Most of you are familiar with the “Seven Pillars for Ministry” that serve as core values to help our state convention stay focused on its mission of assisting North Carolina Baptist churches. One of these core values is “reaching North Carolina’s international community.” People from all different religions and cultures now call North Carolina home – and we must do all we can to reach them with the gospel.
More than 230 language groups are represented in North Carolina. Last year our church planting staff worked with new church plants of various types and people groups, such as Hispanic, Asian, African-American, Nepali, Haitian, Burmese and Montagnard. We also worked with 37 Asian language groups.
The face of our state is changing rapidly and we cannot ignore people who speak a different language or represent a different religious background.
Throughout the year your state convention offers equipping opportunities to help you become more effective in reaching our diverse state with the gospel. One of these opportunities is the annual statewide evangelism conference.
We have hosted this conference for many years, and I am especially hopeful about the potential impact of this year’s conference.
This year’s conference is themed “Culture Reach: Understanding, Loving and Relating to Muslims.” We want to help you better understand Islam, and better understand Muslims, so that you will be more active in sharing your faith with people from this religious background. We want you to be encouraged to share your faith and to do so in a manner that glorifies Jesus Christ.
The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life recently conducted a study that projected the global Muslim population will continue to grow at a faster pace than any other demographic during the next two decades. The study projects that by 2030, one out of every four people in the world will be Muslim.
We have Muslims from different countries, living in our state who still have family ties and connections to their countries of origin. If we reach them with the gospel while they are here, they can then take the gospel back to their countries.
When we reach people in North Carolina with the gospel we are also reaching the nations.
If you attend this conference you will learn from excellent speakers and teachers such as Zane Pratt, Mike Licona and Alex McFarland.
We will also hear from Fred Luter, our Southern Baptist Convention president; Nik Ripken, a leading authority on the persecuted church; and Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim.
The conference will be held Feb. 25 at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. You can find out more information as well as details for the pre-conference workshops at www.ncbaptist.org/culturereach.
I pray that the principles you learn during this conference will help you reach not only Muslims, but will help you become more engaged in witnessing to people from different religions and cultures.
“All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.” Psalm 86:9