Spiritual awakening, the 2013 budget and stories of God’s work around the state and globe were among the hot topics during a Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Board of Directors meeting at Caraway Conference Center in Sophia.
Other issues discussed included the Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, Hollifield Leadership Center and a scheduling change for the 2015 annual meeting. The board also heard challenges to increase their Cooperative Program (CP) giving by one percent.
Noting the struggling economy and deteriorating moral values in today’s nation, Milton Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, contended the time to pray for a spiritual awakening is now.
Hollifield’s challenge comes as this year’s annual meeting is only a few weeks away. This year’s annual meeting theme is “Awaken,” and many N.C. churches are participating this month in BSC’s call for 30 days of prayer.
“[The annual meeting] could be a crossroads for us,” Hollifield told the board Sept. 25-26.
“It’s an important time for us to have an experience of spiritual awakening,” he said. “We want to see God move and do something unique and do something special at the state convention this year.”
Noting the ongoing economic challenges, the board approved a proposed Cooperative Program budget – $33.5 million – that does not include an increase over last year’s budget.
But for the eighth year, it will 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. Messengers will vote on the budget during the annual meeting.
Cooperative Program receipts through August 31 totaled $19,712,090.39, a decrease compared to where it was around this time last year.
The N.C. Missions Offering was reported to be at 601,632.29, about 4 percent lower than around this time last year. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering was at $5, 414,722.47, about 2 percent ahead. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was at $9,420,076.3, a 2 percent decrease.
During the meeting, pastors and church leaders were challenged to increase their church’s Cooperative Program (CP) giving by one percent.
BR photo by Shawn Hendricks
Members of the Board of Directors for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina gather around convention staff to pray for them during their meeting at Caraway Sept. 25-26.
The “1% Challenge” initially came from SBC Executive Committee president Frank Page during the 2011 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. The purpose of the challenge is to help provide more resources for ministry and advance the gospel around the globe.
For the past seven years, the Baptist State Convention’s CP budget has shifted a greater percentage of ministry dollars to the SBC to help with international and North American missions and SBC seminaries.
Stan Welch, chairman of the board’s budget committee and pastor of West Asheville Baptist Church challenged pastors and others in the room to consider how their churches could individually make an impact.
“During tough economic times, if we remain the same in our giving percentage, then the actual dollar amount we give to missions is down,” said Stan Welch, chairman of the board’s budget committee.
“Just imagine if all [of] our 4,300 churches increased their giving by one percent. That would mean an additional $6 million each year for ministry and missions efforts. This would result in $3.9 million additional for North Carolina ministries and $2.1 million for SBC ministries.”
“You can count on us at First Baptist Charlotte,” Mark Harris, the church’s pastor and president of the Baptist State Convention, told the board. “We don’t want to ask you to do anything we won’t do.”
Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute
At the request of Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute’s board, the BSC Board of Directors voted down a motion made from the floor earlier this year. The motion requested that the convention wave the debt owed by Fruitland for the expansion of the school’s chapel.
“We appreciate the motion and the sentiment behind that, but as president of Fruitland, I want to tell you we take the obligation for this debt very seriously,” said Fruitland’s president David Horton. “We believe it’s a matter of integrity that we repay the debt that we owe.”
Though Horton acknowledged the school has encountered its share of economic challenges, he said he wants the school to remain in good standing with the convention.
“I also want to be totally honest and say, ‘We do need your help,’” he said. “We need your help as churches and pastors and board members in order to repay this debt in the middle of those difficult times.”
Instead of eliminating the debt, the board approved a proposal from Fruitland’s board of directors to help promote a special 18-month “One in a Million” fundraising campaign to pay off the debt. The concept behind the campaign is if 1,000 donors pledged $1,000 then $1 million dollars would be raised for Fruitland. The campaign will kick off in January 2013, and churches will be encouraged to take up a special offering next October.
