‘Greater things’ for N.C. Baptists’ future
BR staff
November 17, 2014

‘Greater things’ for N.C. Baptists’ future

‘Greater things’ for N.C. Baptists’ future
BR staff
November 17, 2014

At the 2014 Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) annual meeting, over 1,800 attendees heard reports and took decisive action Nov. 10-11 to make greater things happen in North Carolina and abroad.

Based on John 14:12, “Greater Things” was this year’s theme that encouraged North Carolina Baptists to embrace the truth that God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, wishes to accomplish greater things through His people.

The Credentials Subcommittee of the Committee on Convention Meetings reported the totals for those who registered for the convention: 568 pastors; 236 spouses; 240 church staff; 598 laity. These account for the 1,642 messengers. With 243 visitors, the final, yet unofficial number totaled 1,885. 1,648 messengers were reported in 2013 with 1,899 overall gathered at that annual meeting.


In mid-October, the BSC Board of Directors (BOD) approved a reduced Cooperative Program (CP) budget for 2015. This CP budget of $29 million is $1 million less than 2014.

The budget increases the percentage going to the Southern Baptist Convention to 37 percent, up from 36.5 percent in 2014.

Larry Burns, messenger of Mulberry Baptist Church in Charlotte, requested an amendment to the budget.

Burns said budgets are about priorities, and Christians have a biblical mandate to care for orphans as well as be an informed people.

He requested an amendment to reduce dollars for scholarships and increase financial support to both the Baptist Children’s Homes and the Biblical Recorder.


Photo by K. Brown

On Tuesday, Nov. 11, Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., delivered the final message of the BSC annual meeting.

The amendment failed to receive a majority vote. With no other amendments presented, the original budget was approved by the messengers.

Articles and Bylaws

Six amendments to the convention’s bylaws were presented to messengers, which include: changing the procedures and requirements for submitting resolutions for consideration at annual meetings; setting procedures for meetings of the BOD when weather or other factors cause meetings to be cancelled; clarifying qualifications and limits on who can serve on the BOD; updating wording related to the Christian Life & Public Affairs Committee; updating names for Fruitland Baptist Bible College (from Institute) in BSC documents; clarifying inconsistencies on the description of trustees for North Carolina Baptist Hospital. Messengers approved all six amendments.

Committee on Nominations Report

The Committee on Nominations is responsible for receiving, reviewing and presenting recommendations provided by North Carolina Baptists for service on the BOD and committees of the convention as well as the boards of the institutions and agencies of the convention. The committee’s report was approved with no additional nominations from the floor. These are available online at www.brnow.org/News/October-2014/Committee-on-Nominations-report.

Committee on Resolutions and Memorials

Two resolutions were brought before messengers Nov. 11: the Resolution of Continued Support and the Resolution in Support of Religious Liberty. Submitted by David Gasperson, pastor of Warsaw Baptist Church in Warsaw, the Resolution of Continued Support asked N.C. Baptists to continue to prayerfully encourage BSC leadership as they equip and support churches and associations to engage areas of lostness outside of the identified eight population areas.

Also, the Religious Liberty resolution requested messengers to join and support pastors in Houston, Texas, and the freedom of all pastors to speak and obey God rather than man.

Messengers passed both resolutions. These resolutions are available online at BRnow.org.


Three officers were elected during the annual meeting: Timmy Blair, president; Cameron McGill, first vice president; and Joel Stephens, second vice president.

Blair, senior pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier, was nominated by Mark Harris, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte.

“Timmy Blair is a leader, a leader of character and consistency but also courage,” Harris said of the candidate in his nomination speech.

Blair has been married to Wendy for 35 years and has two children and two grandchildren. Blair’s church has led Little River Baptist Association in baptisms the last few years along with growing in membership and expanding mission giving.

“As a North Carolina Baptist, Timmy was a conservative when conservative wasn’t cool and I’m grateful for that,” Harris said.

Aaron Wallace, lead pastor Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell, nominated McGill, senior pastor of Dublin First Baptist Church. “He believes that North Carolina Baptists must cooperate together to strengthen and revitalize our existing churches as well as equipping and supporting our new church plants and our global mission partnerships,” Wallace said.

