December 2016

With 52 Sundays, the Cooperative Program becomes personal

December 14 2016 by Emily Rojas, BSC Communications

The Cooperative Program (CP) can sometimes seem impersonal, Mike Creswell says. So in 2010, when he created a resource that made the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) main budgeting program seem more approachable to congregations, the idea took off.
Creswell, the Cooperative Program (CP) consultant at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), created the “52 Sundays” resource to be primarily used to introduce North Carolina Baptist congregations to the missionaries they support through their Cooperative Program giving.
Originally, this resource was a printed booklet with weekly devotions and missionary spotlights. Missionaries from the International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) were among those featured, and congregations could pray for a different missionary every week.
For the first time, congregants were able to consistently associate a name and face with their Cooperative Program giving. The CP had transformed into something more than just a budget – it became personal.
“This was a way to help churches to share with their people information and introduce them to the people that they’re supporting overseas so they can pray for them,” Creswell said. “It’s a very basic, basic thing.”
It wasn’t long, however, before other state conventions heard about 52 Sundays and wanted to be a part of it themselves. Virginia was the first state to adopt this resource, and soon, other states followed suit.
Quickly, the resource changed to adapt to the digital age.
It became a PowerPoint and was sent out to churches as a DVD when more churches acquired overhead projectors for their services.
Soon, Creswell said, 52 Sundays will be sent out in digital format.
The resource was also designed to be versatile – it can be used in a small group or Sunday School setting. 52 Sundays will be sent out to churches this month in time to be used in the new year, but the 2017 resource is also available for free download at 52 Sundays is also available on the same website in Spanish.
In 2015, this resource from North Carolina captured the attention of the Southern Baptist Stewardship Development Association (SDA), which comprises stewardship and CP workers on the staffs of various Baptist state conventions. The group decided to produce the resource on a national level, making it available to all 42 state conventions in the United States.
In North Carolina alone, this resource has become popular. Former BSC president, Timmy Blair, uses it weekly at his church, Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier.
Frank Page, CEO of the SBC’s Executive Committee, has also spoken highly of 52 Sundays.
“Presenting a balanced Acts 1:8 missional strategy in their church is a high priority on the list of every SBC pastor,” he said. With 52 Sundays, congregations gain a constant understanding of what it means to follow God’s lead and be obedient to His call to the mission field.
“With this resource, we are basically trying to bridge that gap of ‘We support thousands of missionaries, but who are they, where are they serving,’” Creswell said.

“These are not just some anonymous people – these are our missionaries, we sent them overseas, and we need to support them with prayer and get people behind them financially.”
To Creswell, one of the great benefits of 52 Sundays is the fact that it helps churches to remember their Cooperative Program giving every Sunday. Today, he said, many people might not fully understand why they give to the Cooperative Program – some people might not even know exactly what the CP is. When they see 52 Sundays at church, however, they are reminded that the Cooperative Program allows the featured missionaries and many others to follow God’s call to serve on the field.
About 41 percent of all North Carolina Cooperative Program giving goes to global SBC ministries. Of that amount, about 50 percent is allocated to the IMB, and about 23 percent is allocated to NAMB. Last year, a slump in Cooperative Program giving resulted in about 800 missionaries returning home from the field. To Creswell, this fact only underscores the importance of 52 Sundays and using it to engage and educate congregations.
However, income within North Carolina Baptist churches is increasing, and things seem to be looking up for CP. This year, the BSC’s Executive Committee of the board approved a budget with a 3 percent increase over last year’s. In fact, this is the second year in a row that the committee has approved a budget increase.

