The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) board of directors approved date changes to the next three annual meetings, elected an interim executive director-treasurer and heard an update on the search for a permanent executive director during a meeting held Feb. 16 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.
The board also honored outgoing executive director-treasurer (EDT) Milton A. Hollifield Jr., who is retiring on Feb. 28.
The meeting had originally been scheduled for Jan. 25-26, but was rescheduled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During the meeting, the board voted to hold BSC annual meetings in 2021, 2022 and 2023 one week earlier than originally scheduled based upon a request by the convention’s Committee on Convention Meetings. The recommendation was prompted by contractual changes initiated by representatives from the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic which resulted in a scheduling conflict.
This year’s annual meeting will now be held Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 8-9, instead of Nov. 15-16. The 2022 annual meeting will be held Nov. 7-8 instead of Nov. 14-15, and the 2023 meeting will be held Nov. 6-7 instead of Nov. 13-14. The rescheduled events will still take place at the Koury Convention Center.
Convention bylaws stipulate that the annual meeting be held beginning on the Monday following the second Sunday in November. However, the byways also authorize the board to change the time or place of the meeting in case of “emergency or unusual circumstances.”
Interim EDT and search update
The board also elected Brian Upshaw to serve as interim executive director-treasurer of the state convention effective March 1 until a permanent executive director is elected. Upshaw has served in a variety of leadership roles since joining the convention staff in Oct. 2008.
The search committee tasked with recommending Hollifield’s successor is still conducting its work, but is close to recommending an individual to the board for consideration, committee chairman Noah Crowe told the board in a brief update.
“We have been working hard and with great diligence, and we are making great progress to be able to present to you a proposed candidate very, very soon,” Crowe said.
The committee’s recommendation will be presented to the BSC’s board of directors. The BSC’s bylaws state that the board must nominate an individual to be considered for the office of executive director-treasurer during an annual meeting or a special called meeting of the convention, which requires board approval and then at least five weeks notice to North Carolina Baptist churches. The bylaws also state that additional nominations may be made from the floor of the special called meeting, and the individual receiving the majority of votes cast shall be elected executive director-treasurer.
Hollifield endowment established
State convention officials also announced the creation of the Milton and Gloria Hollifield Ministry Endowment Fund in honor of Milton and his wife, Gloria. The fund recognizes the Hollifields’ “exemplary leadership and ministry” and will provide financial support for Baptist causes in perpetuity.
The announcement came during a special retirement recognition ceremony for the Hollifields, which included video and verbal tributes from a variety of local, state and national leaders from across Baptist life.
Institutions Relationship Study Committee
Chris Griggs, pastor of Denver (N.C.) Baptist Church and chairman of the Institutions Relationship Study Committee, shared an initial update on the committee’s work with the board. The committee was formed in July 2020 and tasked with examining the relationships and funding models between the state convention and the institutions and agencies it relates with, which includes the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, the Biblical Recorder, the N.C. Baptist Foundation and N.C. Baptist Hospital.
Griggs said the committee is in the initial stages of its work and plans to present a formal report of its findings to the full board in Jan. 2022 with potential recommendations on “strengthening or reforming” those relationships.
The board also voted to authorize officials at Caraway Conference Center to begin construction on up to 16 single bedroom cabins to house more guests for events and programs. The cabins would be constructed in accordance with Caraway’s master plan that was adopted in 2010 and would be built with funds already available.
John Butler, executive leader for business services, reported that Cooperative Program (CP) and special offering receipts are off to strong starts in 2021.
Through the end of January, the state convention has received nearly $2.7 million in CP receipts, which is up 21.2% year-over-year and is 28.5% ahead of budget. Butler said those percentages will “level out” as the year goes on, but he is encouraged by the strong start to 2021 and anticipates exceeding this year’s $27 million budget if giving trends continue.
Butler also noted that giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions and the North Carolina Missions Offering are all up in January when compared with the same time period a year ago.
The convention received a total of $27.2 million in CP receipts in 2020, which was within the range of what was anticipated amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. That figure was about $3.3 million or 10.7% below last year’s $30.5 million budget, prompting the reduction to a $27 million overall budget for 2021. Despite the shortfall, the state convention still finished 2020 in the black, Butler said.
Executive Committee at-large members
The board also elected four at-large members of the executive committee. They were:
- Noah Crowe, pastor of Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church in Murphy. Crowe was nominated by Al Hood, and member of First Baptist Church of Murphy.
- Pat Kilby, pastor of First Baptist Church of Cary. Kilby was nominated by Keith Stephenson, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Rutherfordton.
- Rick Speas, pastor of Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Speas was nominated by BSC president Micheal Pardue, pastor of First Baptist Church Icard in Connelly Springs.
- Terry Stockman, associational missions strategist of the West Chowan Baptist Association and member of Meherrin Baptist Church in Murfreesboro. Stockman was nominated by James Harrington, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Moyock.
Committee on Nominations
The board approved the following individuals to serve on the Committee on Nominations.
- Karin Blanchard of Sandy Ridge Baptist Church in Hickory.
- Kris Estep of Barberville Baptist Church in Waynesville.
- Dave Heller of Hallsboro Baptist Church.
- Donald Hollifield of Coopers Gap Baptist Church in Mill Spring.
- Stan Hyon of Fayetteville Korean Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
- Jesse Watkins of Friendship Southern Baptist Church in Concord.
Dustin Mace of Buffalo Baptist Church in Shelby will serve as the committee chair.
Board president Matt Capps appointed several individuals to serve on a number of committees. They included:
Articles and Bylaws Special Committee
- Allen Murray of Centerville Baptist Church in Kelly.
- Rick Langston of The Summit Church in Durham.
- Aaron Swain of Freedom Church in Lincolnton.
Murray will serve as the committee chair.
Budget Special Committee
- Zeb Cook of Apex Baptist Church in Apex.
- Griffin Gulledge of Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville.
Cook will serve as the committee chair.
Business Services Special Committee
- Jeff Long of Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia.
- David Orcutt of Central Baptist Church in Wendell
- Keith Richardson of Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh.
- Joyce Rogers of First Baptist Church of Asheboro.
Christian Life and Public Affairs
Shirley Sells of Crosspointe Baptist Church in Concord.
The next meeting of the board of directors is scheduled for May 24-25 at Fort Caswell on Oak Island.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chad Austin is editor of communications for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)