It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as the president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. I have come to appreciate the fruitful missionary work being done through the Cooperative Program and being led by our dedicated state mission staff.
Your church’s sacrificial giving through the Cooperative Program and through other Southern Baptist mission offerings is making a real difference in this world. There has never been a more heroic group of international missionaries than those serving with our International Mission Board. Because they have targeted the least reached places on the planet, they are serving in some of the most dangerous places as well.
The North American Mission Board and state church planting partnerships are making new inroads to unreached people in our own nation. Many of the very groups we target overseas now live in North Carolina.
Our seminaries have never been more firmly committed to the Bible. In our own state, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s president, Danny Akin, models for us a leader who strongly believes in the inerrancy of scripture, lives and breathes the Great Commission and understands the people in our pews.
We have safeguards in place that should allay any fears about a resurgence of liberalism. Every professor at Southeastern Seminary has to sign four documents and must teach in accordance with them. Those documents are “The Baptist Faith and Message 2000,” “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” the “Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” and the founding document of the seminary. I appreciate the strong ties that Southeastern has with our only N.C. Baptist school, Fruitland Baptist Bible College.
I believe the work done to make lives better through the Baptist Children’s Homes and through our Baptists on Mission disaster relief cannot be topped anywhere in the United States. We are fulfilling both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in our state through our Baptist work.
I have seen with my own eyes how Baptist churches have witnessed God fulfilling the promise of Romans 8:28 during the crisis we have gone through because of the pandemic.
Many churches have been amazed by how faithful their churches have been in supporting their local ministries as well as their mission commitments during this crisis. We have been forced to find new ways to reach people for Christ through online presence and social media ministries. We will come out the other side of this stronger in our work for Christ.
One of the greatest privileges I have had is to be able to serve with Milton Hollifield in his last years as executive director-treasurer of our convention. Milton has been an extraordinary gift from God to our convention! He has a love for Jesus that is contagious. He has a passion to reach lost people for Christ. He has been patient and loving with all Baptists in our state and has been a peacemaker during times when we could have turned on each other. He has also excelled in recruiting for us strong leaders who have worked under him to advance God’s work in our state mission’s staff. I am so glad that we will take time to give him the honor due for his work during this fall’s convention.
I know the next generation of leaders and believe that the best is yet to come for us in North Carolina. Our editor of the Biblical Recorder has not only led the way in keeping us informed in Baptist life, he has helped me personally know how to best communicate to others in the articles I have been allowed to share with Baptists these past two years. I look forward to seeing what God will do in our convention for years to come!
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Steve Scoggins, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, N.C., has served as Baptist State Convention of North Carolina president for two years.)