This year’s budget also includes increased financial support to national and international missions through the SBC.
“The Cooperative Program is one of our hidden mysteries, so we need to get information into the hands of the churches,” Creswell said.
“It’s basically the foundation of everything we do.”
If you or your church would like more information on 52 Sundays, please contact Mike Creswell at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5541, or at 52 Sundays is available for download at

12/14/2016 12:55:06 PM by Emily Rojas, BSC Communications | with 1 comments

Coptic Christians in Egypt mourn after bombing

December 14 2016 by Morning Star News, Middle East correspondent

As government investigators sifted through the scene of what has been called Egypt’s worst bombing attack against Christians in the nation’s history, Dec. 12 the families of those who were slain mourned and buried their dead.
On Dec. 11, at least 24 worshippers were killed and 49 wounded when an explosion ripped through the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, also known as Al Boutrosya Chapel, during Mass in a suburb of Cairo. The chapel is next to the St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, which is held by many as the spiritual center of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
An initial statement by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi claimed that a suicide bomber had conducted the attack. The Interior Ministry later released a picture Abu Dajjana al-Kanani, 22, an Islamist militant the government claimed carried out the attack. No group has taken responsibility for the bombing.
Sunday’s explosion was exceptionally powerful. It shattered the windows of the church building, was heard for miles away and reduced the inside of the structure to rubble. Security sources told local news outlets that the bomb contained at least 26 pounds (12 kg) of TNT. It exploded inside the chapel on the side traditionally used by women.
As a result, most of the victims were either women in their 20s or children. Many of the slain children were infants. The death toll is expected to rise as others, who are now in the hospital, succumb to their wounds.
Al Boutrosya Chapel is located in Abbysia, Cairo, in a sprawling compound that houses the headquarters of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Besides St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, it is also the home of a theological seminary.
The government’s decision to hold a state funeral for those killed was criticized by the victims’ families, and several were incensed at being kept from those whom they had lost. During the funeral service led by Coptic Pope Tawadros II, with Sisi present, Tawadros II said the attack on the Copts was an attack on all Egypt, “not just a disaster for the church but a disaster for the whole nation.”
While state officials and ranking members of the Coptic Orthodox Church were given passes to attend the service, passes for family members were limited and had to be approved by both the government and the church. Family members were forcibly separated from the caskets by youth ushers known commonly as “scouts.” Others who protested against being kept from attending the funeral were arrested, according to local media reports.
Sunday’s attack is considered to be the deadliest bombing against Christians in Egypt, but only by a small margin. On Jan. 1, 2011, just after midnight, 23 people were killed in a bombing at Saints Church in Alexandria that took place just after a New Year’s Eve service.
Conflicting accounts claimed the Alexandria bombing was either the result of a suicide bomber or a car bomb placed at the entrance of the church building. No one has ever been apprehended for the incident. The government has all but closed the case.
On April 7, 2013, Coptic Christians attending a funeral service for four Copts killed two days earlier in an anti-Christian rampage were in turn attacked themselves by at least 200 Muslim rioters.
The incident, which started with a few dozen men pelting the mourners with stones, quickly escalated into a massive attack against Christians at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral involving firearms, flash-bang grenades, tear gas, fire bombs and other improvised weapons, besides cars set ablaze. Police who were assigned to protect the complex did nothing to stop the attack. When back-up arrived, instead of fighting off the attackers, police joined the attack on the side of the rioters.
One Christian, Mahrous Hanna Ibrahim, reportedly died from gunshot wounds and one Muslim died after he fell off a security fence he was climbing to attack Copts.
Wagih Jacoub, a noted human rights activists, said he was dismayed at the church’s reaction to the bombing and the government’s refusal to protect Christians.
“I don’t care about three days of mourning, I care about protecting Christians,” he said.
Hostilities toward Christians, according to Jacoub, start in mosques and classrooms where Muslim youth are indoctrinated to hate Christians.
“They are taught Christians are nothing, that they have no rights,” he said. “So what do you expect them to do? You expect them to grow up and hate Christians.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Morning Star News is a California-based independent news service focusing on the persecution of Christians worldwide.)

12/14/2016 12:53:40 PM by Morning Star News, Middle East correspondent | with 0 comments

Praying for revival, spiritual awakening on a bus tour

December 14 2016 by Emily Rojas, BSC Communications

Among Christians, prayer walking around towns and neighborhoods is a common practice – it’s a way to see an area’s particular needs and cover them in prayer.

