During the 2016 Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) annual meeting Nov. 14-15 in Greensboro, attendees had the opportunity to attend two of 23 different breakout sessions offered on Tuesday afternoon. The sessions offered training and equipping in a variety of ministry areas. Following is a sample of some of the topics covered.
BR photo by Steve Cooke
Cathy Moffett, who serves on the women’s ministry leadership team at Glen Hope Baptist Church in Burlington, led a breakout session on discipling women through studying the Bible.
Understanding pockets of lostness
BSC strategy coordinators Chuck Campbell and Michael Boarts led a breakout session aimed at helping individuals and churches understand what a pocket of lostness is and how to engage those pockets with the gospel.
The BSC has identified 250 pockets of lostness across the state, 100 of which are located among the eight major population centers.
The remaining 150 are located in smaller cities, towns and communities.
Campbell said pockets of lostness are sites that have the highest concentrations of unreached households in an area which can serve as a starting location for missional activity. Members of the BSC Strategic Focus Team are available to assist directors of missions, pastors and church leaders in identifying pockets of lostness and helping them develop an engagement strategy in those areas.
Discipling a congregation via preaching
Consistent and regular preaching is an important aspect of a pastor’s disciple-making ministry, but it shouldn’t be the only way a pastor makes disciples.
Jim Shaddix, professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary encouraged pastors to model their preaching and disciple-making ministries after those of Jesus.
Jesus preached to the crowds, but as He did, He called individuals to deeper levels of commitment in their walk with Him. By the time He ascended into heaven following the resurrection, Jesus had a core group of disciples who were entrusted with the spread of the gospel.
A pastor’s preaching ministry should also help move individuals from the crowds to deeper levels of commitment, Shaddix said.
“It’s very difficult to be intentional about disciple-making in my preaching if I am not discipling people in my personal life,” Shaddix said.
When considering those who may be ready for a deeper disciple-making commitment, Shaddix encouraged ministers to look for individuals with “HEART” – those who are hungry, engaged, available, reliable and teachable.
Robbing the early college cradle
North Carolina churches have a unique ministry opportunity to reach students of early colleges, which are prevalent in the state.
Early colleges allow students to earn high school and college credits simultaneously. Upon completion, students graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.
More than 100 early colleges are located in North Carolina, equal to about one-third of the total number of early colleges nationwide.
Because these students are too young to be considered college age but are still not in a traditional high school, they can fall through the cracks when it comes to community involvement. Churches can engage these students on the campus with volunteers and support in a variety of ways such as serving as test proctors, providing food, conducting mock job interviews, contributing school supplies and becoming tutors or mentors.
“This builds a trust relationship,” said Jonathan Yarboro, leader of BSC Collegiate Partnerships Team. “Administration begins to trust you, and they begin to open up the doors of the campus greater than you thought would happen, and then a reproducing gospel presence happens.”