Board endorses five-year strategy to impact lostness

by BSCNC Communications
Friday, May 24, 2013 | 2 yrs old

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) continues moving forward with a new strategy and staff structure that focuses on assisting churches to impact lostness and make disciples among the more than 5.8 million lost people throughout the state.

The BSCNC Board of Directors approved the strategy May 21 during a regularly scheduled meeting at Caraway Conference Center. Now, having both Board and Executive Committee approval (the Executive Committee approved the strategy April 11; read related article), Convention staff will begin preparing for strategy implementation beginning in 2014. Convention staff will also explain the strategy through a major presentation to Convention messengers in November during the annual meeting.

A variety of meetings will take place across North Carolina during the remainder of 2013 to field questions about the new strategy. Convention staff will meet with leaders in associations across the state to further clarify the strategy and provide any assistance requested by associational leadership to begin preparing for the new cooperative efforts outlined in the strategy. Associations, and their leaders, will be important partners in strategy implementation.

“If there have been times in the history of this Convention that we have strayed from our stated mission to assist the churches in their divinely appointed mission, I do not want it to be that way now,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSCNC executive director-treasurer.

Hollifield shared with the Board his belief that, when embraced by the Convention’s churches and associations, this strategy will help fulfill the Convention’s vision of becoming “the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

A critical component of the strategy is a new Strategic Focus Team that will lead the work in eight population areas across the state: Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greenville, Hickory, Wilmington, the Triad area (Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point) and the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill). These population centers represent the most concentrated areas of lostness in the state.

A coordinator will serve in each of the eight areas, helping local strategy teams develop strategies to reach people with the gospel. The local strategy teams will include, but not be limited to, associational leaders, church leaders and lay persons from the diverse populations within each of the eight population centers. Russ Conley will coordinate efforts of the strategy coordinators who will be assigned to each of the eight population centers.

“There is no desire on my part for Convention staff to do anything that would undermine, distract or take away from the value of the local directors of missions or associational missionaries. I have no intention to try and replace a local Baptist association or get in the way of plans they already have in place for their area of the state,” Hollifield said.

“The strategy coordinators from the state Convention will not direct local leaders, but they will tell Convention staff back in Cary what kind of help local leaders in the field are requesting. The strategy planning committees will be formed by local leaders, and what they do in reaching the lost around them will be decided by local leadership – not by Convention staff.”

In addition, strategy teams may be developed outside the eight population centers. In these more rural areas, strategy teams led by associational and local church leaders will be encouraged and assisted in using the strategy model applied in the eight population centers to develop a contextualized plan for impacting lostness in less urban areas. Lester Evans will continue to be the point person in working with associations desiring to develop such a strategy, but he will also utilize other Convention staff and resources, including contract workers, when appropriate. 

“The value of a soul outside the eight population centers is just as great as the souls of those within the eight population centers,” Hollifield said. “Our goal is to assist North Carolina Baptists across the entire state to develop strategies that will reach the lost and make disciples across the entire state.”

The Board also affirmed a new structure for the Convention staff to more effectively implement the five-year strategy. Although strategy implementation will not begin until January 2014, new groups and teams are already meeting to begin preparations for their new assignments.

One new team being created is the Collegiate Partnerships Team, which will include three regional campus ministry consultants and two international ministry consultants. Rick Trexler, current BSCNC campus ministry team leader, will serve as team leader for this new team and as a regional consultant. Individuals will be hired to fill the other two regional consultant positions.

Sammy Joo, international campus ministry consultant for the Triangle area, and Tom Knight, international campus ministry consultant for Charlotte, will continue serving in these roles.  

In the new structure, nine campus minister positions are eliminated; interim/part time individuals currently fill three of these positions. However, the Collegiate Partnerships Team will work with local churches to develop partnerships and strategies for reaching college students.

“I’m concerned that many students are not connecting with a local church while they are in college. I want to reach more students and keep students connected to the church,” Hollifield said. “What we are proposing is different; it’s a new model in the process of being formed. I have no interest in losing the presence of Baptist Campus Ministry on these campuses. I’m not going to let that happen.”

During a question and answer session, Convention leadership answered questions from Board members related to the new collegiate ministry models. In an effort to help churches better understand the strategy, provided below is a summary of the questions and answers:

Is Baptist Campus Ministry closing its doors?
Although the BSCNC will not have full-time employees on college campuses, campus ministry in North Carolina will continue with new models that will help churches become more involved in reaching college campuses. With only nine full-time BSCNC employees serving on college campuses, the current residential model does not provide enough manpower or resources to reach other campuses across the state. 

How will the collegiate ministry strategy be developed?
Regional campus ministry consultants will help local churches develop a contextualized, localized ministry model. Developing local strategies will allow North Carolina Baptists to minister not only on the campuses where there is currently a presence, but also on more of the more than 100 campuses throughout the state where there is not a Baptist Campus Ministry.

Convention staff will assist local churches in exploring different ministry models that have proven effective in various collegiate contexts throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. One important component of the Convention’s campus ministry program is leadership development. The Convention is blessed to have competent, dedicated student leaders already engaged in ministry on the different campuses where there are currently Baptist campus ministries. The Convention also has an impressive state president of North Carolina Baptist Campus Ministry. These individuals may be important contributors in the development of strategies to reach, disciple and engage more students in missions on North Carolina campuses.

Would the Convention considering starting new churches in areas near college campuses?
Collegiate church planting is certainly one model that local strategy teams may utilize, and in some areas of the state, this is already taking place. However, as the campus ministry strategy will be developed locally, according to the needs of individual campuses and communities, the strategy does not require local churches to start collegiate churches.

Will campus ministry receive funding going forward?
Campus ministry program funding will be included in the 2014 budget, although the actual allocation has not yet been set. Campus ministry funding, like other ministries throughout the Convention, will be reduced due to the need to decrease next year’s overall budget. The Budget Committee is working to bring a proposed 2014 Cooperative Program budget to the Executive Committee in August and to the Board of Directors in September. Any decrease in campus ministry funding will be consistent with reductions reflected in the overall budget.

Will a new collegiate ministry model help fulfill the mission to impact lostness and make disciples?
The Convention desires that every North Carolina Baptist church establish an Acts 1:8 model of reaching and discipling people for Christ in their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. In many communities, it will be necessary for churches to develop strategies for reaching college campuses located within their Jerusalem, or their community, if they wish to fulfill Acts 1:8. Campus ministry cannot be a substitute for the local church. A new ministry model will help churches take leadership of college ministry and become more effective Acts 1:8 churches.

Will the Baptist Campus Ministry buildings/properties still be available?
At this time, the buildings and properties will not be sold. This could change in the future, as some properties are older and requiring more upkeep cost. This will also be determined in the future by evaluating the needs of the local strategy. On some campuses, where the Convention owns facilities, large group Baptist Campus Ministry meetings have already relocated to alternative buildings.

Where are the office locations for the regional consultants?
Office locations and the regional boundaries are still being determined.

How will information about collegiate ministry, and the new strategy, be shared with North Carolina Baptists?
Articles have already been published in the Biblical Recorder and on the BSCNC website and social media outlets. Articles will continue to be published that address not only campus ministry, but also various components of the overall five-year strategy to impact lostness through disciple-making.

As the strategy focuses on a more relationship-driven model of consultation, Convention leadership are meeting with local pastors, church leaders and directors of missions to discuss the new strategy.

For more information regarding the new strategy and structure please visit www.ncbaptist.org/strategy.