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Campbell’s Jerry Wallace shares his plans for future

April 23 2014 by Campbell University Communications

Campbell University president Jerry M. Wallace, who has led Campbell to unprecedented growth and transformed the university into a destination for leading health education and other key programs over the past 11 years, announced during a April 23 meeting of the university Board of Trustees that he will step down as president on June 30, 2015. After a one-year sabbatical, he will transition to the honorary role and title of university chancellor.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Campbell University Board of Trustees accepts president Wallace’s request to transition to the chancellor’s role beginning July 1, 2016,” Benjamin N. Thompson, chair of the Campbell University Board of Trustees, said. “President Wallace’s legacy is beyond measure. His leadership has truly transformed the university’s place and image among North Carolina’s leading colleges and universities.

“We are grateful, though, that president Wallace will continue to serve Campbell, allowing us to continue to benefit from his wisdom, visionary leadership, and love for the university,” Thompson added. “The search for Campbell’s next president will begin immediately.”

Wallace, who has been on the Campbell faculty for the past 44 years, is only the fourth president in the university’s 127-year history. When introduced as president on May 29, 2003, Wallace said: “Campbell will respond to the existing and developing needs of the region, state and nation by providing new undergraduate, graduate and professional programs that complement and extend Campbell’s mission.”

Jerry M. Wallace

Over the past 11 years as president, Wallace has guided Campbell as it has done just that. Notably, Wallace has expanded Campbell’s health programs to complement its pharmacy school and to address the shortage of health professionals in North Carolina, including the establishment of a medical school. When the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine opened in the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences in August 2013 with 160 students, it was North Carolina’s first new medical school in 35 years.

Other health programs launched during Wallace’s presidency include the physician assistant, public health, physical therapy, and proposed nursing programs. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program welcomed its first class of 40 students in January 2014, and the public health and physician assistant programs began in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Also, in January 2014, the N.C. Board of Nursing granted Campbell Initial Approval Status to start a Bachelor of Science in nursing program, which is expected to enroll its first cohort of 50 students in the fall of 2014.

“During my time as president, my goal has been similar to that of my predecessors-remain true to the university’s founding principles and to the meet the education and professional program needs of North Carolina and our students,” Wallace said.

Undergraduate enrollment has steadily increased during Wallace’s time as president and now surpasses a record of more than 4,500 undergraduate students on the main Buies Creek campus and extended campuses at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and RTP. The number of applicants to Campbell has also reached new highs, with more than 10,000 first-year and transfer students vying for just over 1,000 undergraduate admission spots during the 2013-14 academic year.

To accommodate more students and programs, Wallace has spearheaded a long-term university master plan that resulted in more open spaces, traffic roundabouts, landscape centerpieces and the brick thoroughfare called Fellowship Commons, as well as the addition of numerous facilities on or near the main campus in Buies Creek. Those facilities include the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences; John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center; Robert B. & Anna Gardner Butler Chapel; Dinah E. Gore Bell Tower; Ronald W. Maddox Hall of Pharmacy; Barker-Lane Stadium, home of the Fighting Camels football team; Jim Perry Stadium, home of the Camels baseball team; and Bob Barker and Pat Barker residence halls.

Wallace also led the efforts to relocate the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law from the university’s main campus in Buies Creek to downtown Raleigh, N.C., in 2009. Until that time, Raleigh was the only state capital in the southeastern U.S. without a law school. Since the relocation, the law school’s enrollment has expanded, the externship program has strengthened (60 to 70 students any given semester now complete an externship), and its standings in the U.S. News & World Report rankings have jumped. Over the past two years, Campbell’s law school is one of only four North Carolina programs ranked among the top tier law schools in the nation. (The others are Duke University, Wake Forest University and UNC-Chapel Hill.)

In addition, Wallace’s tenure saw the return of intercollegiate football at Campbell in 2008 and the addition of a study abroad program. In the 2013-14 academic year alone, the study abroad program will have placed 118 students in nearly two-dozen countries around the world.

“When I came to Campbell as an adjunct instructor in 1970, I had no idea that one day I’d be the university’s president,” Wallace said. “It has been my greatest professional honor and personal joy to work at Campbell for 44 years and serve as president for the past 11 years.”

An ordained Baptist minister and a Rockingham, N.C., native, Wallace first joined Campbell in 1970 as an adjunct sociology professor while serving as a pastor of Elizabethtown Baptist Church. He began teaching full time at Campbell in 1975 and went on to serve the university in a variety of roles, including as chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, director of graduate studies, and vice president for academic affairs and provost.

As the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from 1981 to 1984 and then as provost beginning in 1984, Wallace conducted the feasibility study and spearheaded the university’s efforts to open in 1986 the first pharmacy school in the entire United States in nearly 40 years. Campbell changed the name of the pharmacy school to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in 2009, reflecting the expansion of health programs Wallace oversaw during his tenure as president.

“I’m deeply appreciative to the university Board of Trustees, alumni, faculty, staff and students for their support and encouragement,” Wallace said. “I’m equally grateful to the love and support of my wife, Betty, and our children throughout my time as president. I could not have done it without them.”

Wallace earned his bachelor’s degrees in English and government from East Carolina University, his Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Master of Science in sociology and a Doctor of Education from North Carolina State University.

His wife, Betty Blanchard Wallace, is a native of Warsaw, N.C., and earned her degree in education from Campbell in 1972. She taught kindergarten and first grade for 10 years and later served as the director of the Curriculum Materials Center at Campbell’s School of Education.

The Wallaces have three children: McLain, a two-time graduate of Wake Forest University; Kelly McLamb, a graduate of Meredith College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and Betty Lynne Johnson, a graduate of Campbell and Wake Forest University and the academic coordinator of the physician assistant program and an associate professor of health professional studies at Campbell. The Wallaces also have five grandchildren: Wallace, Catherine Stuart, Elizabeth, Isaac and Ronald Joseph.

“I’m grateful for the provisions and guidance God has provided in opening doors for me and especially for Campbell University,” Wallace said. “My hope in the coming year and beyond is that Campbell will continue to produce students who are the salt of the earth and the light of the world while expanding its mission in order to meet the evolving needs of North Carolina.”

Campbell’s search for its next president will begin immediately. Board Chairman Thompson will lead a search committee that will be finalized in May 2014. The search committee plans to engage a national executive search firm. The next president is expected to be identified by spring 2015 and assume his or her duties July 1, 2015.

