In his final address to messengers as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), Milton A. Hollifield Jr. challenged N.C. Baptists to devote themselves to the Lord and continue working together to fulfill the Great Commission.
Hollifield’s remarks came at the conclusion of the BSC’s 190th annual meeting, held Nov. 10 at First Baptist Church of Charlotte, during which Hollifield shared five biblical admonitions with attendees. A recording of the entire address is available here and below.
First, Hollifield encouraged N.C. Baptists to “develop and strengthen your personal prayer life and fellowship with God.”
Hollifield challenged attendees to pray for revival and spiritual awakening in America, but noted that such a move of God must first begin with individual believers and the church.
“God will show up to be with you, if you will take time to show up and be with Him,” Hollifield said. “We’re not going to have the impact on the world that we want to have until we see the work of the Spirit of God within the church.”
Second, Hollifield challenged N.C. Baptists to “integrate the Word of God into your life and in your ministry.”
Regular Bible reading, study and application is what results in spiritual growth and maturity, Hollifield said.
Third, Hollifield called on N.C. Baptists to “grow in your love for God so He can love others through you.”
A deep love of the Lord will affect how we love others, especially those who are different from us, Hollifield said.
Recalling a portion of his address made at the 2018 BSC annual meeting, Hollifield reminded attendees that “we cannot reserve our compassion and love for only those who deserve it because the God we serve loves every person.”
Fourth, Hollifield challenged N.C. Baptists to “magnify the gospel and make disciples.”
Hollifield said the Great Commission doesn’t stop with leading someone to Christ, but it also involves ongoing discipleship.
“I challenge you to reinvest your life in someone else and teach them to become spiritually mature believers,” Hollifield said.
He also pleaded with parents and grandparents to take responsibility for the spiritual development of their children and grandchildren.
Finally, Hollifield encouraged N.C. Baptists to “cooperate together for advancing God’s kingdom.”
Hollifield praised the work of local churches, associations, state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention, adding that cooperating with other believers in missions is “second nature” for Southern Baptists.
“I ask that you continue to cooperate together,” Hollifield said.
Prior to his address, Hollifield was lauded as a man of prayer, conviction, character and integrity as part of a special recognition ceremony of his life and ministry.
Hollifield is retiring as the BSC’s 14th executive director-treasurer on Feb. 28, 2021. He has served as N.C. Baptists’ top executive for more than 14 years and has served on the state convention staff for more than 27 years overall. Hollifield’s ministry also includes stints as a church staff member, pastor and director of missions of the Gaston Baptist Association in Gastonia, N.C.
The service included a series of in-person and video testimonials from family, friends, colleagues and leaders from across North Carolina and Southern Baptist life.
A framed letter presented to Hollifield on behalf of International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood summarized the many expressions of appreciation that were shared.
“Your service to Christ and His bride is worthy of double honor,” Chitwood wrote.
Hollifield and his wife, Gloria, were joined at the event by their son, Judd, daughter-in-law, Jamie, and grandsons, Stewart and Avery.
In remarks to messengers, Judd Hollifield called his dad a “man after God’s own heart” whose life is a “blueprint for what a godly life looks like.”
“That’s why my dad is my hero,” Judd Hollifield said.
Milton Hollifield called it an “honor” to serve the pastors, churches and associations of the BSC and thanked N.C. Baptists for their prayers for him and the convention.
“The good things that are happening in this convention is because people are praying” Hollifield said.
Hollifield also called Gloria his “colleague” in ministry, who loved to visit churches and minister alongside him.
Recalling remarks made when he was installed as executive director-treasurer in April 2006, Hollifield said he has sought to involve more people in missions and evangelism while working to unify others around the gospel throughout his tenure. Hollifield thanked N.C. Baptists for their prayers and support of his God-given vision 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.”
Under his leadership, Hollifield led the state convention to increase its support of missions through the Cooperative Program and special missions offerings, which have risen to the highest levels in BSC history in recent years. North Carolina has also become one of the leading supporters of North American and international missions through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, respectively.
Additionally, Hollifield led the convention to implement an ongoing statewide strategy focused on “impacting lostness through disciple-making.” The strategy was adopted in 2013, implemented in 2014 and reaffirmed in 2019.
“We give God glory for all the wonderful things He has done, is doing and will do,” Hollifield said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chad Austin is editor of communications for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)