Disciple your family, Hollifield says
    December 1 2014 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

    The theme of the 2014 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) was drawn from John 14:12. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
    Milton Hollifield, executive director-treasurer (EDT) of the BSC, read the scripture to launch his annual address to the messengers attending the Tuesday morning annual session in Greensboro, Nov. 11, giving emphasis to the potential of “greater things.”


    BSC photo by K Brown
    “I am convinced that the only way to effectively impact more of the 5.8 million lost people living in N.C. is to build an army of Christ followers who will become passionate about reaching and discipling others in their sphere of influence,” said Milton Hollifield during his Nov. 11 address to messengers at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina annual meeting in Greensboro.

    He said the promise of this verse not only applied to the disciples to whom Christ spoke in the first century, but it applies to every believer who follows Jesus today.
    “It’s not enough for you and me to embrace the promise of doing greater things for Christ; I am convinced we must accept the challenge of doing greater things through Christ,” Hollifield added.
    He called for N.C. Baptists to make disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit. But he cautioned, “Disciple-making does not happen simply because a congregation has a series of programs, or engages in a number of missionary endeavors. Disciple-making is intentional and is dependent upon people, not facilities, programs or activities.”
    Making disciples is so very simple, but we’ve made it unnecessarily complicated, he said. “As I have met with North Carolina Baptists across our state this year, I have heard a very familiar refrain: ‘What do you mean by disciple-making?’”
    Hollifield said disciple-making is the heart of the Great Commission. “Disciple-making is evangelism that leads to conversion and also includes discipleship that results in disciples who make disciples. Disciple-making is teaching others Biblical truths that God has taught you so that they can in turn teach others,” he said, citing 2 Tim. 2:2.
    “I am convinced that the only way to effectively impact more of the 5.8 million lost people living in N.C. is to build an army of Christ followers who will become passionate about reaching and discipling others in their sphere of influence,” he said. “... we are not satisfied with just reaching our state alone, for the Bible compels us in Acts 1:8 to impact lostness through disciple-making in our state, across our nation and around the world.”
    He said disciple-making is not simply a ministry of the church; it is the mission of the church. Disciple-making is not just a program within the church; it must become the passion of the church. Disciple-making must become the lifestyle of all church members.
    One area where Hollifield believes the failure to make disciples is most glaring is within family relationships. The lack of disciple-making in Christian homes may be a cause for declining baptisms for youth in the SBC. “Why are so many of our children never returning to church when they leave home for college?” he added.
    Reading from Judges 2:10 the EDT said we understand how quickly a nation can lose the blessings of God because of disobedience. The scripture says, “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.

    “How did this happen?” he asked. “It happened because those who knew God and all the great things He had done for Israel failed to communicate this to their own children and grandchildren. But these same words do not have to be said about our children and grandchildren if we will follow the commands of God.”
    As we consider reaching and discipling individuals in our state, nation and world, he said we should not overlook the mission field in our homes – our own children and grandchildren. “If you take some time to reflect on your own Christian heritage, most of you will remember someone or maybe two or three individuals that had a strong influence on your life,” Hollifield said. “It may have been a parent, a grandparent or another relative. It could have been a pastor or a friend. God sent those individuals to teach you things that He had taught them through others.”
    Teaching the next generation is best fulfilled by the most influential teachers of Christianity that our children have – a dad, a mom and grandparents, Hollifield emphasized. “Yes, you do have the support of your church, but that will not take the place of the home-life influence.”
    Three questions were posed to the messengers: Do your children see Christian virtues in your life? Do they know you spend time reading the Bible? Do they believe that prayer and fellowship with God is important to you?
    “Will you lead your children and your grandchildren to Christ and disciple them? Don’t leave that to chance, hoping someone else will do it. Help your adult children to understand how important it is for your grandchildren to come to faith in Christ and grow in that relationship,” he said.
    Sharing his personal story of how God worked through his parents, Hollifield told about his father, 88, a Baptist pastor for over 60 years who passed away on July 14, 2014. He spoke fondly of his “lay preacher” great-grandfather, his Sunday School director grandfather and his “saintly” grandmother. “I was blessed to be born into the home of Christian parents. My parents read the Bible to their children and prayed with us every day. There was never a question where we would be when it was time to be in church. My father invested his life in me because he loved me, and he wanted me to serve Jesus,” he said.
    The EDT recognized that others were not raised in a Christian home.
    “Some of us were raised in Christian homes, but others of you have a different story. You did not grow up with Christian parents. Maybe you did not even get to enjoy your parents living together in love and harmony. Some of you are still praying that your dad or mom will accept Christ. Don’t give up!” he pleaded.
    Disciple-making is not complicated, but it requires a faithful commitment and obedience to Christ.
    Hollifield issued a final proposition. The call to discipleship is personal, but must expand across the whole church.
    “I’m asking you to also challenge your church family to join forces with other N.C. Baptist congregations as we impact lostness through disciple-making.”
    Visit http://vimeo.com/channels/783219.

    12/1/2014 12:42:08 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: annual meeting, discipleship, N.C. Baptists

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