“The search for Campbell’s next president will be a challenging task, but we’re in a fortunate position as president Wallace has outlined an ambitious list of goals for the next five years,” said Thompson, adding there are several major initiatives in the works, including fundraising for new facilities, developing new academic programs, and finalizing other projects.

“The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful for president Wallace’s service to Campbell over the past four decades,” he said. “We’re also deeply grateful for his commitment to ensure Campbell does not lose any momentum as it continues on a trajectory of growth while fulfilling its mission to prepare students for purposeful lives and meaningful service.”
4/23/2014 3:00:42 PM by Campbell University Communications | with 0 comments

Pro-gay book ‘exceedingly dangerous’

April 23 2014 by James A. Smith, Sr. SBTS/Baptist Press

A new book’s “exceedingly dangerous” assertions that homosexual orientation and gay marriage are consistent with a high view of the Bible are refuted by president R. Albert Mohler Jr. and four of his colleagues at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in an e-book published April 22.

God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines released the same day as the official release of Vines’ volume, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, which has garnered significant attention.

An April 22 blog post by Mohler asserts that Vines’ interpretation of Scripture is driven by his experience as a homosexual rather than the normal rules for understanding written documents.

“When he begins his book, Matthew Vines argues that experience should not drive our interpretation of the Bible,” Mohler writes. “But it is his experience of what he calls a gay sexual orientation that drives every word of this book. It is this experiential issue that drives him to relativize text after text and to argue that the Bible really doesn’t speak directly to his sexual identity at all, since the inspired human authors of Scripture were ignorant of the modern gay experience.”


SBTS photo
God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines, edited by R. Albert Mohler Jr., was released the same day as Vines’ book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. A response to Vines was “absolutely necessary,” Mohler said.

A review of Vines’ book by Andrew Walker of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission argues that “Vines has compiled liberal biblical scholarship and popularized it for a non-technical audience.” Walker’s review, published on the ERLC’s Canon & Culture website, summarizes the book in detail and includes bulleted arguments for pastors to use as they discuss God and the Gay Christian with church members.

Vines, a 24-year-old former Harvard student, weaves with his treatment of Scripture his personal biography of growing up as an evangelical Christian and “coming out” as a homosexual to his parents and now former home church. In the process, Vines left Harvard in order to study the Bible’s claims about homosexuality, which later resulted in the publication of his book.

“Not every book deserves a response, but some books seem to appear at a time and context in which response is absolutely necessary,” Mohler told Southern Seminary News. “The kind of argument that is presented by Matthew Vines, if not confronted, can lead many people to believe that his case is persuasive and that his treatment of the Bible is legitimate. I think that it’s very important that evangelicals be reminded that the church has not misunderstood Scripture for 2,000 years.”

Published by SBTS Press, the 100-page critique of Vines is edited by Mohler, who also contributes a chapter. Other contributors are: James Hamilton, professor of biblical theology; Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies; Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history; and Heath Lambert, assistant professor of biblical counseling. Burk, Strachan and Lambert teach primarily for Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary.

Mohler’s chapter provides an overview critique of Vines’ argument, while Hamilton primarily addresses Old Testament claims, Burk deals with New Testament claims, Strachan looks at the church history assertions and Lambert answers the question of whether there is such a thing as a “gay Christian.”

Vines’ special contribution to the debate, Mohler said, is his claim to having a “high view” of Scripture, even while relying upon a “world of very liberal biblical scholarship” as his primary sources.

“Evangelical Christians have enough biblical instinct to trust only someone who comes with a high view of Scripture,” Mohler said. “But this is a warning to us that not all who claim a high view of Scripture actually operate by a high view of Scripture.”

Some evangelicals hope to avoid the “cultural pressure-cooker” surrounding homosexuality by finding a “convenient, persuasive off-ramp” from traditional biblical arguments, Mohler said. Vines’ book “could be for some of those wavering evangelicals the kind of off-ramp for which they’ve been searching. However, it’s a fatally flawed argument. And it will take them into a non-evangelical identity.”

Vines’ argument is “exceedingly dangerous,” Mohler said, “because if we do not know what the Bible teaches on homosexuality, and if the church has misunderstood that vital issue for two millennia, then what else has the church misunderstood about the gospel? If we can’t trust the Bible to tell us what sin is in order to tell us why Christ’s death was necessary, then we really don’t know what the gospel is. And if you can read the Bible the way Matthew Vines reads it, then biblical theology is impossible. I cannot imagine greater challenges facing the church than these.”

Also troubling, according to Mohler, is the fact that Vines’ publisher – Convergent Books – is closely related in organization and leadership to evangelical publisher WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

“What is new is the packaging of the argument and the fact that this is being published – at least to some extent – within evangelicalism by an imprint associated with WaterBrook Multnomah that is targeting itself toward the evangelical community,” he said.

“It’s very distressing that the president of Multnomah, who is also the president of Convergent, is not only defending the publication of this book,” Mohler said, but the publisher also claims Vines believes in biblical inerrancy.

“That’s a very troubling assessment from someone who has major responsibility in evangelical publishing,” Mohler said.

Southern Seminary’s e-book – published as the first in a new “CONVERSANT” series from SBTS Press – is available for free as a PDF download on the seminary’s website. CONVERSANT titles are “designed to engage the current evangelical conversation with the full wealth of Christian conviction.” Soon, the seminary’s e-book will be available for order on digital platforms, including Kindle, Nook and iBook.

In his review of Vines’ book, ERLC’s Walker highlights in his review four main arguments that the author makes:
  • Christianity’s historic position against homosexuality leads to “bad fruit” in the lives of homosexuals.
  • The Bible does not address the modern and comprehensive concept of “sexual orientation.”
  • Biblical authors lacked knowledge of modern faithful, loving and committed same-sex relationships.
  • Scripture’s negative view of homosexuality can be explained by its “patriarchal context.”
All of these arguments are flawed, but they could play an important role in advancing the homosexual agenda, Walker states.

“If I were mapping a playbook for the gay rights movement, this book is an important point in the strategy,” Walker notes. “It has to be written in order to introduce confusion within the evangelical firmament, one of the last remaining constituencies in America that has not embraced homosexuality with gusto.”