BSC photo by Emily Rojas
Some of the men on the Nov. 15 prayer tour of Greensboro gather at a church’s steps to pray.

But when a group at the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina decided to prayer walk around the city of Greensboro in under two hours, they decided it would be easier to take a bus.
On Nov. 15, two buses full of Annual Meeting attendees embarked on a guided prayer tour around Greensboro to pray for needs in the areas of church planting, church revitalization, church bodies, unreached peoples and college campuses. Each bus drove through a separate “pocket of lostness” as identified by the convention’s Strategic Focus Team. Four of the top 30 pockets of lostness in North Carolina are located in Greensboro, so the buses traveled through areas inhabited by some of the largest populations of lost people in the state.
This “Pray Greensboro” prayer vision bus tour was organized and planned through the cooperative efforts of the Piedmont Baptist Association and the Baptist State Convention’s Strategic Focus Team and Office of Prayer for Evangelization and Spiritual Awakening.
Brad Roderick, director of missions of the Piedmont Baptist Association, was the guide for one of the buses – he gave passengers information about the sites they passed so they could better pray for the area. Roderick’s bus passed by five main areas that needed prayer: North Carolina A&T State University, 16th Street Mosque, apartments that are home to many refugees, Northside Baptist Church and Magnolia Street Church.
These landmarks were areas of prominence – North Carolina A&T State University has been named the best of the Historically Black Universities in America; 16th Street Mosque is the largest of the six mosques in Guilford County. As the buses passed these landmarks, passengers offered up prayers for the needs of students, for the mosque’s 450 members and for God’s Spirit to fall on both areas.
Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world,” Roderick said, quoting 1 John 4:4. “I pray that Christians would have the confidence of the Lord to share (the gospel) with them.”
The churches that the groups visited were also places in significant need of prayer – Northside Baptist Church is a church in desperate need of revitalization. J.S. “Bud” Parrish, the church’s interim pastor, has helped the church grow in outreach to its neighborhood over the past two years. He’s expanded Northside’s homeless outreach, feeding about 170 homeless people each week.
But still, the need for revitalization at Northside is great.

“There are 19 churches on the north side of (Greensboro); now 17 are in decline,” Parrish said. “That’s why we’re not reaching this community. So pray for revitalization.”
Passengers also prayed for revitalization at Magnolia Street Church. The church has a rich history but in more recent years has seen a transition in its community’s demographics. Attendees prayed not only for those who are new to the city, but also for those who have remained in the area as it’s changed.
“It was very evident the Spirit was working in individuals and in the group, just bringing our hearts together,” said Gretchen Roderick, who is married to Brad Roderick and was a contributor in orchestrating the prayer tour. “I am anxious to see how (God) is going to respond to all the prayers we’ve lifted up.”
More prayer vision tours are being planned for 2017 in different lost pockets across North Carolina. For more information on the 2017 prayer tours, contact the Strategic Focus Team or the Office of Prayer at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina: (800) 395-5102. 

12/14/2016 12:53:17 PM by Emily Rojas, BSC Communications | with 1 comments

Gardner-Webb University ranks in top 50 of best online colleges

December 14 2016 by GWU Communications recently recognized Gardner-Webb University (GWU) among its listing of the best online colleges for 2016-2017.
The university ranked 35th out of the top 50 institutions of higher education in the nation, ahead of notable programs such as Auburn University, Villanova University and New York University.
“We are delighted to see this ranking for GWU’s online programs by,” said Ben Leslie, GWU provost and executive vice president. “Controlling costs and tuition rates is indeed a priority for Gardner-Webb, because we recognize the critical importance of keeping higher education affordable and achievable for every income bracket. But our greatest priority is ensuring that the online educational experience is of the highest possible quality.”
Students at Gardner-Webb can take online courses to earn credits toward a range of degrees, and some undergraduate programs are offered in online-only formats through the Degree Completion Program (DCP).  In addition, master’s degrees in accounting, business administration, English, international business administration, nursing, and sport pedagogy are also available in online formats at GWU.
Schools are ranked by Accredited Schools Online based on a scoring system that includes key qualitative and quantitative measures including cost/financial aid, number of program offerings, student-teacher ratios, graduation rates, placement and support services offered, academic/career counseling services, employment services and other factors. Other schools in North Carolina to make the top 50 are: North Carolina State University at Raleigh ranked 10th and East Carolina University ranked 25th.

