After weeks – and even months – of focused prayer and a call for spiritual awakening, this year’s 182nd annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) ended with 34 North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionaries being sent out to plant churches in some of the least evangelized areas of the country and Canada.
This year’s meeting was held Nov. 12-13 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex Special Events Center and drew a crowd of 1,889 – which was made up of 1,605 messengers, 284 visitors and 762 churches. The number of messengers was slightly down from last year’s count of 1,700, but there was an increase of the 138 visitors from the year before.
This year’s annual meeting theme was Awaken, based on Romans 13.
On the opening night, many people fell to their knees – some face down on a concrete floor – in prayer. Much of the routine business was merely a side note to a meeting focused on spiritual renewal, prayer and missions.
“Our time together in Greensboro … has been the object of much prayer,” Mark Harris, president of the BSC and pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, told the crowd. During the month of October, in response to the request of the convention, some N.C. Baptists set aside time to pray daily for the upcoming meeting.
“We’ve been praying that hearts would be awakened,” he said, noting that coordinators sought to make this year’s event “unlike any annual meeting.”
“They sense the Holy Spirit calling North Carolina Baptists to action.”
Brad O’Brien, a former intern at The Summit Church in Durham, shared how he and his wife, Jenna Marie, who have two daughters, will serve as NAMB church planters in Baltimore.
“We’re going into a city that is less than 9 percent evangelical,” he said. “We’re asking for God to open doors for us that we couldn’t open for ourselves.”
In addition to the commissioning service and ministry reports, messengers did tend to a variety of business.
Messengers approved a proposed 2013 Cooperative Program budget of $33.5 million, which is not an increase over the year before.
“Our year to date receipts are significantly under the $33,500,000 approved budget for 2012,” said Stan Welch, chair of the Board of Director’s budget committee. “We felt it would be unwise to increase the budget at this point.”
For the eighth year, however, the budget did include a one-half percent increase of the allocation that will go to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This will bring the SBC allocation to 36 percent.
To accommodate an increase to the SBC in 2013, messengers approved a 3 percent decrease for most of the institutions and agencies of the BSC. Exceptions included the Baptist Children’s Homes and Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, which will receive the same allocation as they did the year before. The 3 percent decrease did include N.C. scholarship programs.
BR photo by Shawn Hendricks
During the missionary commissioning Nov. 12, messengers came forward surrounding missionaries and their families. They had a concentrated time of prayer for them and their ministry.
Messengers also approved a 2 percent cost of living increase for the convention staff. To offset the increase, convention team leaders will reduce program budgets by 3 to 5 percent for the upcoming year. The 2013 N.C. Missions Offering goal and allocations remain unchanged from 2012.
Messengers were challenged to increase their Cooperative Program giving by 1 percent.
Welch noted that since 2006, N.C. Baptists have shifted a greater percentage of the budget to international missions, North American missions and to the six Southern Baptist seminaries, which includes Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.
The budget allocation for the SBC has increased every year for the past seven years from 27.08 percent in 2006 to 35.5 percent in 2012.
During the same period, the budget allocation for N.C. ministries has increased from 34.8 percent in 2006 to 39 percent in 2012, Welch reported.
The increase in funding for N.C. ministries, he said, has allowed N.C. Baptists to increase support for church planting in the state 90 percent from 2006 to 2012. As a result in 2012, more than $1.5 million was allocated for church planting in N.C. Support for the Baptist Children’s Homes has also been increased by 31 percent over the same period of time.
“But there is a problem,” Welch said. “The Cooperative Program budget pie has been shrinking from 36.4 million in 2006 to 33.5 million in 2012 – nearly 3 million less for ministry.”
A 1 percent-of-budget Cooperative Program increase by all 4,300 Southern Baptist churches in the state would help solve the problem by providing $6 million per year in additional dollars for "Kingdom ministry." Welch said that would equate to an additional $3.9 million for N.C. ministries, and $2.1 million for the Southern Baptist Convention each year.
“Our state convention’s church planting team could help start 26 more churches across North Carolina each year, helping to reach 5.6 million lost residents of our state with the message of the gospel,” Welch said.
“The Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina could provide for an additional 155 children who need to know of God’s unfailing love.”
This year messengers approved a resolution calling for the pursuit of holiness. Messengers voted down a proposed amendment to the resolution that called for churches to support their pastors in taking a stand against cohabitation before marriage.
To read the resolution, go to http://www.brnow.org/News/October-2012/Resolution-on-pursuit-of-holiness.
Proposals and amendments
Messengers approved three recommendations from the Board of Directors Articles and Bylaws Committee to amend the bylaws of the convention.
The first motion, presented by committee chairman Bartley Wooten, involved amendments to two sections of a bylaw that addressed qualifications of non-board members serving on special committees of the board of directors. The motion limited the service of non-board members to a single place of service.
The second motion involved changing the bylaws to reflect the title change of North Carolina Baptist Hospital’s School of Pastoral Care to the Division of Faith and Health Ministries.
According to the amendment, the change will not impact the relationship between N.C. Baptist Hospital and the Convention.
The third approved motion was a series of proposed amendments that clarified inconsistencies involving the work of the Committee on Nominations. The amendment addresses how to handle situations involving individuals who are unable to complete a full term of service. To read the entire recommendation go to http://www.brnow.org/News/October-2012/Summary-of-proposed-amendments-to-bylaws.
Messengers also approved amended and restated articles of incorporation and bylaws for the Biblical Recorder.
Gerald Hodges, chair of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Recorder, explained the purpose of the changes were to make the documents consistent with those of the Baptist State Convention, bring them into line with N.C. nonprofit corporation law, and to reconcile them with current day-to-day operations of the Biblical Recorder.
The three top leaders for the BSC were re-elected Nov. 13 to their respective posts for 2013.
All three ran unopposed.
Messengers re-elected Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, as BSC president. Harris was nominated by Marty Jacumin, pastor of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh.
C.J. Bordeaux, pastor of Gorman Baptist Church in Durham, was re-elected as first vice president. Bobby Blanton, pastor of Lake Norman Baptist Church in Huntersville, nominated Bordeaux.
Scott Faw, pastor of Moon’s Chapel Baptist Church in Siler City, re-nominated Timmy D. Blair Sr., pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist in Angier, as second vice president.
Next year’s annual meeting will be held Nov. 11-12 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.
For more stories from the annual meeting, visit here.