Friday, October 21, 2011

Give What You've Got: The Wootons

If a couple ever understood the truth of Jesus’ miracle in feeding the four thousand (Mark 8:1-13), it was Shirley and Bob Wooton. Furthermore, they didn’t just talk about what they would give to God if they had a million dollars because they knew God is not interested in what someone “would give if.” He’s interested in what a person or couple is giving right now with “what they’ve got,” modest as it may seem to some. The Kentucky Baptist Foundation is honored to have played a part in facilitating Bob and Shirley’s stewardship and understanding that Jesus will multiply what they gave. He calls us to do what we can, and then He’ll do what we can’t.

Shirley, who passed away in 2010, was born in Louisville and reared on her parents’ farm in Shepherdsville. Her dad also worked for the L&N Railroad, and her mother was a homemaker. Bob was born and reared in Hyden; his father was a schoolteacher and a coal miner, his mother was a homemaker. During high school, Bob’s algebra teacher advised him to become an engineer. So, in the spirit of the mountain culture Bob’s parents moved to Louisville so he could attend U of L’s Speed Scientific School, which he did following his graduation from Louisville’s Southern High School. Shirley’s parents moved to the same neighborhood, and she also graduated from Southern High. It was their mothers who introduced them, and after two years of dating they were married September 18, 1959 at Little Flock Baptist Church, Shirley’s home church. According to Bob, “it was an arranged marriage.”

Following Bob’s graduation from U of L’s Speed Scientific School, the couple moved to Dayton, Ohio, where Bob utilized his engineering skills in the military division of NCR. In 1971 his division transferred to St. Petersburg, Florida. In 1974 Bob joined IBM in Lexington, and they moved to Versailles. Versailles Baptist pastor Henry Johns became their pastor and dear friend. After retiring in 1991, they returned to Louisville. Cedar Creek Baptist Church is their church home.

During the Ohio years, Shirley was housewife and mother to their three children, who are now: Shirley Jo Trimble of Cullman, Alabama, John in Lexington, and Jennifer Krajewski of Indianapolis. Their two grandchildren are Robbie Trimble and Kaitlyn Wooton. Once back in Louisville, Shirley became a perpetual temporary assistant for the KBC Mission Board, the Western Recorder and the Foundation. She became part-time in the KBC Music Department from which she retired.

Before Shirley’s death the Wooton’s called upon Laurie Valentine, KBF trust counsel, and KBF CEO Barry Allen to assist them in carrying out the stewardship plan they had concluded the Lord had lain upon their hearts. Years before, Shirley’s parents had donated a parcel of their farm for use as a volunteer fire station, because their community needed a fire department. In the conveyance of title there was a provision that the property would be returned to their family if and when it ceased to be used as a fire station. That day came, and the property reverted to Shirley and her brother.

There was no question in Shirley and Bob’s minds they needed to tithe the value of her interest in the property. They had always been faithful in their giving, and realizing the reversion of this property was a special gift from God, they wanted the tithe of it to be used from something really special and enduring in the accomplishment of Christ’s mission. Over the years, the Wootons had faced some very serious medical challenges in their lives and the lives of their children. God never failed to provide what they needed to meet those challenges. By their own testimony, they are just plain, simple, modest people who have received countless blessings from the Lord, and wanted to demonstrate through this experience their love for Him and for those in need of Him.

In the Fall of 1997 Shirley and Bob established with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation the Robert M. and Shirley Wooton Endowment Fund for the perpetual benefit of the KBC’s Missionary Assistance Program, which provides salary and benefit supplements to directors of missions and mission pastors in Kentucky. Until Shirley began her work at the KBC, they knew very little about state missions work, but had an awareness of the needs of small churches from their small church pastor son-in-law, Dennis Trimble. Never before had they been in a position to contribute materially in such a way, but the Lord had provided, and their sense of stewardship said “we need to tithe its value.”

So, the fire station property has been given twice. Instead of focusing on what they did not have, and using what they did have, Shirley and Bob made a lasting difference in the lives of the multitudes who will touched by the Kentucky Baptist missionaries who will benefit from their generosity. It is also a wonderful memorial tribute to the life of Shirley. The question for the rest of us is, “will we give what we’ve got?”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

God’s Economy

By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO
With so much in the news every minute of the day about the global economy and the anxieties felt around the world as a result of the negative economic headwinds, I’ve been thinking about God’s economy. In fact, my current daily devotional plan includes prayerfully pondering God’s truth found in selective Old and New Testament passages which speak to the matter of God’s economy.

I believe the principles of God’s economy involve blessing, burden and balance. By burden I mean the sense of duty and responsibility not the sense of a heavy load to bear.

