The 2020 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) will be unlike any other in recent memory. Changes to the time and location, a new online registration process and enhanced health and safety protocols are just a few of the items to be aware of this year.
Here’s an A-to-Z list of things prospective attendees need to know and keep in mind for this year’s meeting (with a few interesting facts and tidbits thrown in along the way.)
A: Annual meeting
This year’s annual meeting will be an abbreviated, one-day meeting on Nov. 10, from 1-5 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Charlotte. The meeting was originally scheduled for Nov. 9-10 in Greensboro, but the location and time was changed by a vote of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s board of directors. The meeting will include worship, sermons, ministry reports, business items and more. There will not be an exhibit hall or other special gatherings in conjunction with this year’s meeting in an effort to maintain health and safety protocols and social-distancing measures.
Several business items are included on this year’s agenda, which include electing new convention officers, approving a 2021 Cooperative Program budget, affirming individuals to serve with the state convention and its related entities, and a time devoted to miscellaneous business. See the complete schedule at ncannualmeeting.org/schedule.
Messengers and guests are asked to register for the meeting in advance and reserve a time to check in on the day of the meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn more about the registration and check-in process below.
First Baptist Church of Charlotte, site of this year’s annual meeting, is located in the heart of uptown Charlotte at 301 S. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28202. Free parking will be available in a parking lot across the street from the church. Visit the church’s website at charlottefbc.com/visit, or get directions via Google Maps.
E: Executive Director-Treasurer
Milton A. Hollifield Jr. will share his final address to messengers as executive director-treasurer of the Baptist state convention at this year’s annual meeting. Earlier this year, Hollifield announced his plans to retire effective Feb. 28, 2021. A special celebration honoring Hollifield’s ministry will close this year’s annual meeting. Those wishing to bring cards or mementos for Hollifield may do so and deposit them in dedicated baskets that will be located near the sanctuary entrances.
F: Face coverings
As part of enhanced safety protocols, attendees will be required to wear face coverings at this year’s annual meetings. In addition, temperature checks will take place prior to entering the facility, and social distancing measures will be in place.
G: God’s Great Hope
“God’s Great Hope” is the theme for this year’s annual meeting, which was selected by the state convention’s Committee on Convention Meetings. Baptist State Convention of North Carolina President Steve Scoggins, pastor of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, will preach a message on hope from Romans 15:13.
For those needing a hotel room, a discounted rate is available for annual meeting attendees at the Hampton Inn Charlotte Uptown until Wednesday, Nov. 4. The hotel is across the street from the church. More information about reservations and the discounted rate is available at ncannualmeeting.org/hotel.
Interstate Highways 77 and 85 intersect near the heart of Uptown Charlotte, making the city easily accessible by car in a few hours or less from most places within North Carolina. This year’s meeting schedule will allow for many attendees to drive in, attend the meeting and drive home on the same day. For those who want to arrive the night before or spend the night after the meeting, special discounted hotel rates are available. (See “H: Hotel” directly above this entry.)
J: Join us (live or online)
You can attend this year’s annual meeting in-person or online. Messengers and guests who plan to attend in person must complete the online registration process. Those who cannot attend in person may watch the meeting at ncannaulmeeting.org/livestream. Please note that only registered messengers in attendance are allowed to vote on any business items during the meeting.
Kiosks for checking in on the day of the annual meeting will be available in the lobby of First Baptist Church Charlotte, host site of this year’s meeting. If you plan to attend as a messenger or a guest, complete the online registration process in advance and schedule a check-in time when you register.
Can’t make it to the annual meeting in person? Don’t worry. You can watch via the livestream. Livestream viewers are not permitted to vote on business items, but can follow the proceedings as they happen.
M: Mobile app
Pertinent information related to this year’s annual meeting is being made available through the N.C. Baptist mobile app. Content includes the 2020 book of reports, the 2021 budget proposal, information on convention ministries and more. Download the app by searching for “NC Baptist” in your respective app store.
