powerful Christian testimony for succeeding generations by doing good in the world until the Lord comes again and will win a rich reward in the final reckoning day….

There is every reason why every Baptist should give serious consideration to the matter of placing his Lord’s money in that place where its usefulness will never cease and its testimony to the loyalty of the donor will never die…. The cry of a lost and dying world urges them to do it.”

Friday, October 8, 2010

More Essential Than Ever - State's Baptist institutions faithful to biblical education

Barry G. Allen, President and CEO

     Christian higher education is more essential to our culture today than it ever has been.

     And how fortunate we Kentucky Baptists are to be in relationship with three quality Christian higher education institutions: Campbellsville University, University of the Cumberlands and Georgetown College.

     The leaders of each of these schools take seriously the unique calling of Christian higher education (a) to encourage and model biblical morality for a generation that has grown up in moral relativism; (b) to articulate and defend the biblical worldview for a generation that has grown up in spiritual pluralism; and (c) to equip disciples who will manifest a faithful presence at the highest levels of influence for a polarized and embittered culture.

     As Jim Denison, president of the Center for Informed Faith, recently reminded Baptist college administrations, "Remember you serve a King who is building His kingdom through you. These are not our schools, but His. We join Him as He works to draw them to Himself and to use them for His greater glory."

     Christian higher education has at its core Christ, who is truth. You can be pleased our three institutions approach their missions with a commitment to holistic education, nurturing the intellect, shaping and molding the heart and soul, modeling servanthood as a way of life, and touching our neighbors throughout the world with a touch of God's love.

     Paul Corts, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, recently observed that today as most of higher education in America has lost its way and deserted its heritage of faith, losing sight of its reason for being, we can be thankful to be the beneficiaries of those faithful stewards who followed the admonition of scripture to preserve and grow "the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).

     Why not consider making a legacy gift for the benefit of these three institutions to perpetuate that scriptural admonition? Call us for assistance.