“This book need not be 100 percent compelling or accurate in order to succeed. All that needs to happen for Vines to claim victory is for his readers to be confused and not necessarily convinced of his argument.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – James A. Smith Sr. is executive editor and chief spokesman at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Baptist Press chief national correspondent David Roach contributed to this report.)
4/23/2014 11:32:34 AM by James A. Smith, Sr. SBTS/Baptist Press | with 0 comments

‘People loved us with the Mother’s Day Offering’

April 23 2014 by N.C. Baptist Hospital Communications

In 24 hours everything changed for the Dean family. One day Daniel Dean was a lively four-year-old celebrating his birthday. The next day he was curled up on the sofa with an apparent infection. Tests revealed the worst news parents could get. Daniel had Burkitt’s Lymphoma, an explosive form of leukemia.
Worried about the aggressive treatment regimen and astronomical medical bills, the Deans turned to family for support – their family of faith. “In John 13, Jesus said ‘all will know my disciples by their love for each other,’” said Curt Dean, associate pastor of single adults at Lawndale Baptist Church, Greensboro. “People loved us with the Mother’s Day Offering.”
The Deans are thankful that Daniel has been cancer-free since April 2012, and they are very grateful for the support of the Mother’s Day Offering. “We’re called to be ministers to each other,” said Dean. “This is a way we can live out the gospel and love and bless one another as Christ has compelled us to do.”

NCBH photo
Curt Dean, right, associate pastor of single adults at Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro, and his family faced a crisis when their son was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. They have been helped through North Carolina Baptists giving to the Mother’s Day Offering. 

Gary R. Gunderson, vice president of Faith and Health Ministries of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, said, “Despite many profound uncertainties in health care policy, one thing has remained constant since 1920: the partnership between North Carolina Baptists and their hospital means that we are able to look anyone in need in the eye and say that we are here for them without regard for how the world sees them or their bank account.”
Sherri Sexton, another Mother’s Day Offering recipient, is one of the hundreds of patients who have been blessed because of the relationship between the hospital and North Carolina Baptists.
Sexton was worried. She had been a heart patient for nearly a decade, with a long family history of heart problems. The transient ischemic attack (TIA) that took her to Baptist Hospital was a warning sign that a real stroke may be imminent. It was also the final push that knocked her family over the edge of their personal financial cliff.
Sherri and husband Mark had been climbing a steep mountain for months. He had lost his job, and she was out of work on disability. Then a terrible car accident took everything they had left. The hospitalization for the TIA put them in a fiscal landslide.
“I was paying all I could, but sometimes it was only $10 because I had to buy medicine and food,” Sexton said. “We had been praying to God for work, to show us what to do, to help us figure out how to get this and our other bills paid. Our church was praying too. We turned it over to God and put it in His hands. We knew He would take care of it.”
God did take care of it through N.C. Baptists.
“When we got the letter from the Mother’s Day Offering, I thought it was from a collection agency. But instead, it was the biggest blessing. I fell to my knees crying and thanked God for working a miracle. I called my husband. He was driving a truck for one of our friends for a couple of days and had to pull over and cry a little bit, too. We praised and thanked God. It was the best feeling. People don’t believe God is real, but I am living proof. God has blessed us.”
For the Sextons, faith is all about trust, even when everything is going wrong – especially when everything is going wrong. “I believe if you trust in the Lord and pray, God will do what is best for you and will lift the burden,” Sexton said. “God never puts more on you than you can bear. He will take care of you.”
“For 90 years, North Carolina Baptists have faithfully and sacrificially given to the Mother’s Day Offering to make a life-changing difference for hurting patients and families at North Carolina Baptist Hospital,” said Leland Kerr, Baptist Health Care liaison at the hospital. He added, “Your gifts made all the difference in the world for people like Daniel Dean and Sherri Sexton and hundreds of other hurting patients and families.”
Kerr further stated, “We are grateful to North Carolina Baptists on behalf of the Deans, the Sextons and many other patients in great need. Your gifts to the Mother’s Day Offering provide a source of hope in the name of Jesus Christ and His love. Please join me in praying for God’s love to be at work through the Mother’s Day Offering. Please give generously and allow Him to touch others through you.”
The Dean’s story and the Sexton’s story can be seen at www.mothersdayoffering.org. Mother’s Day Offering materials were mailed to North Carolina Baptist churches.
Materials can be obtained by calling (336) 716-3027 or email Kerr at lakerr@wakehealth.edu.
4/23/2014 11:09:22 AM by N.C. Baptist Hospital Communications | with 0 comments

Evangelicals must persuade, Moore says

April 23 2014 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Evangelicals in post-Christian America must seek to persuade those who disagree with them to recognize the importance of human life, marriage and religious freedom, Southern Baptist ethicist Russell D. Moore said on a nationwide telecast Easter Sunday.

Speaking April 20 on ABC’s “This Week,” the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said America has changed from the days when religious conservatives would speak of a moral majority in the country.

“It’s a different time, and that means ... that we speak in a different way. We speak to people who don’t necessarily agree with us,” Moore said during a panel discussion on the political power of evangelical Christians.

“There was a time in which we could assume that most Americans agreed with us on life and on abortion and upon religious liberty and other issues, and we simply had to say, ‘We’re for the same things you’re for. Join us,’“ he said. “It’s a different day. We have to speak to the rest of the culture and say, ‘Here’s why this is in your interest, to value life, to value family, to value religious liberty.’“

Statistics cited in an April 18 profile of Moore on “CBS This Morning” demonstrate the shift in the United States. Nearly one-third of Americans 65 years of age or older identify as evangelicals, but only one in 10 Americans 18 to 29 years old describe themselves as evangelicals, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.

When “This Week” host Martha Raddatz cited a significant drop in church membership over the last two decades, Moore said he is not worried about the development because it seems to represent “the collapse of a cultural, nominal form of Christianity.”

“We’re at a point now where Christianity is able to be authentic and Christianity is able to be authentically strange,” he said. “Many people now when they hear about ... what evangelical Christians believe, the response is to say, ‘That sounds freakish to me, that sounds odd, and that sounds strange.’

“Well, of course it does,” Moore said, “when we believe that a previously dead man is now the ruler of the universe and offers forgiveness of sins to anyone who will repent and believe. That’s the same sort of reaction that happened in the Greco-Roman empire when Christianity first emerged.”

This context “offers an opportunity for the church to speak clearly, articulately about what it is that we believe, to give a winsome and clear message about what the gospel actually is,” he said.