“Since becoming pastor … his church has seen an increase of 400 percent in missions giving,” Wallace said.

McGill and his wife, Tiffany, have four children. He has led his church to participate in missions in their community as well as to working with church planters in New York and Moldova.

“He’s a man of God with integrity and character,” Wallace said.

Rick Speas, senior pastor of Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, nominated Joel Stephens, senior pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in Westfield.

“He is a servant leader with a Kingdom vision and a man of deep integrity,” Speas said of Stephens, who is married to Lisa and is raising four children. “Joel wholeheartedly supports the new strategy and the leadership of this convention.”

Miscellaneous Business

During a miscellaneous business session, Garland Honeycutt, a messenger from Big Rock Creek Baptist Church in Bakersville, asked for a suspension of the rules to allow messengers to consider a resolution on marriage. Messengers allowed Honeycutt, who is also director of missions for Avery Baptist Association, to read the resolution.

The resolution – “Resolution affirming God’s institution of marriage in North Carolina” – was proposed after the September filing deadline and was created in response to a U.S. District Court ruling in October that overturned the state amendment approved by voters in 2012 affirming marriage as between one man and one woman.

The resolution calls on messengers to pray for the Supreme Court as it will likely hear conflicting cases on the matter.

“Be it further resolved that the messengers encourage and pray for those individuals who are persecuted as they refuse to violate their deeply help biblical convictions on the issue of same-sex marriage,” the resolution states. “… and Be it finally resolved that the messengers affirm the biblical teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Jeff Broadwell, pastor of Long Branch Baptist Church in Lumberton and chair of Memorials and Resolutions Committee, said the committee and BSC leaders had reviewed the resolution prior to its proposal at the annual meeting.

Messengers approved the resolution.


On Tuesday, Nov. 11, Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., delivered the final message of the BSC annual meeting.

Falwell is the son of the late Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Speaking from Philippians, Falwell challenged churches to make a recommitment to advancing the gospel.

“The only book that’s living and powerful is this book that was breathed out from the heart of God – the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God,” Falwell said. “Until the church of Jesus Christ begins take that seriously once again, we’re not going to knock down the gates of hell.”

Disunity isn’t just a problem for church members, it’s a problem for pastors as well, Falwell said. He encouraged pastors to strive for unity with fellow pastors by keeping the big picture of ministry in mind.

“When we preach Jesus crucified, buried and risen again, light will come into a dark world, and the gates of hell will be knocked down,” Falwell said. “The church today better get back to doing this now because time is short.

“Let’s be the church that knocks down the gates of hell.”

NCBM Report

Groups from North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) are involved in no less than 18 different missions ranging from agriculture to aviation to disaster relief.

The group currently has five large feeding units, the largest three of which are capable of providing up to 80,000 meals a day. They were used several times in the past year both in North Carolina and around the country.

“God’s able to do greater things than we can think or even imagine,” said Richard Brunson, NCBM’s executive director. “I imagine a lot. I imagine every Christian seeing themselves as missionaries in their neighborhoods and in their workplace.

“I imagine North Carolina Baptist churches sharing Christ’s love in word and in deed. I imagine North Carolina volunteers being God’s hands and feet in their community and across our state and nation. God can do much more than we can imagine.”

Theme Interpretation

The Greater Things theme of the 2014 Baptist State Convention of North Carolina was not simply a call to do more. Instead, pastors Rob Peters and Noah Crowe encouraged messengers to remember the focus of Christian ministry.

Greater vision, Peters began, must come before greater things. “No ministry will ever remain intentional about its mission, no agency will remain faithful to its purpose and no denomination can remain passionate about its ministry if it does not have a high and holy view of God,” said Peters, senior pastor of Calvary Baptist in Winston-Salem.

Speaking from John 14:12 – the verse for this year’s theme – Crowe said Christ revealed a pattern of servanthood a greater picture of Himself as Savior and the greater power available to all believers.

“We have great preaching in Baptist churches,” Crowe said.

“We’ve got great singing in Baptist churches, great testifying in Baptist churches, but where’s the power? It comes from the Spirit of God. Greater power is not in personalities and styles. It’s not in good names and the venues. It’s not in our good offerings and our big financial pledges. It’s found in the Spirit of God, who glorifies the Savior.”