12/14/2016 12:50:11 PM by GWU Communications | with 0 comments

Biblical Recorder gives away prizes at annual meeting

December 14 2016 by BR staff

The Biblical Recorder (BR) booth attracted many visitors during the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s annual meeting Nov. 14-15.

BR photo by Steve Cooke
Allan Blume, right, editor of the Biblical Recorder congratulates prize winner Robert Wise of North Brook Baptist Church in Lincolnton. The Recorder gave away several prizes in the exhibit hall during the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina annual meeting as well as prizes at the Pastor’s Conference, the Minister’s Wives event and via social media outlets Twitter and Facebook. Among the prizes were a Yeti cooler and tumblers as well as handmade pens, Bibles and books.

Each year the BR gives away prizes at the booth and elsewhere to those who register. This year the bigger prizes included a Yeti cooler and tumblers as well as handmade ink pens in the BR’s trademark red. Four women won books at the Nov. 14 North Carolina Baptist Minister’s Wives event, and this was the first year the BR gave away prizes via social media. LifeWay Christian Store in Greensboro donated books and Bibles for the giveaway.
Below is a list of prizes with the winner’s name and church.
• Yeti cooler (booth): Phil Oakley, Center Grove Baptist Church, Clemmons
• Yeti tumbler (via Facebook): Kris Estep, pastor of Barberville Baptist Church, Waynesville
• Yeti tumbler (via Twitter): Scott Talley, student pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Hillsborough
• Yeti tumbler (via Pastor’s Conference program): Stephen Nicholson, Baynes Baptist Church, Burlington
• Yeti tumbler (booth): Elizabeth Gibbs, FBC, Midland
• Yeti tumbler (booth): Robert Wise, North Brook Baptist, Lincolnton
• Pen and Bible: Chuck McKnight, Cobb Memorial Baptist Church
• Pen and Bible: Bud Russell, Mount Vernon, Boone
• Pen and Bible: Ester Brinkman, Dublin FBC
• Pen and copy of Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer: Steve Parker, Lenior
• Copy of Giddy Up, Eunice: Because Women Need Each Other by Sophie Hudson: Diane Smith, Jonesboro Heights Baptist Church, Sanford
• Copy of Giddy Up, Eunice: Because Women Need Each Other by Sophie Hudson: Gladys Campbell, Piney Knob Baptist Church, Rutherfordton
• Copy of She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams: Sarah Maples, Mount Elam Baptist Church, Roseboro
• Copy of She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams: Daisy Chestnut, Evergreen Baptist Church, Rose Hill


12/14/2016 12:45:25 PM by BR staff | with 0 comments

Billy Graham statue finds new home at Ridgecrest

December 13 2016 by Aaron Earls, LifeWay

A larger-than-life statue of evangelist Billy Graham has been installed at its new location at Ridgecrest Conference Center in the North Carolina mountains.
The sale of LifeWay Christian Resources’ 14-acre downtown Nashville campus prompted the move from middle Tennessee to LifeWay’s conference center near Asheville, N.C.

LifeWay photo

The statue was removed from LifeWay earlier this summer and placed in storage until the new site at Ridgecrest was ready. Workers installed the sculpture in October near the main entrance to the conference center, just a few miles from Graham’s mountaintop home.  

Bi-vocational pastor Terrell O’Brien’s sculpture depicts the evangelist in front of a 17-foot-cross with arms outstretched holding an open Bible in his left hand. At the foot of the cross are three nails and a stone inscribed with the words of John 3:16.
“My grandfather is a humble man who would never want to be lifted up or memorialized in this way,” said Will Graham, son of Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “However, there are two great things about that statue that I really appreciate. First, the cross is above all else, and second, my grandfather is holding up the Word of God. Those two things – the cross and the Bible – exemplify my grandfather’s life and decades-long ministry more than anything else.”
Chris Fryer and Matt Samuelson, two Southern Baptist businessmen from Atlanta, donated the sculpture to LifeWay. It was unveiled at the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting and placed on LifeWay’s Nashville property later that year.  