This requires a certain tone, Moore told reporter Jan Crawford April 18 on “CBS This Morning.”

“Our message to the outside culture cannot simply be: ‘You kids get off of my lawn,’“ he said.

“We shouldn’t be angry; we should be convicted, which are two very different things.”

In her report, Crawford said a “different tone only goes so far.” While some say the church should back off social issues, Moore disagrees, she reported. Same-sex marriage is one of those issues.

Crawford asked Moore, “Is homosexuality a sin?

He replied, “Yes. I believe that any sexual activity outside of marriage, which is the conjugal union of a man and a woman, is a sin.”

Research shows the evangelical church’s view is at odds with most Americans, Crawford reported. One-third of Americans say they have left the religion of their childhood because of its views on gay rights, the report said, citing the Public Religion Research Institute.

Moore said, “We have to speak to the outside world about why it is that we believe in the Christian sexual ethic. It’s not because we hate people. It’s not because we’re bigots. It’s because we really do believe this is how God designed the universe.”

Also appearing on ABC’s “This Week” panel with Moore were Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse; Ralph Reed, president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition; and ABC analyst Cokie Roberts.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.)
4/23/2014 10:43:21 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Mark Regnerus: religion can predict sexual behavior

April 23 2014 by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service

Controversial sociologist Mark Regnerus presented new research on marriage and sex at a conference of Southern Baptists on Tuesday (April 22), suggesting that religion and sex are tracking more closely than ever before.
In his first new research since his controversial study on same-sex parenting about two years ago, the sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin presented findings from an unpublished study on marriage and sexual behavior to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission conference on sexuality. The study suggests there’s a correspondence between what people’s religious affiliations proscribe regarding sex and marriage and their behavior.
In his former study, Regnerus, a Catholic who was raised as a Dutch Calvinist, argued that young adults with a parent who had had a same-sex relationship fared worse than those raised by biological parents without histories of same-sex relationships. He addressed criticisms in a follow-up paper in 2012, but he continues to stand by his study.
“The study hasn’t been retracted,” Regenerus said in an interview. “I can’t imagine it being retracted, because it’s not false and no errors were discovered. Maybe there could’ve been a sensitivity to language. But I stand by what I said.”
The state of Utah recently filed a letter distancing itself from the study in defending its statewide ban on same-sex marriage. The state cited a recent federal district court decision dismissing Regnerus’ views as “not worthy of serious consideration.”

ERLC photo by Kent Harville
Mark Regnerus is a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin who spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission sexuality conference on April 22, 2014.

In his new study, Regnerus conducted a survey of 5,738 people ages 18 to 39, asking them about behavior from porn use and masturbation to marriage and views on social issues. “Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” he said in an interview. While the research included those of other faiths, Regnerus’ presentation to Baptists focused mostly on Christians.
About 50 percent of younger evangelicals had premarital sex with their spouse, compared to 10 percent of Mormons, his study suggests. Mormons are the least likely religious group to be in a sexually inactive marriage, the research suggests.
He declined to provide his report to reporters saying his research is scheduled to be released in September. His presentation offered at least three possible takeaways:
1. The percent of younger people who are unmarried is going up each year.
Since 2000, the rate of those who are married and between 25 and 35 years old has been going down while the rate of those who have never been married is going up by about 1 percentage point each year. Those who were married used to be a higher percentage than people who were unmarried, but the trend began to reverse around 2008.
“By 2020, this is full-scale disaster for the church and society,” Regnerus said in an interview. “Marriage is foundational for civil society. We don’t have to have everybody married. But if you can’t solve problems in the household, there’s a lot more community dependence.”
2. Men are in the driver’s seat in the marriage market.
Women tend to be more interested in marriage, giving men the upper hand to choose if they want to “settle.”
“I don’t think men are afraid of commitment at all,” Regnerus said in his presentation. “They’re in the driver’s seat in the marriage corner of the market.”
Women are generally more interested in commitments and are more concerned about numerous partners than men. Women’s need for an economically stable husband has decreased, but they still want a marriageable partner, he said.
“The question is whether marriage is shrinking with the need,” he said.
3. Younger women have more fluid sexual identities than men.
Men say they are heterosexual at a much more consistent rate than women. For instance, women in their 20s are significantly less likely to say they are definitely heterosexual.
Regnerus said that the marriage of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is married to a former lesbian, illustrates how women are more likely to consider themselves to be heterosexual later in life. On the other hand, men remain more consistent over time, settling earlier on whether or not they are definitely heterosexual.
He also found that same-sex couples have more partners. When he asked, “Have you or your partner ‘had any other sexual partners’ since the relationship began?” 28 percent of cohabiting opposite-sex respondents said yes, compared to 37 percent of cohabiting same-sex respondents.
Despite the earlier controversy, he hopes that in time people come to appreciate his research.
“After all this political hoo-ha is done and gone, we’ll finally be able to settle down and people can talk about the same data with cooler heads,” he said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Sarah Pulliam Bailey joined RNS as a national correspondent in 2013. She has previously served as managing editor of Odyssey Networks and online editor for Christianity Today.)
4/23/2014 10:29:14 AM by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

Governor appoints NCBAM leader to homelessness council

April 23 2014 by Carol Layton, NCBAM

Sandy C. Gregory, a native of Statesville, was recently appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to serve on the North Carolina Governor’s Council on Homelessness. The Council will provide recommendations to the governor and the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on issues related to the problems of persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Gregory’s term began immediately and expires February 2016. 

Sandy C. Gregory

Gregory is the director of North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) – a statewide ministry that assists aging adults 65 and older. In partnership with North Carolina Baptists as well as civic and social agencies, NCBAM strives to enable aging adults to maintain their independence and enjoy quality lives.
“Because of the growth of the aging population and the ratio of those who are economically vulnerable, homelessness among aging adults will substantially increase over the next decade,” Gregory said.
Gregory has served as pastor, associate pastor, and minister to children and youth at churches in Virginia and North Carolina. He was the executive director for the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry and the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation in Virginia. Prior to joining NCBAM as its founding director, Gregory served the parent organization, Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina as director of development for the south-central region.
He is a member of Staunton River Masonic Lodge in Virginia and First Baptist Church in Statesville. Gregory and his wife Renee live in Statesville and have seven children.
4/23/2014 10:23:02 AM by Carol Layton, NCBAM | with 0 comments

WMU-NC moving meeting to Winston-Salem

April 23 2014 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

Moving its annual meeting away from Ridgecrest Conference Center caused the biggest stir at the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina’s recent meeting.
“After 22 years of meeting at Ridgecrest, many have grown to expect it always to be here,” said Tana Hartsell, WMU-NC president. Many have come to expect the “mountaintop experience.”
Stressing that WMU-NC remains thankful for Ridgecrest, its staff and facilities over its 22 years of meeting at the conference center nestled in the mountains, Hartsell said the organization was looking at the changing needs and desires of its membership.
“The necessity to make a change of some sort was clear,” she said, and many of the details still need “to be worked through, but already there are new and exciting ideas that are beginning to surface.”

