PRINCETON — The 33rd annual Western Kentucky Evangelism Conference on Monday will focus on the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s “Gospel to Every Home” initiative, and will feature a lineup of speakers familiar to Kentucky Baptists.
The day-long event, with sessions starting at 9 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., will be hosted by Southside Baptist Church and sponsored by the Caldwell-Lyon Baptist Association, led by director of missions Rick Reeder.
Kyle Noffsinger, pastor of Southside, noted the schedule has changed this year — five of the six speakers will preach one sermon while an out-of-state guest will preach twice.
The conference is intended to help fuel Kentucky Baptists’ evangelism efforts, including the statewide GTEH initiative to place the gospel in the hands of more than 1.7 million homes in Kentucky.
Speakers during the 9 a.m. session are:
•Kenny Rager, who has held the position of evangelism strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention since June 2019.
•Tim Beougher, the Billy Graham professor of evangelism and church growth in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also serves as associate dean.
•Kara Blackard, a retired pastor now serving as staff evangelist at Wheeler Grove Baptist Church in Corinth, Miss. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and revivals across the south.
Speakers during the 1 p.m. session include:
•Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He grew up in nearby Lamasco and on Aug. 1, 2019, was elected to lead KBC, the state’s large protestant denomination. He is the 29th person to lead more than 2,300 Kentucky Baptist churches.
He served churches in Kentucky and Indiana for 20 years before joining the KBC staff in 2012 as a regional consultant, having responsibilities for more than 400 churches in western Kentucky. Gray served at New Hope Baptist in Cadiz and First Baptist of Oak Grove, and was a guest speaker at churches in Christian and Trigg counties.
In 2016 he was named as team leader for the Evangelism, Church Planting and Campus Ministry team.
He holds degrees from Murray State University and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned his doctorate. He and his wife, Connie, have two adult daughters.
•Hershael York, dean of theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a position he has held since 2018, and is the Victor and Louise Lester professor of Christian preaching, a position he has held since 1999.
York was a student in the Christian County school system until his sophomore year, when the family moved to Warren, Mich. He is the son of Doris York of Princeton and the late Rev. Wallace York. He has two sisters, Karen Hutcheson of Louisville and Cynthia Cunningham of Princeton, who both graduated from Christian County High School.
York has authored two books on speaking and preaching and written dozens of articles in journals and online publication. His preaching has been featured in Preaching Today as among the best in North America, and he has preached twice at the Internal Congress on preaching in Cambridge, England.
He and his wife, Tanya, have two adult sons and five grandchildren.
He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in classical languages from the University of Kentucky and a master’s and doctorate in New Testament and Greek from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis. Tenn.
•Don Mathis, a former pastor of Southside at Princeton. He holds the distinction of being the only person in the last 50 years to be elected KBC president twice. In 1985-86 he was president while pastoring Central Baptist Church in Corbin, then in 2009-10 he became the only vocational evangelist to be elected KBC president. He also served twice as president of the KBC Pastors’ Conference.
In 30 years of pastoring, he served five Kentucky Baptist churches ranging in size from an average Sunday school attendance of 77 to 945.
He has six years of work in denominational ministry, serving as executive director/minister of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists and director of pastor-staff leadership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
He has served numerous interim pastorates and most recently served as staff evangelist for Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green. He also served at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Hopkinsville. He has preached in more than 750 revivals as well as at numerous evangelism, leadership and Bible conferences.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University and master’s and doctorate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Cumberland College.
He and his wife, Sharon, have two adult children — Donnie Ray II teaches New Testament at North Greenville, S.C. University and Laura Beth is a personnel recruiter and lives in Winchester.
Speaking at the 6 p.m. session will be Blackard. Music will be led by James Branscum, of the Dyersburg, Tenn., area.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Kentucky Today.