During a regularly scheduled meeting May 22-23 at Caraway Conference Center, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Board of Directors heard reports and testimonies related to finances, this fall in Greensboro, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and of how God is using N.C. Baptists for Kingdom impact.
Although Cooperative Program funds are $11,289,455.98, which is 1.5 percent behind last year at this time, the Convention continues to operate “in the black,” according to a report by Beverly Volz, director of accounting services. The Board will vote on the proposed 2013 Cooperative Program budget during its September meeting.
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, updated the Board on the three staff committees helping study and make recommendations regarding the Vision Fulfillment Committee report. The communications and church planting/existing churches committees have completed their work, and the strategic development committee’s work is underway. A report to the Executive Committee is expected to be ready by August.
Hollifield also shared an update related to changes in the cooperative agreement between NAMB and BSC. Each state convention is in the process of negotiating new agreements with NAMB since it announced that it would redirect more of its funding to church planting efforts outside of the South.
BR photo by K. Allan Blume
John McConnell, chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, shares about the changing landscape of health care with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Board of Directors. Stressing the importance of medical care, McConnell also emphasized the “Baptist” part of the center’s history.
The cooperative agreements in each state have traditionally included allocations for supporting church planting and evangelism programs in state conventions as well as associations. The cooperative agreements have also included allocations for individuals who are jointly funded employees. There are nine jointly funded employees on the BSC staff at this time.
While the new cooperative agreements vary from state to state, NAMB intends to reduce funds available for jointly funded staff, evangelism and other efforts. Though NAMB will continue providing the BSC funding, most of the funds will now be designated to church planting.
Hollifield clarified that there are no plans to eliminate any of the jointly funded positions at the BSC.
“We have reallocated dollars in the portion of the Cooperative Program budget that remains in state,” Hollifield said, “and that has allowed us to retain all our jointly funded staff.”
Regarding the Convention’s annual meeting Nov. 12-13 in Greensboro, Hollifield urged Board members to begin preparing now. This year’s theme is “Awaken,” based on Romans 13:11-14.
“The committee that helps plan this meeting has expressed such a concern and burden to see a great movement of God take place when we gather in November,” Hollifield said. “But we must do spiritual preparation before that.”
Hollifield asked the Board to consider hosting times of prayer in their church or association for spiritual awakening, and to utilize opportunities such as a church renewal weekend to help prepare for November. For more information go to ncbaptist.org/crj.
“I’m afraid the world is having a greater impact on the church than the church is on the world,” Hollifield said. “None of us knows how much longer we have on this earth, and we don’t know how much longer it is before Christ returns.
“Let’s come to Greensboro with a sense of expectancy that God is going to do something great.”
Great Commission Partnerships
Michael Sowers, senior consultant for the Office of Great Commission Partnerships, challenged N.C. Baptists to consider the worth, and not the cost, when it comes to becoming strategically involved in mission efforts in North America and beyond.
N.C. Baptists have participated in two vision trips this year in Toronto and Boston. Spots are still open for the August trip to New York City.
Other upcoming events include safety/security training Oct. 2 in Cary. There also will be Southeast Asian Peoples Training Sept. 17-19 in Winston-Salem. For more information visit ncbaptist.org/gcp. A new church planting website necpcoalition.com is available to help connect N.C. churches with church planters in partnership areas.
North Carolina Baptist Hospital
Paul Mullen, church and community relations director for N.C. Baptist Hospital (part of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center), reported that Baptists have given more than $580,000 this fiscal year to the Mother’s Day Offering, which helps patients in need pay their hospital bills.
It’s a time of rapid change in the medical field, said John McConnell, chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He shared his appreciation for the ongoing relationship that the hospital has with the BSC, noting the Center’s Baptist heritage is an important part of its DNA and culture.
“The landscape of health care and health reform is increasingly complex,” he said.
“In the midst of this complexity and change we are grateful that some … truly important things remain stable. First and foremost … is our commitment to faith that forms the basis for who we are and what we do. Our name is Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.”
Since the hospital began in 1920, McConnell said, it has continued to improve and excel in patient care and research. About 300 of its physicians were recognized in the 2011-2012 “Best Doctors in America” publication, and U.S. News and World Report ranks the Medical Center among the nation’s best hospitals.
Burwell Stark, a layperson from Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest, was appointed to serve the unexpired term of Greg Barefoot on the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee (CLPA).
CLPA committee chair Jarrod Scott also thanked the Board for supporting the marriage amendment, which passed by an overwhelming margin May 8.
“It’s the churches that spoke up,” he said. “We thank the Lord for this grassroots work.”
In the coming months the committee will make available on its blog (blog.ncbaptist.org/clpa) resources to help churches reach out to people involved in a homosexual lifestyle.
The chairman of the Business Services Committee reported a change in the expansion plans for the conference center at Caraway. Original plans included a one-story facility with detached housing units beside it. However, after consultation with the architects, the new facility will be constructed as a three-story unit. This will allow the meeting rooms and housing accommodations to be under one roof. This committee reported this change will result in significant cost savings.
The Christian Higher Education Committee reported that the tentative start date for the Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute scholarship is fall 2013. The two-year scholarship would be awarded to Fruitland students who, upon graduation from Fruitland, desire to continue their education at one of the educational institutions affiliated with the BSC. A maximum of two students at each affiliated institution would be eligible for the scholarship.
The Board approved two motions during the miscellaneous business session. Phil Addison, pastor of Stony Point Baptist Church, brought a motion that will give Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, opportunity to address the Board at least once a year.
The Board approved the Biblical Recorder’s governing documents, which have been updated to be consistent with those of the BSC. Last year, Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute in Hendersonville also updated their documents to be consistent with the BSC. The Recorder’s governing documents will go before the Convention in November to be approved.
The Board also passed a motion for Fruitland’s Board of Directors to consider whether or not they should request the Convention to forgive Fruitland’s remaining $900,000 debt after construction of its chapel.
Branton Burleson of Christ Covenant Baptist Church in Hendersonville made the original motion to ask the Convention to forgive the entirety of the chapel debt. Perry Brindley, pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Canton, later made the motion to refer the matter to Fruitland’s Board of Directors.
The next Board of Directors meeting at Caraway will be Sept. 25-26.