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Debby Akerman, Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) president, shares with participants of WMU-NC’s Missions Extravaganza April 4-6 at Ridgecrest Conference Center.

Next year the group will meet April 17-18 at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Participants for WMU-NC’s 123rd annual meeting and Missions Extravaganza numbered 734 women gathered April 4-6 at Ridgecrest Conference Center at Black Mountain. Throughout the conference women had the opportunity to attend seven breakout sessions from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning with several major sessions featuring Debby Akerman, national WMU president. Mother-daughter team Melody and Sarah Moore led the weekend’s music.
“In spite of the headline news which would lead us to believe otherwise, God is at work in our world today just as He is at work within our own hearts and lives,” Hartsell said. “The foundation of [WMU] is the basic core value that we believe that Jesus Christ, Son of God, gave His life, a sacrifice for the salvation of all people of the world fulfilling God’s plan for the ages as revealed in the Bible, God’s Holy Word. This is what compels, this is what propels Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina to challenge, prepare and equip Christian believers to be radically involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.”
Hartsell said WMU-NC is not doing a good job of communicating its own story.
“It isn’t about what we in WMU will do but it’s about what God can and will do through us as we follow where He leads,” she said.
Churches started more than 50 age-level WMU groups in 2013, including Mission Friends, Girls in Action, Acteens and Women on Mission. “You may think those numbers small but it’s what those numbers represent that we must remember,” Hartsell said. “Those are organizations where [people] will be challenged with the knowledge of those around the world living in darkness.”
Hartsell mentioned its support from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) of North Carolina as well. WMU-NC is a “collaborating partner” with CBF, Hartsell said, but also mentioned CBF’s involvement in other Baptist entities in the state including Baptists on Mission (or North Carolina Baptist Men), Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, Baptist Retirement Homes, N.C. Baptist Hospital and the Baptist-affiliated universities.
An offering April 5 raised more than $8,200 for WMU-NC. Women learned about ministries such as the new partnership with Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina and Baptists on Mission (or North Carolina Baptist Men) to aid in an orphanage in Guatemala.
Building on the theme “We’ve a story to tell,” Akerman talked about story telling being “one of the few human traits that is truly universal, found in every culture since time began,” Akerman said.
She praised the WMU for being the best discipleship setting for all ages.
“WMU challenges Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God,” said Akerman. “Jesus came to proclaim a message with eternal value and purpose. God has purposed WMU to equip our churches to be on mission, to educate our preschoolers, children, students and adults to live missions lifestyles and to be intentional supporters for our thousands of Baptist missionaries.”
Akerman invited WMU-NC to come to Baltimore, Md., where WMU is holding its 125th annual meeting in June.
Beth Beam, chairwoman of the finance committee, shared the 2013 budget was $1,349,432 based on estimated monthly expenses of $112,453. Contributions totaled $967,343 from the WMU operating fund, Heck-Jones Offering, Crown Club contributions and CBF. Beam noted that the number is down more than $6,100 from the same category in 2012 and more than $22,000 from 2011.
Even with fewer dollars coming in WMU-NC had a net gain of $57,740. Beam said the only reason expenses were less than the income was because of the open position for executive director-treasurer and a preschool/children position.
WMU-NC’s goal of $385,000 for the 2013 Heck-Jones Offering fell short with $314,934. The 2014 goal is $400,000. So far the group has just over $106,000 toward that goal.
A detailed 2014 budget was approved. The budget was set at $991,387. It is available at http://tinyurl.com/2014wmuncbudget.
“This budget represents lives,” Beam said. “We have a dedicated and dependable full- and part-time staff that operates WMU North Carolina. They are fully committed to challenging, preparing and equipping Christian believers to be radically involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.”
Hartsell, a member of Kannapolis First Baptist Church, was re-elected as president while Denise “Dee Dee” Moody, a member of First Baptist Church in Salisbury, was approved as vice president. Beth McDonald, a member of McDonald Baptist Church in Rockingham, was re-elected as recording secretary, and Barbara Hill, a member of Fairview Baptist Church in Statesville, was elected as assistant recording secretary.
Members of the board elected were (by region): Region 1 – Nancy Scaff, Woodville Baptist Church in Hertford; Region 3 – Deborah Taylor, Great Marsh Baptist Church in St. Pauls; Region 5 – Linda Beaver, First Baptist Church in Salisbury; Region 5 – Kristie Foster, High Rock Church; Region 5 – Joyce T. Rogers, First Baptist Church in Asheboro; Region 6 – Linda Linderman, Deep Springs Baptist Church in Peachland; Region 7 – Jennifer Coffey, Indian Hills Baptist Church in Lenoir; Region 8 – Cynthia C. Marks, Alexis Baptist Church in Alexis; and Region 10 – Nelda Reid, East Sylva Baptist Church in Sylva.
4/23/2014 10:05:43 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments

Wingate president announces retirement

April 22 2014 by Wingate University Communications

Jerry E. McGee, Wingate University’s 13th president, announced plans today (April 22) to retire in May 2015. McGee is N.C.’s longest-serving university president.
At the time of his retirement, he will have served at Wingate for 23 years. McGee’s remarks are available here.

Wingate photo
Jerry E. McGee announced plans today to retire from Wingate University in 2015.

