North Carolina Baptists are not alone in losing sight of their primary objective.
Just like the people in Ephesus, Greg Mathis says Paul’s words are relevant to N.C. Baptists. He was calling the people back to their primary objective: spreading the gospel.
“They had forgotten that God loved everyone,” said Mathis, pastor of Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville. “When it comes to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ it is unfortunate that we even have to ask,” he said, referring to the “All In” theme of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) annual meeting Nov. 7-8. The two–day meeting brought together messengers from across the state to make decisions about BSC business and to discuss the “All In” theme, which centered around 1 Timothy 2:3-6.
“Sadly some Christians choose the sin of silence,” Mathis said. He said messengers are living in a “society that believes all religions lead to the same God.” A clear message rings out through scripture for believers to not let other religions be more aggressive.
Jesus’ life and death became a conduit for God’s forgiveness for sinners.
“Shouldn’t we be ‘All In’ to get the message out,” Mathis emphasized.
At each session there was a speaker and someone who led messengers in prayer focused around the theme.
Mathis spoke during the first session Nov. 7. Bartley Wooten, pastor of Beulaville Baptist Church, led the prayer time. Wooten called messengers to pray:
• For harvest for those who do not know Christ.
• For workers.
• That God will give us a heart of compassion.
Wooten had messengers pair off for prayer and asked God to “break our hearts for the lost. “Lord please use this great convention to bring glory and honor to your name.”
Clinton Pressley, senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, led off the first session Nov. 8 addressing how God reveals Himself in scripture beyond general revelation to specific revelation.
“[Jesus] rose again to convince them to be ‘All In’,” Pressley said.
“Christ is the avenue that God speaks. He didn’t just forgive our sins. He purified us. He’s not only taken our sin away, He’s taken the stain away.
“Because He is ‘All In,’ I am ‘All In.’”
Pam Blume, who works with BSC’s Embrace Women’s ministry and is the wife of Biblical Recorder Editor K. Allan Blume, led messengers in prayer through Psalm 67:1-3, emphasizing four separate elements:
• Praise Him for His graciousness
• Thank Him for the blessings we have already received
• Ask that He may look on us with favor
• Commit ourselves to see His salvation among all the nations beginning here in North Carolina.
“It is our Father’s desire that all will come to know Him,” Blume said.
Merrie Johnson, who works in student evangelism at the convention, brought sand from Fort Caswell, North Carolina’s Baptist Assembly on Oak Island.
She leads the youth weeks each summer at Caswell, which this year focused on identity.
“As I walk that beach every summer I love to look back to see my footprints,” Johnson said, sharing that everyone likes to leave “an impression that lasts.”
Johnson, who is celebrating her 10th anniversary at the Convention, said around 74,000 students have been to Caswell during her tenure.
Of those, over 7,500 are now Christians and 45,000 recommitments have been made. More than 2,000 have expressed some sort of call to ministry.
“It’s not about me,” she said. “It’s about God working in and through me.”
Johnson led youth to focus on packaging food for Haiti.
The goal was to raise $40,000 and have youth pack 160,000 meals.
Instead, the youth raised $60,000 and packed 220,225 meals.
“That’s a go-God thing,” Johnson said.
Next year, the goal is 300,000 meals.
“What kind of impression do you leave?” Johnson queried.
“All together, all of us in, we can do amazing things. It’s about God working in and through us.”
Jairo Contreras, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Cristo Vive and New Hope Baptist Church, said his members like to pray.
“We should be praying with a clean heart and a pure mind,” said Contreras.
“If God receives us He will receive our prayers.”
Al James, professor of missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Carey Baptist Church in Henderson, urged messengers to cry out for the nations. James said being “All In” was not a joking matter, “or are we playing spiritual cards while people are doing without the gospel and going to hell?”
Referring to Romans 9:1-3, James said, “If Paul was willing to give up his salvation, there was nothing he was not willing to sacrifice.”
Closing out the final theme highlight with prayer, Brad Lynch, pastor of North Albemarle Baptist Church, focused on John 17:20-26.
He asked messengers to focus on unity.
“Is there anyone that you are not one with,” Lynch asked.
“I pray for a holy, spiritually infused oneness.”