“It was an honor to be at the dedication of the statue in Nashville several years ago with ‘Uncle Cliff’ Barrows, who just went Home to be with Jesus,” said Will Graham. “It’s just as exciting for me to see the statue moved to Ridgecrest.”

LifeWay photo

The Southern Baptist evangelist has preached the gospel to an estimated 215 million people in live audiences in more than 185 countries and territories, with hundreds of millions more having been reached through television, video, film and webcasts.
The author of 33 books, Graham has been listed by Gallup as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World” for 53 straight years and 59 years total. Now in frail health, he recently celebrated his 98th birthday in the western North Carolina home he shared with his wife, Ruth, who died in 2007, and their five children.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Aaron Earls is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources. BR staff contributed to this story.)

12/13/2016 10:26:16 AM by Aaron Earls, LifeWay | with 0 comments

BSC president urges compassion for those ‘crying from the ditches’

December 13 2016 by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor

Timmy Blair, 2016 president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, closed the first day of this year’s Nov. 14-15 annual meeting in Greensboro by urging messengers to have compassion for the downtrodden.

BR photo by Steve Cooke
“You can have religion, but religion won’t give you compassion,” said Timmy Blair during his president’s sermon for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina annual meeting in Greensboro.

He spoke from Luke 10:25-37 in the annual presidential address, “We have an answer for those who cry from the ditches of life. Jesus Christ can change those lives. … We know someone who can set those people free. Jesus Christ can do it. He has the power.”
Blair, who serves as pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier, warned against nominal Christianity, calling for obedience to God and confidence in the gospel.
“You can have religion,” said Blair, “but religion won’t give you compassion. Every church has been placed in every community for a specific reason. That reason is to be a beacon, a shining light, pointing people … to the old rugged cross.”
Near the sermon’s end, actors dramatized unfortunate life situations and cried out for help as they joined Blair on stage, illustrating his point.
“There are people laying in the ditches of life all around us tonight,” Blair emphasized. “Can you hear them?”
He drew everyone’s attention to a cross displayed on the projection screen above the stage.
Pointing, Blair said, “I know a place, a place where there’s hope, a place where there’s help. I know someone that will forgive you. His name is Jesus. Look, go to the cross. There, He can help you.”
Blair has served five consecutive years in BSC official roles: two years as president (2015-16), one year as first vice-president (2014), and two years as second vice-president (2012-13). He was elected in 2015 to serve as president of the 2017 North Carolina Pastor’s Conference (NCPC).
Thanking North Carolina Baptists for his leadership opportunities, Blair said, “What a blessing you have been to me – thank you so much for the privilege to serve you.”
Messengers elected Cameron McGill as the 2017 BSC president. McGill is the immediate past president of the NCPC and pastor of Dublin First Baptist Church.

12/13/2016 10:19:51 AM by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor | with 0 comments

Bet-el led Hispanic churches in CP giving

December 13 2016 by Mike Creswell, BSC Communications

Iglesia Bautista Bet-el (Bet-el Baptist Church) in Lumberton has been honored for leading all other Hispanic Baptist churches in North Carolina in contributions through the Cooperative Program during 2015.

BR photo by Steve Cooke
Pastor Cipriano Morena and his wife, Petra, pose with the award honoring the Cooperative Program giving of their church, Iglesia Bautista Bet-el in Lumberton, N.C. At right is Guillermo Soriano, Hispanic consultant with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Soriano presented the award during the annual Hispanic conference held in conjunction with the convention’s annual meeting at Koury Center.