“During these years I’ve enjoyed watching thousands of young men and women receive the skills necessary to graduate from our university fully prepared to live great lives,” said McGee in his video statement. “Our institution has been blessed by the dedicated skills of an exceptional faculty and the tireless efforts of a highly qualified staff.”
Through his leadership, Wingate has secured hundreds of millions in gifts and grants for scholarships, endowment and campus development. During his tenure, Wingate has achieved university status, nearly tripled enrollment, became a doctoral-granting institution and built a number of new facilities, including The Levine College of Health Sciences and J M Smith Residence Hall.
New graduate programs initiated during these years, included: pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, sport management, accounting, MBA, leadership and licensure programs within graduate education. Undergraduate programs have been added, like nursing, political science and criminal justice.
Additionally, McGee officiated 404 college football games in 36 years. He is a member of the South Atlantic Conference Athletic Hall of Fame, Wingate University Athletic Hall of Fame, the Union County Business Leaders Hall of Fame and North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
McGee has also found time to be actively involved in the community. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Affiliate of Fifth Third Bank, the Wilma McCurdy Trust and the McSwain Foundation. He also is a past district governor of Civitan International. He served as a member of the NCAA Presidents’ Council and twice served as the National Chairman of the Football Issues Committee for NCAA Division II. He served as Chairman of Union County’s Economic Development program and as Chairman of the Presidents’ Council of the South Atlantic Conference, as well as Chairman of the Presidents' Council of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. 
In 2008, he was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of East Carolina, where he received his undergraduate degree. He also holds a master’s degree from Appalachian State University and a doctorate from Nova University. He has completed two books, The Sitting and Talking Place, which tells of his special relationship with his maternal grandfather and Roberdell – A Village of Grace, which describes life in the small textile community he grew up in. In 2006, McGee received North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, in recognition of his extraordinary service to the state.
McGee will complete the 2014-15 academic year as president. A search for the next president will begin immediately. 
4/22/2014 2:14:44 PM by Wingate University Communications | with 0 comments

Heritage Awards recognize 17 for leadership

April 22 2014 by BR staff & press reports

Seventeen North Carolina Baptists were recognized for their persistent dedication to the state during the 14th annual Baptist Heritage Awards ceremony April 8 at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center in Greensboro.
William Hoffman Jr., director of development at the International Mission Board, was the keynote speaker. “Legacies are things for which someone is remembered. It is the things that really matter to them,” Hoffman said. “The folks here are being recognized because of their lifetime of supporting and giving time, talents and resources to the things that are part of God’s kingdom.”
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the N.C. Baptist Foundation co-sponsor the annual ceremony. This year 12 agencies presented awards to the following individuals for their contributions to the state’s Baptist entities.
Mars Hill University honored Max Burgin.
If you want to see Max Burgin’s heart, ask him about the people of India.
He will tell you a story of abject poverty, want and hopelessness. He will tell you about children who wander the slums of Bangalore in search of food and shelter, and families in Bangarapet who are too poor to care for their own. 
And then, with eyes alight and hands gesturing at points of emphasis, he will tell you about the providence of God, which he believes has led him and his wife, Mickie, to involvement in three ministries which seek to better lives for some of India’s poorest people.
Dr. Max Burgin, a 1954 graduate of Mars Hill, is in his second term as a university trustee and currently serves as chair of the building and grounds committee. He retired as an army chaplain after a much decorated 30-year military career during which he attained the rank of colonel.
For more than 20 years, he served as the pastor of Lattimore Baptist Church in Cleveland County. Today, he continues to raise cattle on his Ellenboro farm while enjoying family time with Mickie, his daughter, Dr. Kelli Mayfield, son Edward and grandchildren.
For a life of service to the military, to his church and to the people of India, Burgin was named as the 2008 alumnus of the year at Mars Hill College.
Gardner-Webb University honored Grady and Jo Duncan.
This Belmont couple will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary in June and just two weeks later, will mark their 55th year as servants of First Baptist Church in Belmont. As active members of their church and community, Grady and Jo have also been generous to Gardner-Webb University with both their time and their resources.
Grady joined the Army after his first year of college and ended up fighting for two years in the Korean War. He completed his degree in business administration and accounting at the University of North Carolina.
Jo attended school at Lenior-Rhyne College, and taught middle school for 31 years in the Belmont area school system; Grady transitioned from a role as a certified public accountant into a position at Wix Corporation in Gastonia, where he retired as vice president of finance.
Grady has served on the GWU Board of Trustees, on the finance committee and in various other capacities since 1978. He and Jo established the Duncan Family Endowment Fund in order to assist students – specifically students from Gaston County – with Gardner-Webb tuition expenses.
Over the years, their giving has expanded to include four institutions in North Carolina. “We started giving, and it became something we prioritized,” Grady explained. “This award was a total surprise. We don’t feel we deserve it, but we are truly honored. We believe that at Gardner-Webb, the best is yet to be.”
The Biblical Recorder honored Mark E. Harris.
Harris’ passion for the truth of scripture has led him to give leadership to many causes both within and outside of Baptist life, including his tireless labors for the passage of the North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment in 2012.
Harris’ service to North Carolina Baptists is a record of sacrifice and humility. He served as second vice-president of the Baptist State Convention for two years (2008-2009), first vice-president for two years (2010-2011) and president of the convention for two years (2012-2013). Harris served four years on the board of directors of the Biblical Recorder (2007-2010) and has been a strong advocate for the Recorder.
He has two degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and also served as a trustee of the seminary. He was chairman of the trustees in 2005-2007 and served on the presidential search committee that brought Daniel Akin to the seminary.
He served as the senior pastor of Center Grove Baptist Church in Clemmons for 10 years, senior pastor of Curtis Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., for five years, and has been senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte since 2005.
Meredith College honored Mary Nell Jenke who gives generously of her time, talent and treasure to the college.
In 2007, Jenke was instrumental in establishing three alumnae chapters within the Wake County area and served as the chapter leader of the Northeastern Wake Chapter. She currently serves as the 23+ representative on the alumnae association board of directors, fundraising chair for the Networking Angles and is an active member of the Meredith College Book Club.
In 2012, Jenke established the Mary Nell Jenke Endowment to support the Alumnae Legacy Scholarship Fund. This prestigious scholarship is the highest honor available to an entering freshman and funds full tuition, room and board, books, supplies, international study, networking and enrichment opportunities.
Mary Nell has been an active member of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh for 21 years. She currently serves the church on the bereavement team, greeters team and the onward Sunday School class. Additionally, Mary Nell is involved with Bible Study Fellowship, where she teaches a weekly course.
This past year, she launched RealTemps, which supplies temporary offices sales staff to the home building industry in the Triangle area.  Locally, she is a member of both the Home Builders Association of Wake County and the Triangle Sales and Marketing Group.
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina honored Jimmy R. Jacumin.
A native of Burke County, he served as deacon, Sunday School superintendent and outreach leader at First Baptist Church, Icard, where he was a member for many years. He is now a member of East Valdese Baptist Church, Valdese. Baptists across the state will be blessed through the Jim and Nancy Jacumin Retreat Lodge, now under construction at Caraway Conference Center.
Since 2001 Southern Baptists have been blessed through the ministries of the Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; the center, made possible by Jacumin’s generosity, is named in honor of Jim and Nancy’s parents.
Jacumin graduated from North Carolina State University in nuclear engineering. As missile design engineer for Douglas Aircraft Company, he helped develop an anti-tank weapon and worked in Lunar Landing Vehicle research. He led in the founding of Jacumin Engineering and Machine Company (JEMCO) in 1965.
Jacumin’s extensive career in public service includes three terms as North Carolina state senator representing District 44 from 2004 through 2010. He also served as a member of the BSC’s board of directors, a trustee for Southeastern Seminary, Gardner-Webb University and Valdese General Hospital. Jacumin and his wife, Nancy Nell, have two children and four grandchildren. Their son, Marty, is pastor of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center honored state representative Donny C. Lambeth, a lifelong churchman whose professional career embodies a commitment to service in the spirit of Christ’s love.
A native of Winston-Salem, Lambeth joined the staff of North Carolina Baptist Hospital’s (NCBH) finance department in 1972 and by 1988 had been named vice president for financial services/CFO. He was appointed chief operating officer in 1999 and in 2008 was named NCBH president, a position he held until becoming president of Lexington Medical Center and Davie Hospital in 2011.
Lambeth retired from the hospital in 2012 and currently serves as state legislator representing the 75th district. As a civic leader, he also served for 18 years as member and chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. A member of numerous additional boards and organizations, he currently serves on the boards of the North Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes and Forsyth County Hospice and Palliative Care Center.