During the report, Horton also announced that this fall the school is launching online classes and has satellite campuses across the state, including Hispanic classes in Wilmington, Statesville, Winston-Salem and Sylva. He also noted the school is taking steps to explore accreditation.
Hollifield Leadership Center
The board approved a recommendation from the Business Services Committee to cease full-time operations at the Hollifield Leadership Center as of Dec. 31 if it has not sold by then.
As a result, three full-time employees and one part-time worker – most of whom have already lined up future employment possibilities– will lose their positions at the end of the year. The board did vote to continue employing one person full-time to help maintain the property until it is sold. At the first of next year, if the property has not sold, additional needs will be taken care of on a contract basis and the center will open only on weekends.
The asking price for the property is currently $2.7 million, reported Jimmy Adams, chairman of the Business Services Committee.
“We hope to have something to report to the executive committee soon,” Adams said. “We are hopeful for a good amount that can be used to further the business and ministry of North Carolina Baptists.”
2015 annual meeting
The board approved a motion to change the dates of the 2015 annual meeting from Nov. 9-10 to Nov. 2-3. This will allow the meeting to be held in the Koury Convention Center. According to convention bylaws, the annual meeting should begin the Monday after the second Sunday in November, but the center is unavailable for those days.
One director mentioned that the new dates could interfere with voting and those who work at the polls that year. Michael Barrett, president of the Board of Directors and pastor of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, encouraged those with similar concerns to consider early voting and other scheduling adjustments for that day.
Great Commission Partnerships
Michael Sowers, senior consultant for BSC’s Office of Great Commission Partnerships, shared what God is doing throughout N.C. Baptists in New York, Boston and Toronto.
He mentioned Warlicks Baptist Church in Connelly Springs sent 41 people this summer to help a church planter in New York with an outreach event. Through their help, 31 people received Christ as their Savior.
“That’s what God is doing in New York,” Sowers said, noting he could share similar stories about work in Boston and Toronto.
“God is calling and raising up in North Carolina … churches, just like yours, to go to places like New York City [and] partner with our church planters there to make a difference with the gospel.
“Everyone in this world deserves at least [one] chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Sowers encouraged pastors to participate in vision tours scheduled for next year. Trips are scheduled for New York, April 18-19, Aug. 22-23; Boston, April 23-24, Sept. 17-18; and Toronto, May 13-15, Nov. 4-6. Those interested in participating are encouraged to contact Sowers at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5654, or at [email protected]; visit www.ncbaptist.org/gcp.
North Carolina Baptist Men
N.C. Baptist Men volunteers have provided 780 meals in recovery efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Isaac in August.
Throughout 2012, volunteers have responded to 12 disaster relief efforts. Through Transform 122, sponsored by N.C. Baptist Men and the convention’s collegiate ministry, students have served in New York, South Africa, Kenya and Cuba. Students served at the Shelby and Red Springs mission camps in N.C. About 1,600 people also served during 14 weeks of Deep Impact youth camps.
Baptist Children’s Homes
President Michael Blackwell asked N.C. Baptists to continue praying for and supporting the offering.
The Baptist Children’s Homes also coordinates the N.C. Baptist Aging Ministry. That ministry is launching a new outreach to N.C. pastors age 65 and older. For more information, call (877) 506-2226.
Cookbooks for Wounded Warriors
Larry Jones, senior consultant for the convention’s military/chaplaincy ministry, made a request for 400 Baptist church cookbooks. The books will be provided for the Wounded Warriors Project and families who have moved into a new facility – and other facilities – at Fort Bragg.
“I need 400 cookbooks between now and Christmas,” Jones said, noting that some church members may have a box of old church cookbooks that they’d like to donate.
“We want to put cookbooks in places that wounded warriors and their families can be reminded that churches across North Carolina believe in them and love them and want them to hear about the Lord that we serve.”
For more information, contact Jones at (919) 467-5100, ext. 5670, or at [email protected].