At a time when little was being done to help churches move toward in-person worship services, leaders from the Kentucky Baptist Convention took the initiative to begin a conversation with Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration.

Dr. Todd Gray, KBC executive director-treasurer, pulled together a group of 10 Kentucky Baptist leaders from across the commonwealth to think through suggestions to submit to the Beshear administration. The group included pastors, associational mission strategists, and people in the healthcare industry.

They worked diligently to think and pray through suggestions. They were sent to the governor’s office and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack’s office. The back and forth went on for the better part of two weeks. Along the way, KBC leaders learned the governor was reaching out to other groups and denominations. There was never a conference call or Zoom meeting between the KBC committee and the governor’s office. There was never a conference call or Zoom meeting between the KBC and any other denominational or ministerial organization.

The KBC leaders asked for 40% of fire marshal’s seating capacity to be allowed in a worship service. In the end, the governor’s guidelines stated 33%.

KBC leaders understand the unique challenges that congregational singing presents for the spread of COVID-19. We would like to see accommodations made where this can be done safely due to our conviction that congregational singing is a vital component of Christian worship (Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16). We will continue to work to that end.

It’s important to note that the guidelines are just that at this point.

In the end, working with elected officials is tricky, but necessary. The KBC is determined to help our 2,360 Kentucky Baptist church reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.

Brandon Porter is the communications director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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