By Bob Allen
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is offering incentives for employees to take early retirement or resign voluntarily as part of a “strategic realignment” of staff.
Announcing the offer March 8, Executive Director Paul Chitwood said that over the last decade the average percentage of undesignated offerings that churches give to the Cooperative Program unified budget has been reduced by one third.
Chitwood said the current offer is voluntary and that no one is being terminated at this time. Future staff cuts will depend on the number of employees who take the incentive and the outcome of reorganization.
All full-time employees who are age 60 by year’s end are eligible for full retirement benefits and a cash incentive based on their years of service. Full-time employees younger than 60 who decide to leave voluntarily were offered 90 days of full salary and specified benefits after their departure.
“I believe these current offers are the best opportunity that will come for anyone who is considering either retirement or other ministry or work opportunities,” Chitwood said.
Last year the convention eliminated five full-time and 19 part-time jobs and froze salaries of the remaining employees. The current budget has been reduced twice already this year.
In 2010 Kentucky Baptists approved a “Great Commission” task force report calling for increasing the percentage of funds budgeted for national and international ministries from 38 percent to 50 percent within 10 years.
Chitwood, former pastor of First Baptist Church of Mount Washington, Ky., took over as executive director last July following the retirement of Bill Mackey.