Next week at the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, officers will be elected to serve us for the next year. Two men are expected to be nominated for the office of president: Bobby Blanton, pastor of Lake Norman Baptist Church in Huntersville, and C.J. Bordeaux, pastor of Gorman Baptist Church in Durham, have announced their candidacy. The Biblical Recorder produced a video with these two candidates’ responses to questions related to their leadership. The video is posted on BRnow.org for your viewing.
The office of first vice-president is uncontested at this time. Timmy Blair, pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Angier is the lone candidate. He is currently serving as the convention’s second vice president.
Two men have also announced their intentions to be nominated for the office of second vice president. Marc Sanders, pastor of Sandy Branch Baptist Church in Bear Creek, and Cameron McGill, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dublin, are seeking the office. We asked these men to answer three questions in order to give N.C. Baptists a better introduction into their lives and ministries.
Please take a few minutes to learn about each candidate as you prepare to cast your vote next Tuesday, November 12 in Greensboro.
Do you believe in the vision of the Baptist State Convention of N.C.?
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with the stated vision of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) to become the greatest force in the history of our convention to reach people with the life-saving gospel of the Lord Jesus. I am excited about the potential of our new strategy to impact lostness across North Carolina.
However, I am concerned about the implementation of this new strategy in some very important areas. First, I fear that church planting will overshadow the even more pressing need of church revitalization. Our churches are dying at rates many are frightened to admit. Thom Rainer stated last year that he would not be surprised if 8,000 to 10,000 churches closed in America this year alone. Where can we find the continuing support to plant new churches if our existing churches are actively dying in overwhelming numbers? Hence, the great need for serious church revitalization.
Now, my concern should not be seen as opposition to church planting, Sandy Branch is very active in church planting, particularly among the Montagnard community in North Carolina. I realize that much like the federal debt, eventually things are going to catch up to us if we do not take corrective actions immediately.
Secondly, I believe that it is essential to the success of reaching these eight areas of increased lostness that the creation and expansion of compassion ministries as stressed by Jesus in Matthew 25 as well as in James 2 are emphasized. Unfortunately, I have yet to see such an emphasis presented in the strategy.
North Carolina’s increased urban populations are placing heavy strains on government to meet basic needs, especially within the immigrant community. Who better to fill this vacuum and share the visible manifestation of God’s love than the church? Such ministries would promote the work of ethnic church plants, which is where the majority of our church planting should be focused while emphasizing discipleship through service in existing churches.
Additionally, these ministries would allow younger Christians – which studies suggest are most concerned with being Christ to the world than simply pew sitting – a place to serve as well as being an attractive starting point in reaching others in the Millennial generation.
How can you help N.C. Baptists as second vice president?
I believe I can help strengthen our convention by being a voice first for those issues I raised in question one, as stronger churches make for a stronger convention.
Secondly, so many pastors I talk to sense a growing separation within the convention between large and small congregations with the smaller congregations being left behind. I serve a small church and know full well the joys and trials of serving in such an environment. I want to be a voice for those smaller churches across our state that love the Lord and simply want to be enabled to do greater Kingdom service. I fear the needs and concerns of the small church are getting lost in too much of our convention work.
Also, I want to be a champion of the Cooperative Program (CP). I am proud to serve a church that sends 12% of our undesignated gifts to the CP and have honestly grown weary of the fact that so many of our leaders do not lead the way in CP giving. It is a travesty that across North Carolina we have small churches that consistently give more to CP than their larger counterparts.
Now, I certainly understand that many churches are doing wonderful ministry with the funds that they could be sending to CP and I applaud their efforts. However, if CP is to remain the primary vehicle by which we fund Southern Baptist missions and ministries then we should either expect our leaders to fully do their part or scrap the whole program.
Let us not be ignorant of the fact that increased CP giving means more foreign missionaries, more church plants, stronger seminaries and most importantly, the potential to reach even more with the awesome gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I desperately want to see God’s Kingdom expanded and I believe a stronger convention enables stronger churches and that’s why I am running.
How is your church involved in BSC/SBC and other kingdom work?
Sandy Branch is very active in Baptist life. We are blessed to contribute 22% of our budget to missions including 12% to the Cooperative Program and 6% to the Sandy Creek Baptist Association. We participate in the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings.
Our 5/52 Campaign has generated over $20,000 to church planting over the last three years. We are active supporters of church planting in the Montagnard community in North Carolina. North Carolina’s Montagnard population is second only to their native Vietnam.
We also work with a church plant in Euclid, Ohio through NAMB’s SEND Cleveland initiative. Our Kentucky Hope Box project is coordinated through NAMB’s Appalachian Regional Ministry and next year will expand to seven schools and gospel presentations to over 2,200 elementary and middle school students.
Our HOPE (Help Out Public Education) Project feeds 47 hungry elementary school children each weekend, provides supplies to teachers and students both locally and in Kentucky, created a prom dress ministry in poverty stricken Coeburn, Virginia, and has opened multiple doors to share the gospel to the next generation. We have recently begun ministries to assist in curable disease eradication and increased education initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa as well ending human trafficking in North Carolina. We are a small church with a big heart and vision for winning the world for Jesus.
Cameron L. McGill
Do you believe in the vision of the Baptist State Convention of N.C.?