While regarded as a skilled administrator committed to excellence, Donny Lambeth is equally highly respected for his relational warmth and approachability, his generosity of spirit, his deep faithfulness and his universal appreciation for persons from all walks of life.
The Baptist Children’s Home of North Carolina (BCH) honored Ted B. and Peggy Lanier. Ted’s exuberant personality, commitment to hard work and unselfish service to others is matched by only a few and surpassed by none.
Peggy’s devotion to Ted and his endeavors is evident as she joins him in many of his philanthropic acts. Ted currently serves as vice-chair of the board of trustees of Baptist Children’s Homes and is chair of the finance committee, utilizing his rich experience and deep involvement in matters that are both financial and practical. His probing questions and enthusiastic advocacy for children and adults with developmental disabilities is an inspiration to all with whom he has contact. 
The Laniers are active members of First Baptist Church in Sanford where Ted has served as a deacon, on the budget committee and member of the pastor search committee.
The BCH will continue to thrive under the expert tutelage of Ted Lanier with his lovely wife beside him touching those that they encounter with grace, love and hope.
The North Carolina Baptist Foundation honored Richard D. Laws.
Richard’s mother moved the family to Gastonia where her parents were living after her husband’s death when Richard was five-years-old. His grandfather was T.L. Cashwell Sr., long-time pastor of East Baptist Church in Gastonia, where Richard made a profession of faith and was baptized. 
A graduate of Wake Forest University and Law School, he has practiced law in Gastonia for 35 years. For 28 years he had his own law practice, but since 2011 he has been a partner in the firm of Stott, Hollowell, Palmer and Windham, LLP.
He met his wife of 26 years, Pat, on a blind date when she was teaching at South Point High School in Belmont. They have two sons, Zeke, a senior at Auburn University, and Ethan, a sophomore at Gaston College.
Richard was recognized because of his 20 years of service on the foundation board of directors. On three different occasions he has served as board chair and has provided countless hours of free legal services. Today he serves as Foundation legal counsel.
At First Baptist Church, Gastonia, he has served as deacon, moderator and Sunday School teacher. In his community he has served on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, Gaston County YMCA, Crimestoppers and Gastonia Civitan Club.
Campbell University honored Frederick H. “Fred” Taylor and Myra Nicholson Taylor.

Campbell University honorees Myra and Frederick Taylor

Fred and Myra are visionaries for Christian higher education, actively supporting the mission of Campbell University and First Baptist Church, Troy (FBC-Troy).
Myra received a certificate in religious education through FBC-Troy via a program sponsored by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Master Gard-ener certification from N.C. State University. Fred, a native of Vass and a 1964 graduate of Campbell, is the president of Troy Lumber Company.
Myra has served as director of Operation Christmas Child, teacher in the Vota Vita Sunday School class for 40 years, and member of the Sanctuary Choir and Music, Condolence, and Library committees. Myra is also a past chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.
Fred’s activities at FBC-Troy include teaching in men’s Sunday School, singing in the choir, serving as a trustee, member of the Personnel Committee, and as chair of the Deacons. An accomplished musician, Fred is the featured pianist on numerous FBC-Troy recordings. Fred is a member of the Montgomery Memorial Hospital Board and First Bancorp Board. He has also served five terms on the Campbell University board of trustees, including two years as chairman.
Their two children, Louisa and Frederick II, are Campbell graduates. Fred is the son of two former Campbell trustees, Mrs. Alliene Taylor and Dr. Fred L. Taylor, for whom the Fred L. Taylor Hall of Religion on the campus is named. Alliene Taylor received the North Carolina Baptist Heritage award in 2002.
North Carolina Baptist Men honored Bobby and Wanda Temple because of their willingness to give themselves in so many ways for the glory of God.
The joy of serving the Lord began for the Temples with North Carolina Baptist Men in 1989, when they responded to Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina. They have not missed many opportunities to volunteer in hurricane and storm callouts since that time.
The Temples’ real passion is for international missions. They have served on mission teams in Honduras, El Salvador, Germany, Chile, Botswana and the Philippines. In Haiti, they coordinated teams for several months following the 2010 earthquake.
Married for 44 years, Bobby and Wanda are blessed with three children and seven grandchildren. Bobby retired from IBM in 2009 after working 43 years both full time and as a contractor. Wanda retired from the Granville County School System after 28 years as a teacher’s aide. 
They are members of Fellowship Baptist Church in Creedmoor where Bobby has been a lifetime member. He has served in various church positions including chairman of deacons, Sunday School director, church treasurer, RA leader, and Baptist Men’s leader.
Bobby has also been a Flat River Association Handyman Ministry and Operation Inasmuch volunteer. Wanda’s involvement includes church and associational WMU leader, choir member and Sunday School teacher.
Chowan University honored Linda Briley Weaver who devotes her time to making a difference in the lives of young people in Vance and Granville counties, her church and especially Chowan University.
Linda’s heart for Chowan is evident through her devotion as a Trustee for nearly 20 years. She serves as chair of the student affairs committee and is a member of the executive committee. She is also chair of the Friends of Teacher Education board of directors. 
A generous supporter of many capital projects, Linda is most passionate about developing relationships with the students who benefit from the James Lawson Briley Scholarship.
The greater Henderson area benefits from Linda’s heart for church and community.
She is a member of First Baptist Church Henderson and serves as a member of the library, nominating, membership and outreach, and search committees.
In the community Linda has served on the Board of ACTS (Area Christians Together in Service) since 1995, is a member of the Women’s League of Henderson and volunteers with the American Red Cross. An educator by profession, Linda taught school in Henderson for more than 23 years and served part time for 15 years at Perry Memorial Library.
Linda and her late husband, John Weaver, shared the belief that one can make a difference in one’s community and in the academy.
Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) honored Charles and Bonnie Wiggs.
Bonnie and Charles retired to North Carolina following 32 years of missionary service in Korea with the International Mission Board. They also ministered in Albania for two years following their retirement. The couple has actively supported WMU-NC in many capacities. Charles served on the Funds Consultants Team helping create campaigns for a more financially secure future, and Bonnie served on the WMU-NC executive board and on the missionary advisory group. She has also served as a mentor for the Raleigh Christian Women’s Job Corps® (CWJC) as well as president of the CWJC of N.C. Board of Directors.
The Wiggs’ have relocated to Denton, Texas, to be near family as Charles faces health challenges; yet, they continue living a life of strength, courage and peace – a testimony of their faith and commitment to God.
The couple met when Charles’ college youth revival team visited Bonnie’s home church where he preached his first sermon on Bonnie’s birthday.
They have three daughters and eight grandchildren.
4/22/2014 11:56:58 AM by BR staff & press reports | with 0 comments

