The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Board of Directors (BOD) met at Caraway Conference Center on May 20-21. Board President Michael Barrett presided over the meeting as the BOD heard reports from BSC institutions, committees and staff.
Institution and Agency Reports
Leland Kerr, Baptist Health Care liaison for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (WFBMC), brought the Mother’s Day Offering report to the board. Since 1924, the offering has helped disadvantaged patients at Baptist Hospital pay their medical bills. Patients who receive financial help from the offering do not qualify for government assistance, but do not have the means to pay for hospital bills. The offering also annually benefits about 150 North Carolina ministers in the form of a subsidy on their hospital bills. In 2013, North Carolina Baptists gave more than $600,000 to the offering. The goal for 2014 is $650,000.
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, addressed convention’s strategy, “Impacting Lostness Through Disciple-Making” at the board meeting at Caraway Conference Center.
The board also received a report on FaithHealthNC including developments in research and strategy. Gary Gunderson, vice president of Faith and Health Ministries, told the board that there are certain North Carolina communities in which the areas of greatest lostness and economic disadvantage in the state intersect — “There is a remarkable overlap between the places, not just faces, that we are called to engage,” he said.
This discovery has allowed FaithHealthNC to engage lost people in these areas through WFBMC, which Gunderson said was the BSC’s original strategy when the hospital was established.
Clay Warf, executive director of the North Carolina Baptist Foundation (NCBF), noted the loans and grants the organization made to students and churches in the past year. NCBF provides student loans up to $12,000 per year and considers all grant requests it receives. “Our primary job is to protect these assets and get a reasonable return,” Warf said.
Beverly Volz, director of accounting services, reported that the BSC has a deficit of about four percent for 2014, but is operating in the black.
Executive Director – Treasurer Report
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, addressed convention’s strategy, “Impacting Lostness Through Disciple-Making.” The strategy calls North Carolina Baptists to engage the unreached people groups living within the state and around the world.
Hollifield noted that out of the 9 million people who live in North Carolina, 5.8 million are not saved.
“We cannot let these people live and die apart from an opportunity to accept a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We must take bold action, even if it requires sweeping change in order to impact the growing lostness in our state,” he said.
One part of this “sweeping change” involved altering the BSC’s approach to campus ministry. Previously, Baptist campus ministry had a presence on only nine of the state’s 200 college and university campuses. Under this new model, however, campus ministry is expanding as churches across the state are leading the efforts to engage college students. These students are taught to be disciple-makers.
Chuck Register, BSC executive leader for church planting and missions partnerships, updated the BOD on the expanding efforts to engage North Carolina’s top 100 pockets of lostness.
A new project was launched in January to identify language and people groups in the state. The efforts have begun in Charlotte, the Triangle and the Triad, which are among the top 10 fastest growing population centers in the nation, and will expand to other population centers across the state.
Register said they are looking for points of engagement in these population centers – pockets of lostness where it might be possible to carry out an ethnic church plant. So far, 54 points of engagement have been found.
“This is in an indication of unreached and unengaged people groups from across the globe that the Lord Jesus Christ in His sovereignty is bringing to North Carolina where we have the opportunity to engage them with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord is bringing them to us so that we can reach them and disciple them, and hopefully watch them return to their native country with the gospel.”
The board also heard updates from strategy coordinators serving in the following population centers: Greenville, Blue Ridge/Asheville, the Triangle, Unifour/Hickory, Metro Charlotte, the Triad, and Fayetteville. The coordinators are finding great enthusiasm towards the strategy. They said church leaders, association leaders and others are coming together to discover, develop and deliver strategic efforts necessary to impact lostness through disciple-making.
Annual Meeting Theme
Brian Davis, BSC associate executive director-treasurer, reported that the theme for the 2014 annual meeting is “Greater Things,” based on John 14:12. In this verse, Jesus told His disciples that they would do even “greater things” after His death. The November sessions will focus on the “Greater Things” that God is doing through North Carolina Baptists to impact lostness through disciple-making.
Fruitland Baptist Bible College
David Horton, Fruitland Baptist Bible College (FBBC) president, reported on some changes at the college. He announced that J.D. Grant, FBBC’s vice president of development, will retire at the end of May. Grant, who most recently served as vice president of development, has provided leadership and service in numerous capacities. Upon his retirement from full-time service, Grant will continue as a professor and volunteer.
Horton reported changes in the college’s commencement ceremony in June. This year, African American students and Hispanic students from satellite campuses across the state will join students on the Hendersonville campus in a historically diverse graduation service.
The graduation service will include FBBC’s first African American commencement speaker, James Gailliard, pastor of Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount. Gailliard’s message will be translated into Spanish for the audience.
Tana Hartsell, Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) president, shared that the WMU-NC held their annual Missions Extravaganza at Ridgecrest in April. She said they seek to expose women to missions, including trips to Pittsburgh, Pa. and projects at the Red Springs Mission Camp. Hartsell said the WMU-NC takes advantage of many other opportunities for ministry, including women’s retreats, summer camps, and involvement in a ministry devoted to helping people with criminal records find productive ways of living.
Jimmy Adams, chairman of the Business Services Special Committee, presented a recommendation on behalf of his committee for the board to transfer 20 percent of the previous year’s remaining balance into the BSC’s contingency fund. The transfer of $15,053.40 into the reserve was approved.
The BOD heard a report from Ben Whitmire, chairman of the church planting and missions partnerships committee, regarding missions strategy in the pockets of lostness across North Carolina. Whitmire announced that additional missions strategists are being trained to reach the top 100 pockets of lostness in the state. In these pockets of lostness, startup funds are available for church plants and for bi-vocational church leaders.