North Carolina’s Baptist agencies reported to messengers at their annual meeting Nov. 13 in Greensboro how God has blessed those ministries – and through His grace – lives are being impacted.
As a 7-year-old, Travis went to live with his aunt and uncle because of the alcohol and drug abuse issues in his home. But the impact of growing up in that environment had already impacted Travis.
“I had a lot of anger problems and took that out on my aunt and uncle,” Travis told messengers, with his aunt Karen standing with him on stage. “We decided we needed help.”
Travis’ family turned to Baptist Children’s Homes and Cameron Boys’ Camp, where he learned about God’s love and forgiveness.
“This is not my story; this is God’s story,” Travis said. “It’s about the kids who still need help.”
Travis, now 15, experienced hope and healing during his time at Baptist Children’s Homes.
He asked N.C. Baptists to continue praying for him and his family, and all the children whose lives are being changed because of Baptist Children’s Homes.
BR photo by Shawn Hendricks
Michael Blackwell, center, president of Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH), shares about the Children’s Homes and the affect N.C. Baptists have on families like Travis, left, and his aunt Karen, right. Because of their family’s involvement with BCH Travis came to a saving relationship with Christ and found healing with his family.
The theme for this year’s Thanksgiving Offering for Baptist Children’s Homes is “Sharing Hope,” based on Romans 8:24. This year’s goal is $1,450,000.
“You have truly made a difference in changing Travis. When you change him, you change everyone around him,” said Travis’ aunt, Karen. “You change his family and his church family. He will be a different husband and father than he would have been because of you.”
Messengers also heard a report from the N.C. Baptist Foundation, which focused on highlighting ways N.C. Baptists can be good stewards of the material and financial resources the Lord has provided.
“As Christian stewards, we have a responsibility to determine what will happen to our stuff when we don’t need it anymore,” said Foundation president Clay Warf.
“An estate plan should be our greatest act of Christian stewardship.”
Through endowments and charitable trust funds, Christians can ensure that they continue making a difference in ministry and missions for years to come. Believers should also be good stewards as they prepare documents such as their last will and testament.
The N.C. Baptist Foundation is ready to assist North Carolina Baptists with financial services, investment planning, gift planning and church growth investment funds.
“We want all North Carolina Baptists to finish well,” Warf said.
“We are robbing God when we fail to tithe our estate. We need to wake up to what we can do for God if we’ll be faithful stewards.”
Church and community relations director Paul Mullen and Vice President of Faith and Health Ministries Gary Gunderson brought the N.C. Baptist Hospital report. Since 1923, N.C. Baptist Hospital has sought to provide excellent care to patients.
“Our founders in the Baptist State Convention had a simple dream that would extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” Gunderson said.
The hospital continues to prove a national leader in healthcare, being ranked among the “Best Hospitals in America” by U.S. News and World Report in specialty areas such as cancer and geriatrics.
Gunderson thanked N.C. Baptists for their support of the Mother’s Day Offering, which helps patients in serious financial need pay their hospital bills. In 2012, N.C. Baptists gave more than $620,000 to the Mother’s Day Offering.
Also bringing a report to messengers was Biblical Recorder Editor Allan Blume, who thanked them for supporting the Recorder as its staff have “worked diligently to give the Biblical Recorder a fresh identity and to increase its value in Baptist life.”
“We sincerely hope your church, and you personally, are enjoying the inspiring and encouraging stories in the Biblical Recorder about how God is at work among North Carolina Baptists,” Blume said.
Through a print edition, website and weekly e-newsletter, the Recorder is a resource to help church members broaden their exposure to Kingdom work throughout the world, he said. Blume referred to an “information diet” in his comments to messengers. While pastors cannot control what information their members digest during the week, Blume said they can encourage them to read the Recorder and use the publication as a resource for news, training and to guide prayer time. “The Biblical Recorder can be one of the best investments you make in your church flock,” Blume said. “We’re excited to be able to communicate the good stories of people who are standing strong in the faith. Our churches desperately need a powerful movement of God. We want to do our part in encouraging that in every way we can.”
For more stories from the annual meeting, visit here.