I love the work of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) and am excited about the direction we are heading. The emphasis on Great Commission partnerships and Milton Hollifield’s strategy for impacting lostness in N.C. are sending out the message across the state, the nation and the world that North Carolina Baptists are serious about passionately pursuing the core biblical principles for evangelism and discipleship. The benefits of these new strategies are sure to be far reaching and will impact our generation with the gospel of Christ.
I believe in, and desire to come along side of Brother Milton that, “By God’s grace, we will become the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I am also very involved in the work of the Bladen Baptist Association. Led by our director of missions, Rev. Bruce Cannon, our association is setting the standard, I believe, for impacting our local community through hands on ministry and evangelism. I see the work of the local association as not only vital, but paramount in the days ahead. I believe associations must become the link connecting pastors, churches and the work of the BSC as a whole. Fulfilling Brother Milton’s vision will take cooperation between the local church, association and the state convention.
I would never have imagined 20 years ago when I attended my first annual meeting that one day I would be so involved in the work of the convention. I am so thankful for the godly leadership he has assembled for such a time as this – leaders who affirm the inerrancy of scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish all we could ask for or even imagined! What we have witnessed in the past two decades is nothing short of a revival, both within our state convention and the Biblical Recorder as well.
My favorite catch phrase over the past few years concerning the work of the BSC has been and will continue to be: “The best days of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina are still ahead.”
2. How can you help N.C. Baptists as second vice president?
After much prayer and discernment, I made the decision to allow my name to be placed in nomination for second vice president of the BSC. At age 39, I consider myself to be a “next generation pastor” with a heart for traditional pastoral ministry and a vision to reach the world with the gospel of Christ using contemporary methodology. I believe this is at the very heart of our convention leadership as well.
When I was elected to the Board of Directors of the BSC six years ago, little did I know what a transforming experience it would be. At each meeting, my eyes were opened to and my heart touched by the work of the many agencies, institutions and departments of the convention. I realized that never before were there so many opportunities for churches to “plug into” areas of missions and ministry as there are today. Now, I want every pastor and church to get more involved in the BSC.
I have come to understand that “the more we know, the more we go.” The more involved I have become in the BSC, the more kingdom work my church has been a part of. Our church is more involved than ever before in the BSC and I believe this is due to my time spent serving our convention in the various capacities where God has allowed me to serve (Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Christian Social Services Committee, NCBAM, NC Baptist Children’s Homes, etc.).
I believe that serving as an officer of the convention would afford me the opportunity to share the work of our convention with pastors and churches of all shapes and sizes and encourage them to get personally involved. We are a rural church in a town of 250 residents. However, we are involved in kingdom work on a very large scale. I want to encourage pastors to look beyond their (perceived) limitations and realize that these are days of boundless opportunities for all North Carolina Baptists to fulfill the Great Commission as we do missions “here, there and everywhere.”
I would count it a great honor to serve as an ambassador taking the message of the BSC across the state. I believe that more churches will get involved if they are made aware of all of the possibilities available to them through the BSC.
Ultimately, my decision to run for second vice president was one based on my deep love for the Lord and for the BSC, as well as my faith that God has a great plan for N.C. Baptists. I want to be a part of the kingdom work that is ahead for the BSC.
3. How is your church involved in the BSC/SBC and other kingdom work?
It has been my privilege to pastor the First Baptist Church of Dublin for the past 13 years. In our time here, we have seen the Lord lead us to embrace a vision for ministry and missions – “here, there, and everywhere” (Acts 1:8). We are involved in local missions through “Operation 19K” reaching the 19,000 un-churched citizens of Bladen County with the gospel of Christ. We are also participating in missions throughout N.C., America and internationally. Our challenge for 2013 at Dublin First Baptist was for each member to take part in a mission "experience" across town, across the state, across the nation or across the world. Our people accepted this challenge and have truly become a people on mission for the Lord in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
Thanks to the informative work of the office of Great Commission Partnerships – under the leadership of Chuck Register and Mike Sowers – Dublin First Baptist adopted two churches in the past two years – one in Queens, N.Y. and the other in Vadul Lui Isac, Moldova. These partnerships have changed my life, my family and our church in ways that can only be described by saying “Ephesians 3:20.” God has done so much more, abundantly more than anything we could have ever imagined.
God has blessed Dublin FBC with 468 additions in the past 13 years. In a town of only 250 residents, this has been a true miracle of God. We have taken many bold steps of faith in our tenure here to begin new ministries to reach our community, the latest of which will be the launching of a second campus 15 miles away in White Lake, N.C. next Easter.
I see myself as a conservative pastor with a passion to reach the lost and teach the saved. I believe it's not enough to just believe in the inerrancy of the Word, but we must live out what we believe if we're going to radically impact this world for Christ.
I believe that the Cooperative Program is the single most effective plan of giving and support the work of the Southern Baptist Convention in every way. In my tenure as the pastor of Dublin First Baptist, we have increased our missions giving by over 400%. In addition, we financially support our partner churches in New York and Moldova. Dublin First Baptist participates in the annual offerings of our convention (Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, North Carolina Missions Offering [NCMO], & N.C. Baptist Children’s Homes). We also fund numerous mission trips throughout the year as we want our people not only to be a “giving church,” but a “going church” as well.