After more than 27 years as a staff member and more than 14 years of leading the work of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), the time has come for me to bid you farewell as your executive director-treasurer (EDT). I am retiring at the end of this month, so this will be my last regular column in the Biblical Recorder.
I want to thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed upon Gloria and me in these past years. God has used your faithful prayer support in protecting, empowering and enabling us in the work of His kingdom as we have traveled to so many churches and made so many friends. We truly appreciate the way you have received and encouraged us. It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as your EDT.
When I was installed as the 14th executive director of this convention on April 11, 2006, I shared five statements that day or in subsequent interviews that I hoped and prayed would mark my tenure. In recent days as I have reflected on these statements, they are a reminder of how God was working in my mind and heart when I was asked to serve in this role. They are also a reminder of the faithfulness of our great God. Following are highlights from the five statements I shared.
- I hope people will see me as a visionary who wants to help churches and associations work together, involving more people in missions and evangelism.
- I want to keep people working together as much as we possibly can by focusing on the things we have in common rather than our differences.
- I want the BSC to become the strongest force in the history of our convention for reaching people with the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- I have a deep love and appreciation for the Southern Baptist Convention, which is rooted in the unified giving plan that we know as the Cooperative Program that supports our missionaries and enables us to help fulfill the Great Commission in spreading the gospel around the world.
- I believe that the local church does not exist for this convention, but rather the convention exists to meet the needs of the churches, so I want to refocus the energies of this convention toward the needs of our churches.
By God’s grace and cooperating together, we have seen these dreams and many more come to fruition during the past 14 years. It has happened because you have prayed, made yourself available to God, and given of your time, talent and treasure to invest in kingdom work.
We have seen God bless this convention in numerous ways. In recent years, we have provided the largest financial support of missions in our history through the Cooperative Program and special missions offerings even as overall income has declined. We have planted new churches, revitalized existing churches and established new mission partnerships in North America and around the world.
Even during the current pandemic, God has been at work and doing more than any of us realize in some of our churches. The ministry and work of Baptists on Mission has continued to expand beyond imagination in helping more and more people in need. I am grateful for our institutions and agencies along with their leaders and staff members because of the remarkable and superb ministry they provide.
I would also be remiss if I did not mention what a joy it has been to lead such a wonderfully talented and committed state convention staff and the executive leaders who have worked closely with me.
During this time of transition, you can take comfort in knowing that we serve a faithful God. My prayer is that the greatest days of this state convention are still in your future. I encourage you to pray for, encourage and follow the leadership of the next EDT you will elect to be your leader.
We give God all the praise for the great and wonderful things He has done, is doing and will do in the years ahead.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5 (NKJV)