The Biblical Recorder dedicated eight pages of most recent print issue to recognize Milton Hollifield’s 10th anniversary as executive director-treasurer (EDT) of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). He was elected and installed in a called meeting of the convention April 11, 2006.
We believe Baptists in our state need to reflect on the way God has worked in the life of leaders and give thanks for those He has chosen to serve us. Good leaders take a lot of heat and unfair criticism. It comes with the territory. So it is important to balance the voices of the critics with the voices of those who want to express appreciation for the tireless labor of our leaders.
You should know that we did not ask Hollifield for permission to honor him. He certainly would have rejected the idea. As far as we know he was not aware of our plan to recognize him.
The Recorder’s staff attempted to summarize some of the strategic events and actions that required the EDT’s measured response in the past decade. We searched through 10 years of printed Recorders and the website, BRnow.org, and found an impressive amount of material to describe the activities and personalities in N.C. Baptist life during this period of time.
It is said that newspapers write the first draft of history. Hopefully a book will eventually be written to tell the full story. We believe the story will show how God has worked through the lives of imperfect people to accomplish His purposes and give Him glory.
Since limited space required us to give our readers the short version of events that influenced Hollifield’s leadership, there are some items we are not able to cover. So I will add a few personal thoughts here.
When Hollifield stepped into the role of EDT, N.C. Baptists were dealing with a lot of division. Many in convention leadership, if not most, were perceived to be favorable to the moderate-liberal leaning Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. But the conservative resurgence that reshaped Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) life was making an impact on our state.
Those loyal to the SBC had been elected to places of leadership in the state for more than 10 years; their influence was growing rapidly. The next EDT needed to be a man of biblical conviction who is gracious and fair. He needed to be loyal to the SBC and lead N.C. Baptists to be convictional on matters of evangelism, missions, prayer and discipleship. But the issues are more expansive. He must be a man whose integrity inspires trust.
N.C. Baptists needed their next leader to be a man with experience in the local church, the association, the state convention and the national convention. He must appreciate people from every level of life and be passionate about Kingdom work.
Milton has met and exceeded the expectations most of us had when he stepped into his new office.
If the problems he inherited were not enough of a challenge, the state and the nation fell into economic chaos two years later. The shock waves damaged local churches before pressing on denomination life with aftershocks that undermined mission strategies and agencies. Through these challenges the office of the EDT was not a place of comfort.
Today N.C. Baptists give more to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions than any other state convention. The churches’ generous gifts make N.C. a leader in giving to North American missions and to many other mission causes through the Cooperative Program.
Across the SBC, Hollifield is respected as a voice of reason and experience. He is regularly asked to serve in national positions of responsibility. He stays current on the issues of the SBC.
I could write volumes about the positive health of ministries that are aligned with BSC. Hollifield has been a friend and cheerleader for our Baptist Children’s Homes, N.C. Baptist Men, the Baptist Hospital, the N.C. Baptist Foundation and the Biblical Recorder. The convention’s three camps – Caswell, Caraway and Truett – are stronger than ever.
He has friendly relationships with the presidents of the Baptist universities and the Woman’s Missionary Union of N.C.
Fruitland Baptist Bible College and the Biblical Recorder have called new leaders during Hollifield’s tenure. David Horton was installed as the eighth president of Fruitland on Aug. 21, 2009.
I began serving as editor and president of the Recorder on May 25, 2011. Both organizations benefit from Hollifield’s strong support.
The relationship between our convention staff and the staff at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has never been stronger. This has aided in very favorable fellowship between the seminary and local churches.
The BSC’s collegiate outreach is very healthy after significantly restructuring the ministry for the 21st century. Church revitalization is intensifying with impressive results, and church planting continues to grow. Most of those new churches are reaching ethnic peoples who live in the state. Internationals are being engaged with the gospel in increasing numbers.
A stellar characteristic of Hollifield’s ministry should not overlooked. He has surrounded himself with excellent staff. These men and women are bright, visionary and passionate about fulfilling the Great Commission. They serve all of us well. We are thankful for their skills and their dedication to impacting lostness in N.C.
While most of this recognition highlights Milton, we would miss an integral part of his life if we do not also recognize his wife, Gloria, for her valuable support and personal involvement in their shared ministry. We are thankful for her beyond words. I ask N.C. Baptists to continue to pray for Milton and Gloria.
Crisis in N.C.
Moving to another subject, I need to ask you to give considerable attention to an urgent crisis. Yes, I believe this is an extremely urgent matter.
The governor of N.C. is being blasted by executives of large corporations who want to reshape social order. Businesses that include Pepsico, Lowes (home improvement, not the grocery store) and allegedly more than 100 other corporations are threatening the governor with economic penalties.
They should be ashamed for their actions.
President Barack Obama’s administration also suggested that the new law could make North Carolina ineligible for billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways and housing.
Liberals in the world of politics despise big business.
In campaign rallies their candidates rail against business leaders with extreme cruelty. But for some strange reason those same business leaders bow to the ruthless threats of leftist activists, leveling the same harassment on legislators and governors who stand for moral decency.
The most recent crisis in our state can be blamed on the Charlotte City Council. They passed a senseless ordinance that threatens the privacy, and potential safety, of individuals in public restrooms. But when the state legislature approved a statewide measure to reverse Charlotte’s action and restore the decency citizens have enjoyed for centuries, corporate leaders caved to the screams of radical leftists and began to pressure our leaders to reverse the standards of decency.
Gov. Pat McCrory and members of the legislature need to hear from you.
Please make every effort to call, write or email them this week to express your prayers, appreciation and support for their wisdom and courage (governor.nc.gov/contact). Pray for them.
Watch for news about several rallies being planned to show public support for these battered elected leaders.