N.C. Baptists pray for revival at Annual Meetingby Chad Austin, BSCNC Communications
Messengers from churches across North Carolina gathered together in small groups to pray for revival and spiritual awakening during the closing session of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Annual Meeting, held Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 6-7, at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.
Chris Schofield, director of the BSCNC’s Office of Prayer for Evangelization and Spiritual Awakening, along with pastors, directors of missions and prayer leaders from across the state, led messengers in seasons of Scripture reading, prayer and worship as part of Tuesday evening’s special prayer gathering titled, “Broken Before the Throne.”
The gathering marked the culmination of the BSCNC’s 187th Annual Meeting, an event that had a focused emphasis on revival and spiritual awakening. The event’s theme was “Return to Me,” taken from Zechariah 1:3, in which the Lord says, “Return to Me, and I will return to you.”
More than 1,500 people attended the meeting over the course of two days, a total that included 1,246 messengers and 299 guests. During the meeting, messengers also approved a 2018 Cooperative Program budget, adopted resolutions denouncing racism and affirming a biblical stance on human sexuality and marriage, and elected new convention officers.
As Tuesday evening’s prayer gathering drew to a close, leaders prayed that the gathering would mark the beginning of a revival across North Carolina and beyond.
“I can only trust and hope that you have found this to be an extremely meaningful time,” Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church Charlotte, said during the prayer gathering. “But it can’t stop here.”
Near the conclusion of the service, messengers and guests huddled around pastors to say a special prayer for them to lead their churches in a renewed focus and passion upon the Lord.
“Really the purpose of tonight … is not only for what God would do in this place [and] in our hearts, but also for what God will do when you take what happened here tonight back to your churches,” Harris said.
Charlie Martin, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, prayed that God would continue “stirring the fires of revival.”
“God, we thank You for the stirring of the fires of revival that we have sensed,” Martin said. “Our humble prayer … [is that] You continue to stir those fires of revival in our hearts.”
BSCNC Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr. set the stage for Tuesday evening’s prayer gathering earlier that morning during his address to messengers. In his sermon taken from the theme verse of Zechariah 1:3, Hollifield called on individuals and churches to seek a fresh work of God in their lives.
“God wants to send revival to His church,” Hollifield said. “The question I ask is, ‘Do we long to see God send revival?’”
BSCNC President Cameron McGill, pastor of Dublin First Baptist Church and the Lake Church at White Lake, also delivered a message from Zechariah 1:3 during the annual president’s address at Monday night’s opening session. McGill preached on “the sovereignty of God and the call of God,” saying God invites His people to refocus, re-vision and renew, and He promises them rest, restoration and revival.
Messengers also approved a 2018 Cooperative Program budget totaling $31 million. The budget reflects an overall increase of $625,000 (approximately 2 percent) from 2017, as well as a 0.5 percent increase in the allocation to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
The SBC allocation will go from 40.5 percent to 41 percent in 2018. The increased allocation percentage represents the 12th consecutive year that North Carolina Baptists have increased the allocation to SBC missions and ministries.
Messengers also approved a $2.1 million goal for the 2018 North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), which is unchanged from the 2017 offering goal.
N.C. Baptists also celebrated a record year in missions giving. Jeff Isenhour, chairman of the Budget Special Committee, reported that N.C. Baptist churches collectively sent more than $11.7 million in Cooperative Program support to the SBC, which marked the single-largest contribution to SBC causes through the Cooperative Program in convention history.
Isenhour also reported that North Carolina gave more than $13.6 million to support international missions through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering last year, which lead all state conventions by more than $2 million.
North Carolina ranked second among all state conventions in support of North American missions through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, totaling nearly $6.2 million, Isenhour said.
Isenhour also reported that total support of SBC causes from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and N.C. Baptist churches exceeded $31.8 million during the SBC fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2017, which ranked third among all state conventions.
During business sessions, messengers adopted two resolutions, one that denounced racism and another on human sexuality and marriage.
“North Carolina Baptists denounce racism in all its expressions as sin against a holy and just God,” said Jonathan Blaylock, chairman of the state convention’s Committee on Resolutions and Memorials, when presenting the “Resolution Denouncing Racism.”
Messengers also adopted a “Resolution on a Biblical Stance on Human Sexuality and Marriage,” which affirmed “God’s good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex” and that “North Carolina Baptists commit to pray for our neighbors who identify themselves as homosexual and transgender, [and] to minister to them with Christ’s love.”
Messengers also passed a motion asking the Board of Directors to study and report back to messengers on the feasibility of establishing a training center for Vietnamese pastors in North Carolina. The motion was presented by Mike Moore, a messenger from Kure Beach First Baptist Church near Wilmington.
Six motions to amend portions of the BSCNC’s articles and bylaws were also approved by messengers.
Messengers also elected a new convention president and re-elected the first and second vice presidents.
Lee Pigg, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe, was elected as BSCNC president. Pigg ran unopposed and was nominated by Timmy Blair, a messenger from Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier.
Joel Stephens, pastor of Wakefield Central Baptist Church in Zebulon, and J.D. Grant, pastor of Scotts Creek Baptist Church in Sylva, were re-elected as first vice president and second vice president, respectively.
Both Stephens and Grant were unopposed for those offices.
BSCNC staff members also gave several ministry reports and updates on various ministries of the convention throughout the event.
Next year’s BSCNC Annual Meeting will be held Nov. 5-6, 2018 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.