The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) 2020 annual meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 1-5 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., following a vote of the convention’s board of directors.
The board voted unanimously to change the time and place of this year’s annual meeting during an abbreviated meeting held Sept. 28 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro. The state convention’s bylaws authorize the board to change the time or place of the annual meeting or cancel the meeting in the event of “emergency or unusual circumstances.”
The board also approved a recommended Cooperative Program (CP) budget for 2021 totaling $27 million that will now go before messengers at the annual meeting for consideration.
The change to the annual meeting was brought to the board based on a recommendation from the convention’s executive committee to hold a one-day meeting that will include times of worship, preaching, ministry reports and business sessions. The program will also include a special recognition for Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr., who is retiring Feb. 28, 2021.
Convention officials said the annual meeting will follow social distancing protocols, and registration for messengers and guests will take place online this year. More information regarding annual meeting logistics and registration will be made available in the coming days at ncannualmeeting.org.
The annual meeting had previously been scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 9-10, at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Faced with uncertainties related to statewide executive orders limiting attendance at indoor gatherings due to COVID-19, state convention leaders canceled its contract with the Koury Center in early August and began exploring alternative options for the annual meeting. The BSC incurred no penalties for canceling the contract.
The board also gave unanimous approval to a recommended 2021 CP budget totaling $27 million, which represents a $3.5 million reduction from the current budget. The board also approved a “challenge budget” for 2021, which would allocate 50% of any funds received in excess of $27 million to the Southern Baptist Convention and 50% to BSC ministry groups.
The board also approved a $2.1 million goal for the 2021 North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), with no change in allocations.
The overall budget, challenge budget, and NCMO offering goal and allocations had previously been endorsed by the convention’s executive committee. The measures will now go before messengers at this year’s annual meeting for consideration.
John Butler, BSC executive leader for business services, said the state convention’s budget picture had improved slightly during the summer.
Through the end of August, the convention has received more than $17.7 million in CP gifts, Butler said. While that figure is still about 13.5% below budget and down about 6.9% year-over-year, CP giving was up a bit over the past two months.
At the end of June, total gifts were about 15.8% behind budget and down about 7.8% year-over-year, respectively.
“We thought we would be down a bit over the summer, but we are pleased with where we are,” Butler said, adding that the convention continues to operate in the black.
In other business, the board elected new officers, approved three appointees to Fruitland Baptist Bible College’s board of directors, recognized outgoing board members for their service and heard a variety of ministry updates. Board committees also elected new chairpersons.
New officers elected
Matt Capps, senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, was elected as the board president for 2021. Capps currently serves as the board vice president.
Casey Norkett, missions pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, was elected as the board vice president. Angela Kilby was re-elected as board secretary.
Fruitland board members
The board also approved three individuals who were recommended to serve on the board of directors of Fruitland Baptist Bible College. They were:
- Ryan Bennett, pastor of Cross Memorial Baptist Church in Marion.
- Danny Hendren, a deacon at Three Forks Baptist Church in Taylorsville.
- Brandon Ware, pastor of Green Street Baptist Church in High Point.
Committee chairs elected
Board committees also elected new chairs for 2021. They were:
- Timmy Blair (Business Services Special Committee).
- James Harrington (Communications Committee).
- Charlie Martin (Evangelism and Discipleship Committee).
- Keith Stephenson (Convention Relations Special Committee).
- Travis Suits (Church Planting and Missions Partnerships Committee).
- Steven Wade (Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee).
The chairpersons of each committee also serve on the convention’s executive committee.
EDT search update
Board member Noah Crowe, chair of the executive director-treasurer search committee, asked board members for continued prayers as the committee continues its work. Crowe reminded the board that the deadline to submit names of individuals for consideration as the next executive director-treasurer is Wednesday, Sept. 30. Recommendations may be submitted to Crowe at [email protected].
Study committee announced
Board President Melanie Wallace announced members of a study committee that will examine the “relationships and funding models” between the convention and institutions and agencies that currently receive CP support. The board approved the formation of the study group at the July meeting and authorized Wallace and Capps to appoint members. Named to the committee were:
- Chris Griggs (chair), pastor of Denver Baptist Church in Denver, N.C.
- Katherine Batchelor, a layperson from Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell.
- Jeff Isenhour, pastor of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
- Marisa Ivester, a pastor’s wife from Faith Baptist Church in Durham.
- Micheal Pardue, pastor of First Baptist Church Icard in Connelly Springs.
- Joel Stephens, associated pastor of discipleship at Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe.
- Jordon Willard, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Tarboro.
The Biblical Recorder and the North Carolina Baptist Foundation are agencies of the convention, and the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina and the North Carolina Baptist Hospital are institutions of the convention.
New resources for pastors, churches
During Hollifield’s executive director-treasurer’s address, several convention staff members shared updates related to ways the convention has continued to serve pastors and churches throughout the pandemic.
Sandy Marks, team leader for the Church Health and Revitalization team, shared how convention staff are coming together to place an emphasis on pastoral health. He noted that convention staff are in the midst of trying to call every N.C. Baptist pastor in the state to encourage and pray with them. The convention engaged in a similar effort at the outset of COVID-19.
Marks also said convention leaders are developing additional programs to assist pastors that would include pulpit supply, working with churches to assist pastors and congregations develop sabbatical packages, providing retreat opportunities, as well as other resources.
Brian Upshaw, who leads the BSC’s Disciple-Making team, also announced a new resource called “Reimagine” for church leaders who continue to work through the impact and effects of COVID-19 on their ministries. In announcing the resource, Upshaw represented a cross-divisional team of convention staff who worked together on the project.
The “Reimagine” project seeks to help apply New Testament principles to present-day modes of church practice, Upshaw said. The newly launched website includes resources, videos and other tools for every area of local church ministry.
Board members honored
Hollifield recognized and thanked 20 outgoing board members who had completed their terms of service.
They were: Grant Atkins, Chris Benfield, Della Brindley, Walter Brooks, Robert Brown, Cail Elliott, James Felty, Bill Fryar, Troy Grant, Ron Greene, Wayne Harrifeld, Pat Hash, Kelton Hinton, Al James, Bob Jordan, Randy Locklear, Jon Morris, Josh Phillips, Tracy Smith, and Melanie Wallace.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chad Austin is editor of communications for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)