The book of Numbers recorded God’s distribution plan for the Promised Land when he told Moses to divide it according to the size and needs of the various tribes. This was in contrast to other kingdoms of that day near Canaan in which the distribution pattern was the concentration of land among the royal and aristocratic elites which resulted in the majority living in poverty. In the book of Acts there is the example of how the equitable distribution of resources became a defining characteristic of the early church.

Since we have been blessed by God, we are to be a blessing to others, which in turn brings additional blessings back to us. The apostle Paul described it this way in 2 Corinthians 9:11: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” In God’s economy He equips – that is – He burdens some with more so they can bless others who have less.

Furthermore, in God’s economy giving does not in any way encourage or incentive luxury or laziness. On the contrary, there should be wisdom and a sense of balance in giving and receiving resources. Regardless of one’s financial station in life he or she has the proportionate burden – that is – the duty and responsibility to give and to share. Today we may have abundance; tomorrow we may be in want. Today we may have the privilege of giving; tomorrow we have the equal privilege of receiving.

Lord, help us apply daily in our lives the principles of God’s economy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Give An Income Stream

By: Laurie Valentine-COO & Trust Counsel

Is your church in a building program? Would you like to fund your annual giving for missions, childcare ministries or other charitable causes for the next few years in a new and creative way?

If you answered “yes” to either of those questions and you would like to coordinate your charitable giving with a tax-saving way to transfer assets to your family, a charitable lead annuity trust is a giving vehicle to consider.

A charitable lead annuity trust (“CLAT”) is a giving plan that provides a fixed income stream to one or more charitable causes for a designated period of years. At the end of the trust term the trust remainder can either be returned to you (this is a “grantor lead trust”) or be distributed to your children and/or other family members (a “non-grantor lead trust”).

While a lifetime gift to a “non-grantor” CLAT does not entitle you to a charitable income tax deduction, it does provide a way to pass assets to your children or others at reduced gift and estate tax cost. Gift tax savings come from the fact the tax value of the future gift to your family is the present value of the remainder interest in the trust, not the full value of your gift to the trust. With careful coordination of the fixed amount being paid to the charitable beneficiaries and the trust term you can reduce the present value of the remainder gift significantly. Estate tax savings result from the removal of the asset, any subsequent appreciation and the future income it generates from your estate.

Example: John and Martha Brown set up a 7-year 6% CLAT funded with $100,000 of stock. The $6,000 per year income stream (6% x $100,000 gifted to the trust) will be divided equally between the building program at the Browns’ church, their Baptist college alma mater and international missions. Over the 7-year term the charities will receive a total of $42,000 ($14,000 to each). Assuming the trust assets earn an average annual return of 6.5%, there will be approximately $104,000 left to pass to their children at the end of the 7 years and, if the gift tax value of the future gift to their children is only $60,000, $44,000 of that value passes tax-free to the children.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Like A River

By; Barry G. Allen- President & CEO

The KBF is like a river that flows and grows as it connects with other streams, feeding and giving life to everything in its path. Inherent in its mission is to be a facilitator of life-changing legacies for Kingdom advancement. Regardless of how large or small your gift might be, we can help you maximize the impact and multiply the benefits to you, your family and to the Kingdom causes that are near and dear to your heart.

Just imagine for a moment the impact on Kingdom advancement that has resulted from the distributions of the investment earnings from the accounts established with the KBF by the faithful and generous gifts of hundreds of Kentucky Baptists across the past 66 years of the KBF’s existence. Most of these accounts are perpetual, and therefore, will continue to advance the Kingdom until Jesus comes again.

Since 1945 the KBF has distributed $142M for Kingdom advancement through the various causes specified by the donors. These funds are over and above offering plate giving. Interestingly enough, $86M were distributed in the last decade (2011), $41M in the decade ended 2001, $10M in the decade ended 1991, $3M in the decade ended 1981, $2M in the decade ended 1971 and $.5M in the decade ended 1961.  Wow! Hallelujah!

These funds have been used to connect people to Jesus Christ in your communities, throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky, North America and to the ends of the earth. The ministries to and through which these funds have flowed like a river include local churches, associations, Campbellsville University, University of the Cumberlands, Georgetown College, Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, Oneida Baptist Institute, Mid-Continent University, Sunrise Children’s Services, Baptist Healthcare, Kentucky Baptist Assemblies, Kentucky WMU, Western Recorder, Kentucky Baptist Foundation, KBC Mission Board, Kentucky Ethics League, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Southern Seminary and numerous other Great Commission service ministries.

Call Laurie Valentine or me toll-free to discuss how we can help you to multiply the benefits of wise giving.

(502) 489-3533 or 1-866-489-3533 (Toll-free, Kentucky only)