I helped start The Young Pastors Network in 2017 as an effort to involve younger North Carolina pastors in the great work of Southern Baptists on a state and national level. The network has benefited from the support of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, convention leaders like executive director-treasurer Milton Hollifield and many Southern Baptist entities.
As we have gathered with young pastors for several years now, I have remained fully confident that God is at work. Here’s why I believe N.C. Baptists are poised to lead the way among Southern Baptists as we make disciples of all nations.
The vision Hollifield laid out many years ago is focused on the Great Commission: “By God’s grace, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will become the strongest force in the history of this convention for reaching people with the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The great churches in our state are doing incredible work impacting lostness through disciple-making. The more involved I am in the work of the state convention, the more I believe our future is as bright as ever.
Since 1845, the agenda of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has been simple, to combine the efforts of autonomous churches for “one sacred effort,” the propagation of the gospel. This is why I love our family of Southern Baptists. We have always been mission-minded.
The Cooperative Program was created in 1925 to provide an efficient way for Baptist churches to pool their resources together for funding missions around the world. Recently, our SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd laid out his “Vision 2025,” a rallying cry for us to reimagine a new future together of reaching the world for Jesus Christ.
Imagine the worldwide impact if we could increase the number of full-time, fully funded missionaries through the International Mission Board. Consider the impact of adding thousands of new churches to the Southern Baptist family. Now, ask yourself how you and your church will play a part.
It is the local church that raises up new missionaries to go to the field. New pastors come directly from our local congregations as they are called out to lead existing churches, revitalize dying churches and plant new churches. By God’s grace, I believe we can make this happen.
If we proclaim the gospel faithfully, make disciples who make disciples and sacrificially give and cooperate to make this happen – we can trust God for the fruit.
There are three reasons why I believe North Carolina can lead in these efforts.
- We have some of the most faithful churches in the nation – both in number and giving.
- We have two great institutions on soil aimed at developing leaders for the pastorate, mission field and Christian work: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Fruitland Bible Baptist Bible College.
- North Carolina is stacked with faithful pastors who preach God’s word, love the local church and invest their resources and talent in missions efforts around the world.
To adapt the words of Adrian Rogers, we ought to work together to make disciples of all nations as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning and is coming back this afternoon.
As we look to the future, let’s commit to pray for one another. Let’s cooperate to do more together. And finally, let’s make the Great Commission our top priority.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Matt Capps is senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, N.C.)