Disaster relief having impact on communitiesby Chad Austin, BSCNC Communications
More than 60 people devastated by Hurricane Matthew have responded to the gospel, thanks to the ongoing relief efforts by North Carolina Baptists.
Members of the Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention’s (BSCNC) Board of Directors heard updates and testimonies about Hurricane Matthew relief and other reports during their meeting held Monday, Nov. 14 in Greensboro prior to the BSCNC Annual Meeting.
Since Hurricane Matthew dropped heavy rains that resulted in widespread flooding in eastern North Carolina, North Carolina Baptists have logged, 11,100 volunteer days, prepared 440,000 meals and completed 600 recovery jobs, said Robert Simons, president of North Carolina Baptist Men, also known as Baptists on Mission.
Simons said more than 60 people have come to know Christ as a result of the relief efforts, which he said are ongoing. Simons said long term rebuild projects are planned for Lumberton, Red Springs and Windsor.
Alan Taylor, director of missions for the Robeson Baptist Association, shared how he has seen God work through North Carolina Baptists who have responded in Lumberton, which is one of the areas hit the hardest by Hurricane Matthew.
“If you need something done in a crisis, it’s time to call Baptists,” Taylor said. “The stories are endless of the opportunities that have taken place.”
Taylor encouraged churches to get involved by partnering with families and churches to help people put their lives back together. Baptists on Mission will be coordinating efforts to help churches partner with families and other churches to help meet needs that still exist.
“If we are to be the Church of Jesus Christ, we must get involved,” Taylor said. “The Great Commission starts where you are and goes to everywhere that you would ever go.”
Beverly Volz, director of accounting services for the BSCNC, also shared a budget update with the committee.
As of Oct. 31, the BSCNC has received approximately $23.6 million in Cooperative Program funds from churches, which is about 3.2 percent behind budget this year’s budget but roughly even when compared with year over year giving.
Volz and other convention leaders acknowledged that Hurricane Matthew had impacted Cooperative Program giving, but they encouraged churches to seek God’s will in how He would lead them to designate funds to help meet the many needs brought about by the storm.
“There are a lot of hurting people, and I want these churches to be led of God in what they do in missions giving,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSCNC executive director-treasurer.
Hollifield also said he and Associate Executive Director-Treasurer Brian Davis have been reaching out to pastors in the 17 different Baptist associations that were impacted by Hurricane Matthew to determine if they had any specific needs.
“We are very concerned about pastors who are working diligently to minister in their churches and communities,” Davis said. “We were concerned that pastors were vulnerable since so many people depend on them on a regular basis and even more people do so during a crisis situation.
“What we’ve found is that churches and others have rallied around pastors, as pastors have rallied around others.”