Report to Executive Committee: 'We know where the lost people are'

by BSCNC Communications
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | 140 days old

The executive committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (convention) met April 10 at the Baptist Building in Cary.  The executive committee heard reports from committees and received updates from convention staff.  Several executive committee members shared personal testimonies of impacting lostness through disciple-making.

Among the updates from convention staff, Chuck Register, executive leader for church planting and missions partnerships, reported on efforts to identify unreached people groups living in North Carolina.  In fact, some groups have been identified sufficiently for churches to begin to engage them with the gospel.

Register said the "North Carolina People Group Identification" (NCPGI) system was launched in January to help identify ethnic/language groups of people who are unreached by the gospel and groups who are both unreached and unengaged, meaning no church planting ministry has been started for them.

NCPGI is an integral part of the Baptist State Convention's new strategy focused on impacting lostness through disciple making.

The NCPGI program was patterned after a program used by the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia to identify people groups in Washington, DC, Register said, and is being implemented in North Carolina by a man who worked with that DC effort.

So far NCPGI is underway in the Triangle, Triad and Metro Charlotte population centers, though the findings have just begun to scratch the surface, he said. If successful, the effort will be extended to all eight population centers in the state where pockets of lostness predominate.

After the initial step to identify people groups through online research, Register said, the second step involves "putting people on the ground who go into an area and conduct one-on-one discussions with people who speak English as a second language."

Register provided samples of the information on people groups now available.

The third step is for North Carolina Baptist churches to begin engaging those unreached people groups with the gospel, Register said. "In some unreached people groups already discovered, we are ready for your church and churches like yours to begin to engage these people with the gospel," he said.

Register explained that the goal is not just to engage unreached people with the gospel. "We want to engage that people group to the point where we gather together cluster leaders and birth ethnic church plants in North Carolina to reach the ethnic people groups we're discovering," he said.

When they talk to pastors of churches, convention staff will be able to help the pastor know how to reach English-speaking people in the neighborhood, but also people in unreached/unengaged people groups who may be nearby.

Convention research has revealed that North Carolina is now home for more than 300 language/ethnic groups who have come here from around the world.

"Ladies and gentlemen, keep in mind: God is bringing the nations to North Carolina," Register said. Some of these groups who have come here "have never heard the name Jesus; they have no idea who our Messiah happens to be."

In response to an executive committee request last year, Register also presented findings of a study of 339 churches planted in the state since 2009. He said 89 percent of those churches continue to be active in the Baptist State Convention and support the Cooperative Program.

The Committee also heard a Greensboro pastor give a glowing report of how NC Baptist Men helped the Greensboro area following a recent ice storm. Lawrence E. Clapp , pastor of South Elm Baptist Church, said the March 7 ice storm left thousands of area residents without electricity, NC Baptist Men brought in 650 volunteers who set up an operations center in his church.

As the volunteers distributed water and removed downed trees, they helped between 450 and 500 families, Clapp said. "One man led 30 people to faith in Christ as they gave out water," he said, adding to that a total of 51 people prayed to receive Christ as savior. "Countless others were pointed to area churches," he said.

In a related matter, Brian Davis, associate executive director-treasurer, introduced the 2014 web site for the North Carolina Missions Offering, which will have "Choose Now" as theme. This year's offering has a goal of $2.1 million; much of the funds raised will support the work of NC Baptist Men and church planting.

Committee member Chris Hawks shared his experiences using a new evangelistic tool promoted by the Baptist State Convention called "The Story," which gives an overview of the Bible's story of God's dealing with people, beginning with creation and moving to the coming of Christ.

Hawks, pastor of Second Baptist Church, Hamlet, said he used the material to lead a teenager to faith in Christ. "We think it's a game changer in how we present Christ," he said.

Wanda Dellinger said she has begun discipling two women in her neighborhood. "It is not rocket science," she said. "You have to know people before you can engage them," she added

If you would like more information on any of the reports provided to the executive committee, please contact Brian Davis at bdavis@ncbaptist.org. For more information on the convention’s strategy, Impacting Lostness Through Disciple-making, please visit www.ncbaptist.org and select the tab titled “strategy”