The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina was established in 1830 as a cooperative effort of local churches who desired to work together in order to reach people with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For almost 200 years this has been the primary aim, namely, to assist North Carolina churches in their divinely appointed mission.
During her history, the state convention as a parachurch organization has methodically transformed to meet the needs of the local churches as they minister in a changing culture. Every season brings change.
We are now stepping over the precipice of a new season. Milton Hollifield has concluded his fruitful tenure as our executive director-treasurer. The modern world calls forth new challenges that require thoughtful missiological application of the ancient faith once for all delivered to the saints. The philosophical sentiment of our society demands answers that are both robust theologically and clear. Our pastors need relational support. Our churches need to be resourced to navigate the uncharted territory of an ever-changing world.
The partnership between our convention and our churches is instrumental in order for us to rise together to accomplish the task before us.
However, with all of the changes before us, one thing remains the same. The mission of the local church has always been to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We have over 4,000 churches dispersed among North Carolina’s 10 million residents. Statistics tell us that lostness in North Carolina is growing; in fact it is growing faster than our churches. This rapid change requires an evangelistic response. I believe the Bible informs us that the church is God’s “plan A” for reaching this lost world with the message of grace. While this may be uncharted territory for us, it is no surprise to our omnipotent God.
The almost 200 years of our convention’s existence is but a dot on the timeline of God’s redemptive pursuit of those who will be His. In Isaiah 46, our God reminds us that there is none like Him. His purposes will stand. Therefore, let us move forward with confidence in His providential hand. The culture may change. The convention may change. Our churches may change. But, the people of God, equipped with the Word of God, empowered by the Spirit of God will prevail.
The church is the only society in human history that will last into eternity. The people of God are the only beloved family for which our sovereign Savior has declared that He will never leave or forsake.
As Milton Hollifield has proclaimed time and time again, “By God’s grace, we 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.” As we continue forward, let us remain faithful and prayerfully trust that God will bring forth the fruit. The life cycle of nature reminds us that the beginning of each new season holds forth the promise of new life.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Matt Capps is pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, N.C. and president of the board of directors for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)