One of the important items of business at the annual meeting is affirming individuals to serve in various capacities with the state convention and its related entities, which include Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, the Biblical Recorder, N.C. Baptist Hospital and the N.C. Baptist Foundation. Learn more about leadership opportunities with the state convention, and recommend someone to serve at ncbaptist.org/recommend.
O: Online registration
A new online registration process is taking place for this year’s annual meeting. Messengers and guests must register for the meeting in advance, and they will receive an electronic ticket that they must bring with them and present on the day of the meeting.
Free parking is available to annual meeting attendees in the parking lot across the street from First Baptist Church of Charlotte, which is located at 301 S. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28202. Get directions via Google Maps.
Q: Queen City
Charlotte’s nickname is the “Queen City,” which hearkens back to the city’s founding by European settlers in 1768. King George III still ruled the colonies at that time, and the settlement was named after the king’s wife, Queen Charlotte. Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and is the 15th largest city in the United States. The BSC annual meeting was last held in Charlotte in 1985, and the city is scheduled to host the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in 2023. Learn more about the Queen City at charlottesgotalot.com.
In case you missed the note above, a new online registration process is taking place for this year’s annual meeting. (See “O: Online registration” above) Messengers and guests must register for the meeting in advance. They will receive an electronic ticket that they must bring with them and present on the day of the meeting. Complete registration details and instructions are available at ncannualmeeting.org/register.
S: Sam James
Longtime International Mission Board (IMB) missionary Sam James will deliver this year’s convention sermon. A North Carolina native, James has been a church planter, administrator, trainer and missionary statesman throughout his life. He served with the IMB for more than 50 years, which included extensive service in Vietnam from the early 1960s until the fall of Saigon.
T: Temperature checks
As part of enhanced safety protocols, temperature checks will take place before attendees enter the meeting facility. Face coverings will also be required and social-distancing measures will be in place.
Charlotte’s downtown area is actually known as “uptown.” Why? The intersection of Tryon and Trade streets is the geographic center of the city and at a higher elevation than most of the surrounding area. Prior to the city’s founding, the intersection of what would become Tryon and Trade streets also marked the intersection of two Native American trade routes. One of the routes ran along a ridge so that then, as now, you must travel “up” to get to the city center. In the mid-1970s, the city passed a formal proclamation declaring “uptown” the official name of the heart of the city.
V: Virtual breakout sessions
Ministry training and equipping opportunities for church leaders have become a popular option for annual meeting attendees. This year, those sessions are taking place virtually. Videos of 16 pre-recorded sessions covering a variety of ministry topics will be released on Monday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. Additionally, some breakout session facilitators are hosting live virtual follow-up meetings on Wednesday, Nov. 11 to answer questions and dive deeper into their respective topics. Learn more by visiting ncannaulmeeting.org/breakouts.
Worship is an important part of the annual meeting each year. This year’s meeting will include times of worship, prayer, preaching and encouragement from God’s Word. See the complete schedule at ncannualmeeting.org/schedule.
Don’t forget to bring with you to the annual meeting the electronic ticket you receive by email after you register. You may use your mobile device or a printed copy (or a “Xerox”) of the ticket. (Technically, Xerox is a trademark for a brand of photocopy machine and shouldn’t be used as a verb. But those of a certain age will know what it means to “Xerox” or make a “Xerox” of something in the same way that we often talk about “Googling” something today.)
This year has been a year like no other, and we yearn to gather together again. As churches have started or begin to regather for worship, may we not take gathering together for worship for granted. And while this year’s annual meeting will look and feel different from what we are accustomed to, we look forward to 2021 when (Lord willing) we can be back together again in Greensboro.
As we near the conclusion of 2020 and face lingering uncertainty about the days ahead, may we reflect upon this year’s annual meeting theme of “God’s Great Hope” and live out a properly placed zeal for God each day.