North Carolina Baptists who made news in 2017
    December 28 2017 by Biblical Recorder staff

    Walter Strickland 
    Walter Strickland was elected as first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) during the 2017 annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. He was also promoted to associate vice president of Kingdom Diversity Initiatives at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in Wake Forest, N.C. Strickland was formerly the special advisor to the president for diversity. Strickland also transitioned from an instructor of theology to assistant professor of systematic theology at SEBTS. In June, he received a research doctoral degree from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and previously received graduate degrees from SEBTS. He was also active, along with other SBC leaders, in calling U.S. lawmakers to provide a long-term, legislative solution for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.


    Rick Holbrook 
    Rick Holbrook, longtime director of the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell, retired at the end of May after 32 years of service. Holbrook helped transform the coastal retreat and conference center from what was primarily a seasonal summer facility to a year-round destination. Under Holbrook’s leadership, Fort Caswell experienced unprecedented growth in both facilities and number of guests. Holbrook also helped expand the number and types of camps, conferences, retreats and activities hosted at Caswell. Throughout his tenure, Holbrook kept Caswell focused on ministry opportunities. Since 2003, more than 6,000 individuals have made first-time professions of faith during the annual summer youth weeks held at Caswell, and thousands more have surrendered to full-time vocational ministry. One of those who answered a call to ministry at Caswell as a youth was Brian Hemphill, who succeeded Holbrook as the facility’s director on June 1. Prior to Holbrook’s retirement, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina announced that a central section of Caswell property that houses a cottage and other residential buildings would be named Holbrook Village to honor his legacy.


    Young Pastors Network leaders 
    The Young Pastors Network, led by Matt Capps, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex; John Mark Harrison, pastor of Apex Baptist Church; and Clay Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church in Matthews; and others, held its second annual dinner during the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s annual meeting in Greensboro. More than 125 young church leaders shared a meal, discussed ministry challenges and received encouragement to join the cooperative work of the convention. The network’s leaders addressed important issues for North Carolina Baptists throughout the year in interviews with the Biblical Recorder. Capps and Harrison encouraged the next generation of church leaders to build relationships, share resources, learn from one another and talk about how to “steward our future together.” Smith called attention to a looming generational crisis noted in a Barna Group study that showed only about 14 percent of Protestant clergy are under age 40, and the number of church leaders over 65 has tripled in the last 25 years.


    Lee Pigg
    Lee Pigg, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe, was elected as the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) president for 2018. Pigg ran unopposed at the 2017 annual meeting and was nominated by Timmy Blair, pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier. Blair served two terms as president of BSC in 2015-2016. Pigg agreed to the nomination after Cameron McGill, pastor of Dublin First Baptist Church, announced he would not run for a second term as BSC president. Pigg also served four years on the Biblical Recorder’s board of directors and as president of the board in 2017.


    J.D. Greear
    In an informal meeting in 2016, Steve Gaines, who was then-candidate for Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president, offered to nominate his contender, J.D. Greear, for the presidency in 2018 after Greear offered to withdraw from the 2016 election. Greear, who serves as pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Gaines, senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., had both considered withdrawing from the race due to concerns about division in the convention. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS), recounted the exchange in a panel discussion hosted by Baptist 21 at the 2017 SBC annual meeting. Gaines was elected by acclamation in both 2016 and 2017. The Biblical Recorder asked Greear whether he would run in 2018 if nominated. He said, “When it comes time for 2018 presidential nominations, I’ll be open to whatever God wants. But I believe it most honors God to consider things in their own time.” Greear also took part in multiple events throughout the year, such as the Reaching the Nations Conference in October at SEBTS in Wake Forest.

    12/28/2017 11:03:05 AM by Biblical Recorder staff | with 0 comments
    Filed under: BSC Annual Meeting 2017, Caswell, SBC Annual Meeting 2017

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