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KBC President Speaks at University of the Cumberlands


Dr. John Toby addressed the first convocation of the year at University of the Cumberlands.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – Dr. John Mark Toby, President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and pastor of Beacon Hill Baptist Church in Somerset, addressed students, staff and faculty members of University of the Cumberlands during the first convocation of the academic year, on August 31, in the O. Wayne Rollins Center on campus.

After a beautiful performance of “You Raise Me Up,” performed a cappella by freshmen Kara and Kayla Todd, members of Beacon Hill Baptist Church, Toby addressed the audience with the passage about Zacchaeus, from Luke 19: 1-10. “We do not know how much we matter to God and how he indeed raises us up,” Toby remarked. Upon reading the passage from Luke, Toby stated that we all seem to compare ourselves to others, based on appearance, accomplishments or what we possess. Toby further revealed how these values are unstable and changing and that only Jesus Christ, our rock, can keep us in place. As in the story of Zacchaeus, the greedy tax collector who wanted only to see Jesus but received a personal audience with him, so Christ has more in store for all his people than they expect. Toby revealed three further points on how Jesus notices us, how he affirms us, and how he longs to have a relationship with us. Just as Jesus knew that Zacchaeus was in the tree, “God knows exactly where you are today,” he said.


Kara and Kayla Todd perform during the first convocation of the year at University of the Cumberlands.

Toby also shared a short video clip about his recent mission trip to Tanzania with 29 students, and encouraged everyone, especially students, to move beyond their comfort zones. He pointed out, “As we go through life, it is so important to walk in another’s shoes, to serve them as Christ would have us to serve them. This is how we develop a relationship with him.”

A pastor for twenty-four years, Toby has served as pastor at Beacon Hill Baptist Church since 1999. He has been a chaplain in the Kentucky Army National Guard for 26 years, with the current rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He is a graduate of Luther Rice Seminary - Doctor of Ministry degree; the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Master of Divinity degree; the United States Army Command and General Staff College; the United States Army Chaplain Center and School - Chaplain Officer Advanced Course; Eastern Kentucky University - Bachelor of Science degree; University of Kentucky - certificate in business administration; and Somerset High School. The current president of the KBC, Toby also currently serves as first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and is a past president of the KBC’s Pastor's Conference.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study; 30 minors; nine pre-professional programs; graduate degrees, including a doctorate and certifications in education and master’s degrees in professional counseling and physician assistant studies; an MBA; and online programs.