CARY — North Carolina Baptists are one month away from the annual statewide missions emphasis and the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO). This offering supports ministries that help local churches in their efforts to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. N.C. Baptist Men, mission camps, new church plants and local associations all benefit from the NCMO.
“I wish it was possible for more North Baptists to hear the amazing stories of how God is using our ministries that are funded through the NCMO to relieve hurting people and bring salvation to lost individuals,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) executive director-treasurer. “It is not possible to do all that is being done in disaster relief and the planting of international churches without the prayer and financial support North Carolina Baptists give to the NCMO.”
Mike Creswell, the BSC staffer who coordinates NCMO promotion, said, “NCMO enables North Carolina Baptists to collectively put an arm around hurting people and help in the name of Jesus Christ — not with words alone, but with substantial help — help like building a new house or giving out food.”
This year’s goal is $2.1 million. The theme for the offering and Week of Prayer Sept. 13-20 is “Love your neighbor.”
“In the second Great Commandment Jesus commanded us to ‘love your neighbor.’ There is no better way to love your North Carolina neighbors than to sacrificially give so that they can hear the life-changing message of the gospel,” said Chuck Register, executive group leader for church planting and missions development.
N.C. Baptist Men take this life-changing gospel across North Carolina, the United States and to international mission fields.
“All of our program budget comes from the NCMO,” said Richard Brunson, Baptist Men executive director-treasurer. Baptist Men are known for their work in disaster relief. Earlier this year Baptist Men volunteers, with help from 31 churches in the Johnston Baptist Association, college students and other area churches, built a new home for a family in Kenly after a tornado ripped apart their mobile home. In 2008 NC Baptist Men responded to disasters such as an ice storm in Oklahoma, floods in Iowa, and in Texas, volunteers settled for weeks to help after Hurricane Ike.
Last year more than 2,000 volunteers worked out of the Red Springs Mission Camp in Robeson County.
“Thousands of Baptist volunteers are working in a six-county area to build or repair houses, teach Bible stories to kids and share the love of Christ in many ways,” Creswell said. “The new mission camp being built this year in Shelby will provide the same kind of missions muscle there in a few months. This is a great new way to do missions and it’s your giving to the NCMO that makes it possible.”
Brunson said the NCMO helps make it possible for “North Carolina Baptists to be involved in missions wherever that takes them.” This year volunteers served with churches and ministries in Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming. Volunteers also traveled internationally to places such as Ukraine to work with a Gypsy church.
Church planting is critical to carrying out the Great Commission. A new church start is three times more effective than an existing church in reaching out to nonbelievers, and in 2008, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) helped start 108 new churches across the state. A third of the state’s population are members of an ethnic minority group, and last year the BSCNC helped start 26 new Hispanic churches and 17 new Asian churches.
“The 2009 NCMO is critical in providing ministry resources designed to reach the 4.5 million residents of North Carolina who do not have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We need every North Carolina Baptist to give both generously and sacrificially,” Register said.