Bet-el Pastor Cipriano Moreno and his wife, Petra, accepted the award during the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina on Nov. 14 at Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The presentation came during the annual Hispanic conference.
The Cooperative Program (CP) is the unified budget which allows churches of all sizes to support both the state convention’s many missions and ministry programs, plus the Southern Baptist Convention’s missionaries serving around the world and across North America, and the six Southern Baptist seminaries, including Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.
Messengers at the convention’s Annual Meeting approved a CP budget for 2017 totaling $30.375 million, and 40.5 percent of the budget will go to the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention, an increase of .5 percent over the 2016 percentage.
The presentation was the first time a Hispanic church has been so honored and indicates the growing numbers of Hispanic Baptist churches that are partnering with the BSC.
North Carolina Baptists have ramped up outreach and support for Hispanic Baptist churches greatly in recent years as the number of Hispanics in the state has climbed to an estimated total of about 1 million. Hispanics are by far the largest of immigrant peoples now living in North Carolina.
More than 120 Hispanic Baptist churches are now affiliated with the convention, and the number increases each year. Already several Hispanic pastors have served on the convention’s Board of Directors.
The state convention now provides conferences for Hispanics, including a conference at Caswell over Labor Day weekend that draws more than 400 Hispanic young people each year.
Since January 2012, nearly 2,000 Hispanics have accepted Christ as Savior and been baptized in the state as newly-started Hispanic churches made nearly 30,000 evangelistic contacts to share the gospel, according to Mark Gray, leader of the convention’s Church Planting Team.
This year the convention is financially supporting the planting of 10 new Hispanic churches. William Ortega, Hispanic church planting consultant on the Church Planting Team, leads that ministry. He is also working with more than 50 new Hispanic churches across the state to provide training, materials, coaching and other convention resources.
The Nov. 14 Hispanic conference filled one of the Koury center’s larger meeting rooms and was another indication of the growing Hispanic partnership, as were several of the convention’s Spanish-speaking consultants now working with Hispanics.
Convention Hispanic consultants like Guillermo Soriano are meeting regularly with Hispanic pastors and lay leaders for leadership training and disciple making.

Fruitland Baptist Bible College, owned and operated by the state convention, offers classes in Spanish taught by native Spanish speakers and coordinated by Fruitland staffer Roberto Fernandez. Fruitland also offers several satellite centers which teach classes in Spanish.

12/13/2016 10:09:17 AM by Mike Creswell, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

WMU-NC leader highlights purposes

December 13 2016 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

Ladies involved in Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) raise funds for missions, pray and provide mission education for all ages, Amy Pardue Boone said to the messengers of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in Greensboro in her Nov. 14 report.
“I believe that the WMU has a very rich history in impacting lostness, but I believe also that our future is very bright as we teach preschoolers and children and youth and young ladies and adults of all ages,” said Boone, WMU-NC executive director-treasurer.
Boone focused on heroes of the faith during her report.
She shared that both Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong were role models to her. She also mentioned Fannie E.S. Heck, a woman who served 29 years in North Carolina’s WMU. Boone said Heck is the most quoted WMU state president in WMU history.
One of the main reasons WMU was formed was to raise funds for missions. Using the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO), funds are raised for both the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board.
Part of raising awareness of the offerings, WMU offices across the United States are filling orders from churches for materials for the LMCO now and will be working in the spring to get information out about the AAEO.
Another reason for the WMU is prayer, Boone stressed.
“Prayer is the mighty engine that moves the missionary work,” Boone said. “We as Southern Baptists must work much harder to get to know our missionaries. We literally support thousands of missionaries; it’s very easy not to know any of their names.”
Self-funded missionaries have a stronger bond with their supporters because they have to return more often and give reports and raise funds.
But, it was Southern Baptists who helped Boone’s family when they were serving in Mozambique and South Africa. Their salary paid for guards for their home and a vehicle with a winch and an extra fuel tank. The money was also used for malaria medicine and for counseling after Boone was carjacked. It provided two years of language school as well as many Bibles, Jesus films, theology books and agricultural supplies.
This year, “1,123 missionaries had to be sent home because of lack of funds,” Boone said, and “many Baptists did not even know that was happening. We must never allow that to happen again.”
Besides raising funds and prayer, WMU was begun “to provide excellent missions education,” Boone said. “We were the first ones to tell the missionary story.”
Boone shared about one church in Clyde, N.C., who is using Girls in Action (GAs) and Royal Ambassadors (RAs) for afterschool programs. She highlighted one GA director who is now hosting GAs in her home after the flooding in Lumberton after Hurricane Matthew.
A Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) site in Wilmington took some of its ladies on a mission trip to Lumberton to throw a party for a group of GAs. The CWJC women are trying to escape poverty and addiction with the training and mentoring provided. One woman that participated in the mission trip said, “Wow. I love being a missionary.”
CWJC has 18 sites in North Carolina and one in South Africa.
Boone told of a woman who works full time, has four children and faithfully teaches Mission Friends to 28 children. “She is a modern-day hero,” she said. “The leaders that teach GAs, RAs and Mission Friends, they are my heroes.”
While there were many ministries, state and national, that Boone mentioned, she stressed the importance of working together.
“We want to work with you as we impact our world for Christ,” she said.