Biltmore leader finds multi-sites messy but worth it

April 22 2014 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

Part of a series

Bruce Frank believes multi-site churches are part of a rapidly growing movement. While Frank has been Biltmore Baptist Church’s (biltmorebaptist.org) lead pastor for more than five and a half years, the church is fairly new to multi-site churches. The Arden campus had outgrown its facility and its land so another site was launched a little more than two years ago. Now Biltmore has three sites – Arden, East (Swannanoa) and Franklin – and is planning another by 2015.
“It’s become a good way to reach people,” Frank said. “Everyone is learning from one another.”
While the sites grew out of necessity Frank said the church has found it is a “great way to reach communities” and it fit the church’s theological and philosophical standards.
“It’s messy in a lot of ways,” he said. “For us it’s been a win in many regards.”
Part of the motivation behind starting the other sites was the effort to be good stewards. Frank said they wanted their members to “stay where you are and serve where you live.” They tried to open sites in areas where people were already driving from each week. Having a site in their own community opens up the possibility that visitors will come if invited.

Biltmore Baptist Church Facebook photo
A team from Biltmore Baptist Church prays in Guatemala City, Guatemala, during a 2013 mission trip. One of the luxuries of being part of a larger church body is the opportunities for ministry.

Before starting another site Biltmore tried to prepare for every possibility. They laid the groundwork six to eight months before by building a network within the community and serving together on projects that would help that community.
Because no other church was implementing multi-sites in the area, people didn’t know what to expect, Frank said. They had to battle the mindset that people didn’t “want to leave my church.”
“You’re not leaving your church,” Frank said. “You’re just going to another campus.”
Some other questions they faced were:
  • How do you staff in a way that’s effective?
  • How do you make sure none of the other campuses feel like a stepchild?
When Biltmore exceeded its Sunday morning capacity a Sunday night service was added but Frank said, “it wasn’t growing like the rest of the church.”
So the question arose, “How do you create space?”
“We were philosophically opposed to spending millions/billions on a building,” Frank said.
With 8,000 on campus one Easter, “it was either … stop growing or build a big box,” he said, but the multi-site approach offered the congregation a more viable option.
It allowed them to reach neighborhoods they weren’t able to reach before, but still support the members who loved being part of Biltmore.
“It started off as a necessity [and] ended up being a strategy,” Frank said.
One of the staff pastors meets with each of the campus pastors regularly about structure as well as to help secure how the church’s message is getting shared. Frank tries to meet with the campus pastors to improve leadership development. Another leader oversees the health of the campus as well as looks for new sites. When making decisions, all campus leaders are included.
Each campus has a worship pastor and children’s leader. Currently, only the East campus has a student pastor.
“We try to look at everything,” Frank said.
Part of the issue Biltmore deals with is that western North Carolina, unlike Charlotte, does not have huge pockets of population.
Biltmore began looking at 900 people who were driving 20-25 minutes to the church. So they encouraged the members to “stay where you are, serve where you live, [and] be the church in your community,” Frank said.
Like other multi-site churches Biltmore prefers to promote from within.
“We would know their character, their skill set,” said Frank. “They know our church culture, our DNA.”
For instance the man who helped launch the East campus for Biltmore was a student pastor at the main campus before assuming that new role. He led that campus for a year before accepting a call to be the pastor of a church in Apex.
But Biltmore brought someone in for the Franklin site; they started by coming to be part of the main campus for several months before launching that site.
The church is developing an internship program that helps teach men and women about various areas of ministry. Interns are assigned reading as well as different assignments throughout the church to help the many ministries the church has.
When people are interested in joining with Biltmore they can attend a membership class that explains who the church is. Each class is about two hours and Frank makes sure he is at those classes.
“We try to explain who we are,” Frank said. “Biltmore’s not for everybody.”
Starting a site doesn’t just happen.
Frank said you have to develop bridges into the community first and recruit people who are already living in the area to help. They plan block parties and distribute information about six months ahead of the launch.
“You’re basically loving your community before moving in,” Frank said.
When Biltmore began to add cell groups in homes four years ago, the church began to move toward starting multiple sites. “What that will look like in five years I couldn’t tell you,” Frank said.

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4/22/2014 10:42:23 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments

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