A parade of friends and colleagues from past ministries helped to install Bill Wilson March 18 as second president of the Center for Congregational Health during a service at United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.
Wilson, who has been on the job since September 2009, was most recently pastor of First Baptist Church, Dalton, Ga. He succeeds Dave Odom, who led the Center’s founding in 1992.
The Center for Congregational Health is one of four departments in the pastoral care division of Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital, which North Carolina Baptists help support.
Monica Rivers, a Center board member and college professor, said the Center offered a “profound ministry” in its services to churches.
Sharon Engebretson, interim vice president of the division of pastoral care, said the Center is evidence of the hospital’s “quality and Christian caring” nature.
Milton Hollifield, Baptist State Convention executive director-treasurer, told participants that North Carolina Baptists have long believed in the important impact of ministry through attention to “body, mind and soul.”
North Carolina Baptists established Baptist Hospital in 1923 he reminded them, and the Center for Congregational Health “is one way of continuing the original purpose.” Baptists continue to support and endorse the Center for Congregational Health because “God is honoring his servants” there who are “impacting churches for the glory of Christ.”
The Center for Congregational Health offers several services, the highest profile of which is their training of pastors for intentional interim work and conflict resolution in churches. “The crisis is hard to overstate,” Wilson said in his response to nearly 40 speakers, many of whom voiced just a line.
He quoted 20th century Christian writer Corrie ten Boom who said the storm is around us, but it is not within us.
“But friends, it is around us,” he said. In “days filled with anxiety for many” it “has never been a better time to be God’s people,” Wilson said, encouraging participants, most of whom are involved in ministry.
“We do our best work when conditions are roughest,” he said. “We’ve never been more needed. What we’re talking about has never been more timely or strategic.”
Wilson friend and colleague Steve Scoggin, president of CareNet counseling services, also a department of the pastoral care division, compared participants and those churches and individuals helped by the Center to a quilt and said the represented a “diverse group of dispersed tribes, loosely stitched together by the Center for Congregational Health.”
In the family of servants, and those served, he said, “all are stitched together and united by the Cross of Christ.” Bo Prosser, from the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship which also contracts for services from the Center, said he often meets people in his travels who are “former ministers.”
Now they are selling insurance or cars or teaching school or are in other professions. The Center, Prosser said, helps churches and ministers preserve relationships “which are at the heart of calling in Christian ministry,” and helps those who are too close to being “former ministers” find “encore callings.”
To access ministries of the Center for Congregational Health visit www.healthychurch.org or call (336) 716-9722.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — In the April 10 issue, look for a feature length story on Bill Wilson.)