About every three days North Carolina Baptists launch a new church in the state. Church planting is one of the ways to strategically reach an estimated 5.8 million lost people in N.C. with the gospel of Jesus Christ. An essential ingredient for this outreach is the annual North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO).
September is the focal month for North Carolina Baptists to give to the NCMO, a special offering that supports mission and ministry initiatives including Baptists on Mission (BOM) – also known as N.C. Baptist Men – church planting, mission camps, associational projects and mobilization ministry projects.
Brian Davis, associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), said, “I hope North Carolina Baptists recognize that the NCMO is not an optional offering, but an essential source of support for church planting in our state. While the vast majority of church planting funds come from the Cooperative Program, and a smaller portion comes from the North American Mission Board, the NCMO provides the additional funds necessary to help church planters impact lostness through disciple-making in our state.”
North Carolina Baptists help start more than 100 new churches each year, two-thirds of them reaching many new language and culture groups. NCMO provides about a third (28 percent) of the church planting team’s budget each year. More than 4,500 people made decisions to follow Christ in these new churches last year.
In 2013, there were more than 117 churches planted in North Carolina. Between 2008 and 2013 the BSC has helped start more than 715 new churches. The convention’s team of church planting consultants provides training, coaching and additional support to church planters like Joshua Gilliam.
Gilliam is missionary pastor of La Mision in Concord, a church plant started in 2011 under Crosspointe Baptist Church in Concord.
Through the support of pastor Leon Hawks of Crosspointe and others, Gilliam launched core groups and they meet at the facilities of Kerr United Methodist Church. La Mision does this to better reach the communities in that area. After approximately 10 months, the church noticed the need to minister to the children at their location.
“In partnership with the congregation of Kerr UMC we began a children’s ministry with the assistance of Roger Gadd, a proven children’s minister,” Gilliam said. “During the children’s time we began to meet with the parents in a Spanish Language Bible study.”
Starting with a small group of 10, the group has blossomed to 120 through the church’s three services.
Recently, La Mision had a backpack drive to meet the needs of local residents. With the help of churches from six different denominations, Gilliam said, “We fed 400 people and gave out 290 backpacks.
“This was an event where we saw that even though we are from different denominations, backgrounds and styles of worship, as the body of Christ we can meet people with the gospel message.”
La Mision has witnessed Christ at work over the last 20 months. Sixty-four individuals have professed faith in Jesus and 21 were baptized.
Davis said that the NCMO also helps North Carolina Baptists engage lostness in some of the most impoverished communities in the state.
Davis added, “Your generous gifts to the NCMO provide resources that help volunteers working at Red Springs address sub-standard housing, hunger and meet many other needs in the surrounding communities.”
Larry and Teresa Osborne lead Red Springs Mission Camp in Red Springs. They perform numerous tasks such as large and small maintenance of the camp, community outreach and daily preparation of meals.
“We cook anywhere from three to four meals a day, and that’s where Teresa comes in. We try to make them feel at home when they come,” said Larry Osborne.
The camp’s volunteers “do more than simply repair leaking roofs and distribute food, they are sharing the Living Water and the Bread of Life with those they serve,” Davis said.
Several groups of ladies come every year to spend a few days baking cakes, pies and cookies to take to nursing homes, hospital waiting rooms and local fire and police departments.
Red Springs and Shelby Mission Camp in Shelby are directed by BOM. Fifteen percent of the 2014 NCMO is allocated to these two camps. Volunteers at these camps engage in a number of mission projects in the surrounding communities and counties.
The Osbornes’ ministry expands far beyond the three square miles of Red Springs. They also serve Bladen, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson and Scotland counties.
“It’s a huge area to cover,” Osborne said. “Our hearts are the people we serve. We want to build relationships with the people we are ministering to.”
He tells the project teams to take a one-day project and turn them into three-day projects so they can get to know the individuals they’re helping.
Osborne expressed his deep gratitude for being a part of the work N.C. Baptists are doing through NCMO.
His wife added, “I always urge people to come and see what we’re doing. … We try to accommodate churches that want to work with children or want to work with women’s ministry or other ministries. People may have a hard time seeing how their gifts impact communities, but we see it every day.”
The 2014 theme for NCMO is “Choose Now.”
The largest portion of the offering’s $2.1 million goal supports BOM. The second largest sum supports church planting. Every dollar given to the offering impacts lostness in the state.
Richard Brunson, executive director of Baptists on Mission, noted that all of the ministries, partnerships and projects of BOM get their budget from NCMO.
Every year, one of BOM’s primary ministries is disaster relief. After disasters hit particular areas, disaster relief volunteers provide organization, equipment and strategy for affected individuals and families to help rebuild their lives and homes.
Brunson said, “Every week, hundreds of men, women and students are using their hands to share Christ with a lost and hurting world. … [NCMO] is a vital offering for everything from mission camps to mission partnerships, from disaster relief to medical missions, from agriculture to aviation, from places of hurting to places of healing and hope. The NCMO enables thousands of N.C. Baptists to be missionaries for Christ.”
To learn more about NCMO, visit ncmissionsoffering.org. Learn more about North Carolina church planting, visit ncbaptist.org/churchplanting; and to schedule a visit or learn more about Red Springs Mission Camp, go to facebook.com/RedSprings or call (910) 843-7700.