Kenny Lamm, minister of music at Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville for 23 years, has been elected to fill the music and worship team leadership position at the Baptist State Convention (BSC).
The Executive Committee also shed some personnel committee responsibilities and learned of a new church planting network system that will accommodate churches that wish to band together outside of geographical associations to plant churches.
The BSC Executive Committee, which is the BSC personnel committee, affirmed the recommendation of Lamm from Lynn Sasser, executive leader for congregational services, during their meeting on the Baptist Children’s Homes campus in Thomasville April 15.
The music position has been vacant since the retirement of Dan Ridley 18 months ago and music leaders in the state were restive.
“One of the reasons it’s taken so long to fill this position, is we’ve searched hard for the person with the preparation and skills for doing excellent music ministry, and who has a great heart for lifting up worship in all our congregations,” said Sasser.
Meeting in Thomasville
The Executive Committee met on the Mills Home campus of BCH in Thomasville to help dedicate the new facilities for the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministries (NCBAM).
BR photo by Norman Jameson
Michael Blackwell, right, president of Baptist Children's Homes, gets an assist from Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, in cutting a ribbon to dedicate the facilities of the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministries in a renovated building on the Mills Home campus in Thomasville.
NCBAM started with funds formerly assigned to Baptist Retirement Homes of North Carolina, which withdrew from the Convention. While Baptist Retirement Homes is a residential retirement ministry, NCBAM helps to keep senior adults in their own homes by connecting them with services.
Promoting the service all over the state in many different venues, NCBAM Elder Care Coordinator Jennifer Shore said more than half the calls for help come from persons not connected with any church.
Senior adults are an often neglected segment of the population for evangelism and both BCH President Michael Blackwell and BSC Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield, Jr. referred to the spiritual basis of this senior ministry. ‘We’re returning a debt to those who cared for us,” Hollifield said.
“One of the purposes of NCBAM is to introduce Christ,” said Blackwell before cutting a ceremonial ribbon. He said many seniors in “their sunset years don’t know Christ as savior.”
“This is a great day for senior adults,” said Blackwell, himself a senior adult at age 68, with no plans to retire. “Your best days are ahead. A lot of great things have happened to me since I turned 65 and I’m just hitting my stride now.”
In July Blackwell will begin his 28th year as BCH president, giving him the longest tenure of anyone who’s held that office.
“The heavens would have to open up and the Lord tell me directly to step aside for me to retire,” he said. “I’m going to be here.”
Position evaluation backs off
The Executive Committee is the Convention’s personnel committee and the Position Evaluation Committee of the Executive Committee meets before virtually every meeting to consider changes in job descriptions, personnel changes and potential hires.
The Executive Committee approved procedural rules that will streamline the process, and “give more authority to Milton for who he hires,” according to Cindy Stevens, chair of the Position Evaluation Committee.
The new rules, which came at the request of the Position Evaluation Committee according to John Butler, executive leader for business services, will decrease the need for Position Evaluation Committee meetings, Stevens said.
“We felt we could put the trust back into their hands to hire who they want to hire, rather than to have to approve the candidates coming through,” Stevens said.
Vetting by the Position Evaluation Committee will stay in place for level 10 positions and above, which are “any of the team leaders that supervise other program staff,” Butler said.
To add staff positions also would follow the old process of review and approval by the Position Evaluation Committee before coming to the Executive Committee. The Position Evaluation Committee makeup will consist just of Convention officers and board officers, rather than those persons plus other members from the Executive Committee.
This is a procedural policy, not a bylaw change, so it will be easy to reverse if necessary, said Mark Harris, Convention first vice president.
New church planting networks
Chuck Register, executive leader for church planting and missions development, introduced a new partnership model for church planting to accommodate churches that want to plant a new church together but are not geographically close.
Churches can form a church planting network that will be eligible for Baptist State Convention support if they follow certain guidelines.
The network must have at least seven churches, all of which affirm the Baptist Faith and Message and are in friendly cooperation with the BSC; must be registered as an incorporated not-for-profit organization with the state of North Carolina; identify a liaison with the BSC; and be receptive to annual review and immediate termination of the partnership if the review is not satisfactory.
Register said the current model for church planting that involves associations and the recruitment, assessment, coaching, funding and review of church planters is not changing. The network partnerships will be an additional tool.
He said the North American Mission Board asked North Carolina to pilot the new model, and it was developed in consultation with directors of missions across North Carolina.
Funding will be identical to the current process, with the same applications and assessments required, Register said.
“We’re responding to have a system for what we see coming,” Hollifield said.
BR photo by Norman Jameson
These networks will not be initiated by the BSC, “but this is the way we’re going to respond and deal with what is before us,” he said.
As assigned earlier, and with the help of Jimmy Huffman, director of Caraway Conference Center and Camp, BSC Board President Bobby Blanton named a 7-member committee to lead a $7.5 million capital campaign for Caraway improvements.
They are: Ed Coates, retired president of the NC Baptist Foundation, chair; Don Warren, retired textile executive, former president of the BSC board of directors and current Biblical Recorder board member; Kendall Cameron, pastor of First Baptist Church, Mount Holly, and chairman of the investment committee of the BSC business services group; Dale Duncan, retired school administrator and immediate past president of N.C. Baptist Men; Margene Troutman, wife of Raiford and former Royal Ambassador trainer; Marty Jacumin, pastor of Bay Leaf Baptist Church and Margaret Joyce, member of Grace Baptist Church in Madison and of the board of Baptist Foundation.
Mark Blair said a letter was sent to every middle school and high school principal in March alerting them to positive options in sex education, since the Healthy Youth Act passed by the North Carolina legislature weakens the current “abstinence until marriage” stance of N.C. law.
“Abstinence until marriage is the law concerning sex education in public schools,” Blair said. “The new law does not override that but does open the door to other ways of presenting sex education in our schools.”
“We don’t want just to be a negative voice, but to provide options in positive ways,” Hollifield said.
Lamm begins June 1
Lamm will begin his role at the BSC June 1.
“We found a man who worships God and invites others to join him in worship,” said Brian Upshaw, church ministry team leader in congregational services. “He has a passion to equip small church worship leaders in worship ministry.”
Human Resources Director Linda Hudson announced that Cynthia Tucker, BSC receptionist for 21 years, will be leaving April 23 to join her husband Greg in Chicago where he has relocated for work.