Board hears reports on Kingdom advancement

by Emily Rojas
Friday, May 23, 2014 | 216 days old

On May 20-21, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (Convention) Board of Directors (Board) met at Caraway Conference Center to discuss updates and advances that North Carolina Baptists are making for God’s Kingdom.

Board President Michael Barrett presided over the meeting as the Board heard reports about God’s work through institutions, committees and individuals.

Institution and Agency Reports
Leland Kerr, Baptist Health Care liaison, brought the Mother’s Day Offering report to the Board. Since 1924, the offering has helped disadvantaged patients at North Carolina Baptist Hospital (NCBH) pay their medical bills. Patients who receive financial help from the Mother’s Day Offering are those who do not qualify for government assistance, but do not have the means to pay for hospital bills. The offering also annually benefits about 150 North Carolina ministers in the form of a subsidy on their hospital bills. In 2013, North Carolina Baptists gave more than $600,000 to the offering. This year’s offering is still being received — the goal for 2014 is $650,000.

The Board also received a report on FaithHealthNC regarding updates in its findings and strategy. Gary Gunderson, vice president of Faith and Health Ministries, told the Board that there are certain North Carolina communities in which the areas of greatest lostness and economic disadvantage in the state intersect — “There is a remarkable overlap between the places, not just faces, that we are called to engage,” he said.

This discovery has allowed FaithHealthNC to engage lost people in these areas through NCBH, which Gunderson said had been the Convention’s original strategy when the Hospital was established.

Regarding the importance of stewardship in Baptist life, the North Carolina Baptist Foundation (NCBF) brought a report about the prayerful placement of money. Clay Warf, executive director of NCBF, reported the foundation’s profit in the past year and noted the loans and grants it made to students and churches. NCBF gives student loans of up to $12,000 per year and considers all grant requests it receives. “Our primary job is to protect these assets and get a reasonable return,” Warf said.

Beverly Volz, director of accounting services, brought the financial update to the Board. Volz reported that the Convention has a budget deficit of about four percent, but is operating in the black. For more information about the financial report, visit http://bit.ly/1kxnXJN

Executive Director-Treasurer Report
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSCNC executive director-treasurer, updated the Board on the Convention’s strategy, “Impacting Lostness Through Disciple-Making.” This strategy calls North Carolina Baptists to engage the unreached people groups living within the state and around the world.

Hollifield noted that out of the 9 million people who live in North Carolina, 5.8 million are not saved.

“We cannot let these people live and die apart from an opportunity to accept a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We must take bold action, even if it requires sweeping change in order to impact the growing lostness in our state,” he said.

One part of this “sweeping change” involved altering the Convention’s approach to campus ministry. Previously, the Convention only had a presence on nine out of the state’s 200 college campuses. Under this new model, however, campus ministry is expanding as churches across the state are leading the efforts to engage college students. These students are taught to be disciple-makers who in turn make disciples.

Chuck Register, BSCNC executive leader for church planting and missions partnerships, updated the Board on another change in the Convention’s in-state missions work. The Convention is expanding its efforts to engage North Carolina’s top 100 pockets of lostness.

To reach these groups, the Convention began a new project in January to identify language and people groups in the state.  The efforts have begun in Charlotte, the Triangle and the Triad, which are among the top 10 fastest growing population centers in the nation and will expand to other population centers across the state.

Register explained that the Convention looks for points of engagement in these population centers — pockets of lostness where it might be possible to carry out an ethnic church plant. So far, 54 points of engagement have been found.

“This is in an indication of unreached and unengaged people groups from across the globe that the Lord Jesus Christ in His sovereignty is bringing to North Carolina where we have the opportunity to engage them with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord is bringing them to us so that we can reach them and disciple them and hopefully watch them return to their native country with the gospel.”

The Board also heard updates on the Convention’s strategy coordinators working in the following population centers:  Greenville, Blue Ridge/Asheville, the Triangle, Unifour/Hickory, Metro Charlotte, the Triad, and Fayetteville.  The coordinators are finding great enthusiasm towards the strategy.  Church leaders, association leaders, and others are coming together to discover, develop, and deliver strategic efforts necessary to impact lostness through disciple-making. 

Annual Meeting Theme
Brian Davis, BSCNC associate executive director-treasurer, reported that the theme for the 2014 Annual Meeting is “Greater Things,” based on John 14:12. In this verse, Jesus told His disciples that they would do even “greater things” after His death.

In keeping with the Convention’s strategy, the Convention theme will focus on the “Greater Things” that God is doing through North Carolina Baptist to impact lostness through disciple-making.

Fruitland Baptist Bible College
David Horton, Fruitland president, updated the Board on some changes that the college will see in the coming weeks. Horton announced that J.D. Grant, Fruitland’s vice president of development, will retire at the end of the month. Grant, who has most recently served as vice president of development, has provided leadership and service in numerous capacities.  Upon his retirement from full time service to the college, Grant will continue to serve at Fruitland as a professor and volunteer.

Regarding the college’s commencement ceremony in June, Horton reported more changes. This year, African American students and Hispanic students from satellite campuses across the state will join students from the Hendersonville Campus in a historically diverse graduation service.

This year’s graduation will also host Fruitland’s first African American commencement speaker, James Gailliard, pastor of Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount. Gailliard’s message will be translated into Spanish for the benefit of Spanish speakers in the audience.

WMU-NC Report
Tana Hartsell, Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) president, briefed the Board on the WMU-NC efforts on the mission field. Hartsell shared that the WMU-NC held their annual Missions Extravaganza in April. Hartsell shared that WMU-NC seeks to expose women to missions, which include trips to Pittsburgh and projects at the Red Springs Mission Camp. Their experience at Missions Extravaganza led a group of nine people to make plans to work with Winter Archibald, a church planting intern with Connection Church in New York City, this summer.

Hartsell shared with the Board that the WMU-NC takes advantage of many other opportunities for ministry, including women’s retreats, summer camps, and involvement in a ministry devoted to helping people with criminal records find other, more productive ways of living.

Committee Reports
Jimmy Adams, chairman of the Business Services Special Committee, presented a recommendation on behalf of his committee for the Board to transfer 20 percent of the previous year’s remaining balance into the Convention’s contingency fund.  This would in a transfer of $15, 053.40 into the reserve — The Board approved the recommendation.

The Board heard a report from BenWhitmire, chairman of the church planting and missions partnerships committee, regarding missions strategy in the pockets of lostness across North Carolina. Whitmire announced that additional missions strategists are being trained to reach the top 100 pockets of lostness in the state. In these pockets of lostness, the Convention also provides additional startup funds for church plants and has special resources for bi-vocational church leaders.