N.C. Baptist leaders and pastors from across the state are praying that this year’s Annual Meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) would be the beginning of a mighty move of God across the state and beyond.
The theme of this year’s meeting, which is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 6-7 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, is “Return to Me,” based on Zechariah 1:3. The theme is derived from the latter portion of the verse, which reads, “‘Return to Me’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
This year’s Annual Meeting will culminate with a special worship service that will be dedicated to praying for revival and spiritual awakening in our state, nation and world. The service, which is titled “Broken Before the Throne: A Prayer Gathering,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
“Returning to the Lord starts with prayer,” said Chip Hannah, pastor of Peace Baptist Church in Whiteville, who also serves as chairman of the BSC’s Committee on Convention Meetings. The committee gives prayerful consideration to developing each year’s Annual Meeting theme and schedule.
“From day one, our committee came together in one heartbeat around this idea of ‘Return to Me,’” Hannah said. “The focus on returning to God goes hand-in-hand with prayer, and the first step in returning to God is through prayer.”
Chris Schofield, who serves as the director of the BSC’s Office of Prayer for Evangelization and Spiritual Awakening, echoed the sentiment expressed by Hannah and the committee.
“We’ve got to return to Him, and the first element of that is being broken over our sin before His throne,” Schofield said. “We need revival in the church and spiritual awakening in the culture. This prayer gathering is a call for God’s people to pray and seek the Lord. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge and confess to God that He is our only hope.”
Acts 3:19 will serve as the guiding verse for the prayer gathering. The verse reads, “Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (NASB).
The prayer gathering will feature times of worship along with scripture readings, testimonies and periods of individual and group prayer. Using Acts 3:19 as a guide, the prayer times will focus on the key themes gleaned from the verse – repent, return, restore and refresh.
Schofield and other pastors and leaders are also calling on N.C. Baptists to seek the Lord leading up to this year’s Annual Meeting and prayer gathering. Several resources have been developed for N.C. Baptists to unite together in focused prayer throughout the month of October. Pastors are also being encouraged to devote some or all of their worship service on Sunday, Nov. 5 to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening.
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., who serves as the state convention’s executive director-treasurer, said he has already seen God’s hand at work in the planning of this year’s Annual Meeting.
“Much prayer has already been devoted to this year’s meeting in general and for this prayer gathering in particular,” Hollifield said. “And it’s been clear that the Lord has been working in the hearts of various individuals who have a role in planning the Annual Meeting’s theme, schedule and related events.”
In addition to the prayer gathering, Hollifield and other convention leaders will provide several updates to messengers on progress being made related to the convention’s strategy of “impacting lostness through disciple-making.” During the meeting, messengers will also adopt a Cooperative Program budget, elect new officers, hear a variety of ministry reports, conduct other related business and more.
Hollifield encouraged as many pastors, staff members, church leaders and laity to join him in prayer and make plans to attend this year’s meeting.
“I am praying that this meeting and prayer gathering will be a moment that we can look back on years from now as the beginning of a great move of God’s Spirit within N.C. Baptists and our churches,” Hollifield said.
Visit the Annual Meeting website at ncannualmeeting.org for more information about this year’s event, including links to make hotel reservations, the complete program schedule, information about other related events, and more.