As this year winds down, many of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) ministry efforts and agencies are quickly positioning for a busy and productive 2013.
Leaders shared reports Nov. 12-13 during the BSC’s annual meeting in Greensboro of how God has blessed their ministries and institutions this past year. Many highlighted future efforts to expand and further the gospel here and abroad.
Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute in Hendersonville is gearing up for a special fundraising campaign set to officially begin January 2013. The campaign will help Fruitland pay off around $900,000 in debt for the expansion and renovations of the school’s Kenneth W. Ridings Chapel, which was dedicated in 2007.
“Fruitland is poised for a great future that builds upon a glorious past and a solid foundation,” President David Horton told messengers, noting the school has trained pastors and church leaders in N.C. since 1946. “And with 20 percent of the pastors in North Carolina being listed as graduates of Fruitland, the influence of the school is undeniable.”
The goal of the campaign, “One in a Million,” focuses on the idea of 1,000 donors, individuals and churches each giving $1,000 to the campaign over the next 18 months. In October 2013, Fruitland will ask N.C. Baptist churches to receive a special offering for the campaign.
“All of the leadership at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, including our Board of Directors, are very committed to repaying the loan that we have with the Baptist State Convention,” Horton said. “But we need your help in order to do so.
“Unlike many other educational institutions, we’re not sitting on top of a multi-million dollar endowment. We do not have the financial reserves from which to draw to be able to repay this loan. And so therefore we’re counting on you as North Carolina Baptists to help us do this.”
To help Caraway Conference Center in Sophia expand and prepare itself for future ministry, Mark Harris, BSC president, challenged messengers to contribute to Caraway’s $7.5 million “New Beginnings Campaign.” Read more about the campaign at caraway.org/general/newbeginnings/.
Recalling experiences at Caraway that go back to when Harris was in the 7th grade, he shared how it has been part of many special times in his life – some that he referred to as “holy ground moments.”
“There is a generation coming behind us that I pray will have the same opportunities that we did,” said Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte. “That’s why we need to make decisions now. The value is eternal.”
Harris explained how if only 860 N.C. Baptist congregations – 20 percent of N.C.’s 4,300 Baptist churches – gave $8,720 to the campaign the goal would be reached. He added that over a three-year period that would break down to about $2,906 annually.
“It really can be done, even if 20 percent carry the load of 80 percent,” he said. “Because God has a way of doing His work in his way, in His time, by His will.“
On April 28, N.C. Baptists made history by building 327 wheelchair ramps in a single day in partnership with N.C. Baptist Men’s Operation Inasmuch. On that same day nearly 3,000 N.C. Baptists, more than 200 churches and 63 Baptist associations partnered together to help disabled individuals meet a physical need and hear the gospel.
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Mark Harris, president of the Baptist State Convention, encouraged messengers to the annual meeting to support Caraway Conference Center’s capital campaign.
N.C. Baptist Aging Ministry shared this report through video during the annual meeting.
Michael Ferguson, senior pastor of Greenwood Baptist Church in Thomasville, explained in the video how he helped lead James, an 85-year-old man, to Christ that day.
James asked Ferguson why people would sacrifice a Saturday to build a wheelchair ramp for a stranger.
“I said … the reason that they’re here is because they want to show you the love that God showed them in Christ,” Ferguson said.
James died about two months later after putting his trust in Jesus. Ferguson expressed his appreciation to the volunteers who helped build the ramp.
“They were the hands and feet … the avenue that opened up an opportunity for me just to come in and share the gospel.”
Embrace Women’s Ministry
Lives are also changing through women’s outreach and training, said Ashley Allen, director of BSC’s Embrace Women’s Ministry.
In recent months Embrace has hosted numerous events, such as leadership training, enrichment programs and missions trips.
“We have watched the Lord move in the lives of women across the state as they have come better to understand their role and responsibility in seeing the Great Commission being fulfilled and actively taken apart in the Lord’s command,” Allen told messengers.
Embrace hosted two leadership trainings this year – in the spring and the fall. The theme of their leadership trainings was “Worthy of the Calling.”
Through these trainings, Allen explained, women were equipped with the tools to begin ministry and continue advancing the gospel through their churches and associations. Another leadership training event is scheduled for April 11-12 in Greensboro.
Embrace led two mission trips this year – one to Moldova in May and another to New York City in September. During the four-day mission trip to New York City, a women’s team ministered to women and children in three of the city’s five boroughs.
One of those outreach efforts included teaching Bible stories in a predominately South Asian neighborhood in Queens. Another included hosting a “Henna party” among a group of women. They used Henna – body art that is popular in South Asia – to paint pictures on women’s hands. The designs tell the story of creation to Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.
“All of our team members were able to share the Lord on subways, on buses, standing in lines of stores and a variety of other conversations,” Allen said. “Each lady shared uninhibited, undaunted and unashamed.”
Great Commission Partnerships
Next summer the Office of Great Commission Partnerships for BSC plans to partner with Metrolina Baptist Association in Charlotte, Piedmont Baptist Association in Greensboro, the BSC’s Church Planting Office and the Associational Partnership Office to launch a research initiative in Greensboro and Charlotte. During the next three years, N.C. Baptists will work to identify unreached people groups living in Greensboro and Charlotte.
“We’re asking North Carolina Baptists … to join us to be mobilized for a day, a weekend, a week, to come, to pray over our cities,” said Michael Sowers, senior consultant for BSC’s Office of Great Commission Partnerships, during his report, “to identify the people groups, and partner together to take the gospel right here in North America and around the world. “
In N.C. alone, there are more than 5.6 million people who do not follow Jesus Christ, Sowers said.
“With urban populations exploding and rural populations getting less and less … God is bringing the nations right [here], right now to our state,” he said. “We do have to go across the world … but also reach the people right here.”
Sowers shared about N.C. churches committed to partnering with church planters in New York, Toronto, Moldova and Southeast Asia, where there is little evangelical work. Those churches included Dublin First Baptist Church in Dublin, Sunset Avenue Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh, Rowan Southern Baptist Association in Salisbury and Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. All are actively partnering in one or more of these areas.
“Everyone, I believe, deserves to hear the gospel at least once in their lifetime,” he said.
Discipleship in 3D
Discipleship in 2013 is also a crucial and needed element to mobilizing N.C. churches, said Lynn Sasser, executive leader for BSC’s Congregational Services. He challenged messengers during his report to look at their church in “3D.” 3D is an initiative to help N.C. churches become more effective in disciple making. It helps congregations discover, develop and deliver a disciple-making culture among them, Sasser explained.
Sasser defined a disciple-making culture as one with an atmosphere or climate of reproducing followers of Christ who order their everyday lives around their call to love God. And that results in loving others.
“Culture is a big deal,” Sasser said. “We’re all about, as a Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, helping create a disciple-making culture in North Carolina Baptist churches through which lives are changed eternally by the power of God.”
For more information about these and other ministry efforts contact the BSC at (800) 395-5102 or go to http://www.ncbaptist.org/.
For more stories from the annual meeting, visit here.