12/13/2016 10:06:12 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 0 comments

Annual Meeting breakout sessions fuel outreach, discipleship

December 13 2016 by BSC Communications

During the 2016 Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) annual meeting Nov. 14-15 in Greensboro, attendees had the opportunity to attend two of 23 different breakout sessions offered on Tuesday afternoon. The sessions offered training and equipping in a variety of ministry areas. Following is a sample of some of the topics covered.

BR photo by Steve Cooke
Cathy Moffett, who serves on the women’s ministry leadership team at Glen Hope Baptist Church in Burlington, led a breakout session on discipling women through studying the Bible.


Understanding pockets of lostness

BSC strategy coordinators Chuck Campbell and Michael Boarts led a breakout session aimed at helping individuals and churches understand what a pocket of lostness is and how to engage those pockets with the gospel.
The BSC has identified 250 pockets of lostness across the state, 100 of which are located among the eight major population centers.
The remaining 150 are located in smaller cities, towns and communities.

Campbell said pockets of lostness are sites that have the highest concentrations of unreached households in an area which can serve as a starting location for missional activity. Members of the BSC Strategic Focus Team are available to assist directors of missions, pastors and church leaders in identifying pockets of lostness and helping them develop an engagement strategy in those areas.

Discipling a congregation via preaching

Consistent and regular preaching is an important aspect of a pastor’s disciple-making ministry, but it shouldn’t be the only way a pastor makes disciples.

Jim Shaddix, professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary encouraged pastors to model their preaching and disciple-making ministries after those of Jesus.
Jesus preached to the crowds, but as He did, He called individuals to deeper levels of commitment in their walk with Him. By the time He ascended into heaven following the resurrection, Jesus had a core group of disciples who were entrusted with the spread of the gospel.
A pastor’s preaching ministry should also help move individuals from the crowds to deeper levels of commitment, Shaddix said.
“It’s very difficult to be intentional about disciple-making in my preaching if I am not discipling people in my personal life,” Shaddix said.
When considering those who may be ready for a deeper disciple-making commitment, Shaddix encouraged ministers to look for individuals with “HEART” – those who are hungry, engaged, available, reliable and teachable.

Robbing the early college cradle

North Carolina churches have a unique ministry opportunity to reach students of early colleges, which are prevalent in the state.
Early colleges allow students to earn high school and college credits simultaneously. Upon completion, students graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.
More than 100 early colleges are located in North Carolina, equal to about one-third of the total number of early colleges nationwide.
Because these students are too young to be considered college age but are still not in a traditional high school, they can fall through the cracks when it comes to community involvement. Churches can engage these students on the campus with volunteers and support in a variety of ways such as serving as test proctors, providing food, conducting mock job interviews, contributing school supplies and becoming tutors or mentors.
“This builds a trust relationship,” said Jonathan Yarboro, leader of BSC Collegiate Partnerships Team. “Administration begins to trust you, and they begin to open up the doors of the campus greater than you thought would happen, and then a reproducing gospel presence happens.”

12/13/2016 10:00:54 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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