Three agencies report to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) each year during the annual meeting. The Biblical Recorder (BR), the N.C. Baptist Hospital and the N.C. Baptist Foundation (NCBF) expressed thanks to N.C. Baptists for their support through the Cooperative Program (CP) and other donations. Here are highlights from each:
N.C. Baptist Foundation
“God has so blessed our ministry that today we manage over $165 million of Kingdom money,” said Clay Warf, NCBF executive director. “In the last almost 10 years we have made 149 loans totaling more than $81 million.”
BR photo by Steve Cooke
K. Allan Blume, Biblical Recorder editor, shares about the importance of using the Recorder as a news source for churches across the state.
It was 10 years ago, Warf said, that N.C. Baptists supported an expansion to add N.C. Baptist Financial Services. Warf reported that in 2017 NCBF received gifts totaling $5.57 million, and the organization distributed $7.25 million. NCBF managed 2,757 accounts benefiting 677 different ministries. Through its partnership with the BSC, NCBF awarded 204 scholarships to N.C. Baptist students totaling more than $350,000. In its 98-year history, NCBF has distributed $188 million.
“Let us partner with you and your church in fostering generosity and facilitating Kingdom growth in 2019,” Warf said.
For 185 years, the Biblical Recorder has been in the communication business, providing news to North Carolina Baptists and beyond. “For the first 164 years of our history, the printed newspaper was the only communication tool we used,” said Allan Blume, BR editor/president. “A lot has changed in the last 21 years.”
With readers asking for varied platforms, the BR has responded, first with the website and now through the BRweekly, the BR app, the BR digital edition and social media platforms. “Communication is not only important, it’s essential,” Blume stressed. “It builds relationships, leads to community.”
Throughout his report, Blume highlighted stories in the BR this year. Each issue contains information for church leaders and members to help in ministry as well as to inform, inspire and challenge. “We believe our Baptist community is important,” Blume said. “We work together, minister together, give together and go to the ends of the earth together.”
In 2015, BRnow.org averaged 20,500 daily unique visitors, but growth has continued to climb: 22,000 (2016); 25,800 (2017) and 31,900 (2018).
Blume announced his retirement plan Oct. 1 at a BR board meeting. His plan is to retire in May 2019.
“We are excited for Allan, and at the same time, know that we will miss a great editor and leader,” said Nate Jones, chairman of the BR board of directors. “Our support for the Biblical Recorder will continue as our recently formed search committee begins the process of identifying and selecting our next editor and president.”
Jones expressed thankfulness for being able to serve N.C. Baptists through the Recorder’s work.
North Carolina Baptist Hospital/Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
When the North Carolina Baptist Hospital opened in 1923, it had 88 beds. Today, with expansion efforts, there are 1,535 beds across five locations.
“Thank you North Carolina Baptists, together we are making a difference in people’s health and changing lives as we continue to find new ways ‘to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, especially to the needy,’ said Leland Kerr, NCBH liaison. “We are profoundly grateful for our partnership.”
Through N.C. Baptists’ gifts to the Mother’s Day Offering, Kerr reported that more than $500,000 was received this year with more than 1,300 N.C. Baptist churches contributing. Fifty patients were helped with those funds as were more than 130 Baptist ministers and their families.
He highlighted two ministries: CareNet Counseling and FaithHealthNC.
Through CareNet, counselors have been involved in helping victims of Hurricane Florence. The donations from N.C. Baptists through the CP provided more than $1,700,000 in free and reduced care to patients in 2017.
Through FaithHealthNC, CP funds equip churches and associations to help caregivers in their churches. The ministry also offers transportation to and from medical appointments, aid in understanding medications, basic caregiver training for churches, providing food after hospitalization and advocates for health care access. “The intention was and is to stay close to the churches,” Kerr said.