The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Board of Directors met Sept. 24-25 at Caraway Conference Center. They heard a progress report on the new BSC strategy and staff structure that will take effect in January, and also approved the proposed $30 million budget for 2014.
“Much has been accomplished over the last four months since we last met,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., the BSC’s executive director-treasurer. “Some of our churches developed strategies for impacting lostness through disciple-making long before the Board approved this strategy. Convention staff has been seeking out these congregations and meeting with church and associational leaders to learn not only what they are doing, but how they are doing it.”
During this regularly scheduled meeting, Hollifield shared with the Board of Directors that through the new strategy the convention will focus on assisting churches as they impact lostness through disciple-making.
BR photo by Shawn Hendricks
Kelly Robbins, left gets a congratulations from Milton A. Hollifield Jr., Baptist State Convention of North Carolina executive director-treasurer, after it was announced Robbins is the first recipient of the Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute Scholars Program, a cooperative effort involving the BSC and its five affiliated educational institutions. Robbins received a scholarship to continue her education at Gardner-Webb University where she is studying Christian counseling.
“Numerous other Baptist entities, conventions, associations and churches are focused on impacting lostness, but few are looking at this effort through the lens of disciple-making,” he said. “It is important that we think of disciple-making as the overarching understanding of evangelism plus discipleship.”
Hollifield shared several examples of how North Carolina Baptists across the state are already seeking to implement strategies to help develop a disciple-making culture in their churches.
Chris Hawks, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Hamlet and a member of the Board of Directors, has helped leaders in his congregation learn how to disciple others. As leaders learned what it means to be discipled they began discipling others, and more than 40 people have made a profession of faith since January.
Hollifield is praying that more churches across the state will begin to see disciple-making as an “a process.”
“Disciple-making happens when individuals invest their life in another person with regularity and teach them through scripture how to be a follower of Jesus,” he said.
Since the Board last met, Hollifield and staff have also been working with churches and associations to explore and develop campus ministry models in order that churches are better equipped to work with Baptist Campus Ministry students on different college campuses.
Hollifield and convention staff have also met with nearly all the directors of missions and associational missionaries in proximity of the eight population centers – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Triad, Fayetteville, Triangle, Wilmington and Greenville – and are beginning to meet with leaders outside these areas. Read more about these population centers.
“The response of the overwhelming majority of these men has been positive,” Hollifield said. “They are expressing appreciation for the framework of the strategy, as it values the input and participation of local leaders; the focus on impacting lostness through disciple-making; and the opportunity to partner in these endeavors.
“Our goal is to understand the context of each population center and the various unreached/unengaged people groups in these centers so that we might better assist in reaching the lost.”
Messengers to the Nov. 11-12 annual meeting in Greensboro will be able to learn more about the new strategy during a special presentation Tuesday morning. More information is available at www.ncbaptist.org/strategy or www.ncannualmeeting.org.
The Board of Directors approved the proposed $30 million budget presented by the Budget Committee, and as a result, the budget will be presented to messengers for approval during the annual meeting. The Executive Committee approved the budget during its July meeting.
The proposed budget reflects a decrease from the $33.5 million 2013 Cooperative Program budget approved by messengers during last year’s annual meeting. The budget includes an additional one-half percent increase in the percentage of Cooperative Program receipts that are sent to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This is the ninth year in a row that the Budget Committee has proposed increasing the allocation going to the SBC.
In the proposed budget BSC institutions and agencies will receive approximately the same percentage of the budget as last year, but with an overall reduced budget, these percentages will reflect fewer ministry dollars.
Cooperative Program receipts through Aug. 31 total $18,850,354.12, which represents a 4.3 percent decrease as compared to the same time last year.
Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute
Kelly Robbins was recognized during the meeting as the first recipient of the Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute Scholars Program, which is a cooperative effort involving the BSC and its five affiliated educational institutions.
Robbins received a two-year scholarship awarded to Fruitland students who, upon graduation from Fruitland, desire to continue their education at one of the affiliated institutions. A maximum of two students at each institution are eligible for the scholarship, with the scholarship renewable up to two years.
Robbins began this fall as a student at Gardner-Webb University and plans to study Christian counseling. Also participating in the special time of recognition was Tracy Jessup, Gardner-Webb University president, and Rit Varriale, chairman of the Christian Higher Education Committee and pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby.
“Your Cooperative Program gifts make this scholarship possible,” said David Horton, Fruitland president. “It is awarded to a very deserving young lady.”
Horton also challenged North Carolina Baptists to participate in Fruitland’s “One in a Million” campaign. The campaign is an effort to raise $1 million in order for Fruitland to repay debt related to expansion of the campus chapel, addressing other facility needs, and preparing for the next steps in seeking accreditation.
“It’s about you and your churches; we are your school and we need your help,” Horton said.
Churches are encouraged to receive a special offering during October for the campaign. More information is available at www.fruitland.edu.
The Board of Directors approved three appointments to the Fruitland Board of Directors: Stan Welch, pastor of West Asheville Baptist Church; Gordon Benton, pastor of Beech Glen Baptist Church in Weaverville; and Varriale.