November 2010

BCH dedicates Camp Duncan, fulfills dream

November 18 2010 by J. Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications

Nearly 500 guests who have shared the dream of a wilderness camp for girls, based on the Cameron Boys Camp model, helped to dedicate Camp Duncan for girls in Aberdeen Oct. 30.

“Ladies and gentlemen … dreams do come true,” Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) President Michael C. Blackwell announced to the crowd.

Several attempts through the years to create a girls camp fell short. But when the late Haskell and Gay Duncan made their expansive residential property in Aberdeen available to BCH, they provided the ideal location. Now, during BCH’s 125th anniversary and 30 years after the opening of Cameron Boys Camp, Camp Duncan for girls has arrived.

BCH photo

Arwen Hays, a counselor at Camp Duncan, gives a tour of the girls’ campsite to guests attending the dedication. Girls will live at the campsite with Arwen and other female counselors as part of the therapeutic camping program.

“This is God’s timing,” Blackwell proclaimed. “When God opens the door you have to be ready to move through it. That is what has happened with Camp Duncan.”

Through the help of North Carolina Baptist Men, contractor Chuck Scott, and hundreds of volunteer laborers, BCH has repurposed the Duncan’s residential land and its existing facilities for the camp.

“There has been so much support ... so many churches involved in building Camp Duncan,” said Camp Duncan Director Paul Daley, a 30-year veteran of BCH, most of which he spent directing Cameron Boys Camp.

“You are part of building a spiritual heritage. It’s all about Jesus and what He’s wanted us to do.”

Since early 2009, more than 2,000 volunteers have worked to transform the property.

“The volunteer efforts and numerous donations have been vital,” Blackwell said. “Without the overwhelming generosity of North Carolina Baptists and so many others there would be no Camp Duncan.”

Camp Duncan will serve school-aged girls. The children will live outside year round in a highly-structured, wilderness environment. Three female staff members called chiefs have been hired to serve as the counselors to the initial group of 10 girls. The goal is to help girls and their families overcome the challenges and obstacles in their lives and reunify the household.

Like all of BCH’s programs, Camp Duncan is Christ-centered. A very special place on the property is the outdoor chapel where the girls will worship

“This has been one of the most remarkable years ever at BCH,” Blackwell said, “And the dedication of Camp Duncan is one of the events that has made it even more remarkable.”  
11/18/2010 7:27:00 AM by J. Blake Ragsdale, BCH Communications | with 0 comments

‘Bionic’ men, women make up N.C. Baptist Men

November 18 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) volunteers respond. When disaster strikes, they pack up and move out. In 2010 Baptist Men have already covered 14 different disasters and performed 800 disaster recovery jobs involving 10,000 volunteer days.

“These are bionic men and women,” shared a woman who was helped through one of the NCBM mission camps — Red Springs and Shelby. Her house had been condemned, but through the work of volunteers, she can now feel safe. “We want to take compassion out into a hurting world,” said Larry Osborne, coordinator for Red Springs.

With five large disaster relief feeding units, North Carolina Baptist Men can feed up to 70,000 people in a day.

In the annual report to messengers of the Baptist State Convention Nov. 9, NCBM Executive Director Richard Brunson thanked messengers “for praying, giving and going.” The North Carolina Mission Offering is split between NCBM, church planting, mission work camps, mobilization ministry projects and associational projects. “Every Christian is called, gifted and sent,” Brunson said.

He said God “delights in taking ordinary people and using them as only God can do.”

Some highlights:

Through Aviation Missions, more than 300 medical mercy flights have been provided.

Two 40-foot medical/dental buses have allowed 1,500 dentists, hygienists and nurses to volunteer.

Almost 1,300 students participated in Deep Impact Student Missions.

Brunson also talked about some of NCBM’s 15 different partnerships.

More than 600 volunteers have worked in Vermont and Pennsylvania this year, and around 345 have gone to the Rocky Mountain region.

The Hawaii-Pacific Partnership is requesting help renovating its version of Caswell, N.C.’s retreat center.

Since North Carolina Baptist Men have been partnering with Armenia, the number of churches and baptized believers have more than doubled.

About 250 volunteers worked in Honduras and 100 went to work with partnership in Cuba.

In Haiti, 50,000 people have been treated by medical teams since the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Through its partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, 500 shelters have been built. More than 500 volunteers have gone already this year.

Before the 2004 tsunami churches in Sri Lanka were few and could expect persecution. Now, because of the work of volunteers, hundreds have come to know Christ.

In Kenya, volunteer teams can construct four houses in a short mission trip.

In one of the most unreached people of the world and the poorest state in India, Baptist Men are working in Bihar, India, to help villages have access to clean water. In the last four years 500 wells have been built. Churches or groups can adopt a village and provide a well, medical clinic, Bibles, hymnals, and church planters working with villages.

“God is doing amazing things in Bihar,” Brunson said.

In 2011, Baptist Men start a new partnership in Guatemala. Volunteers are needed to build a leadership training center.

“Thank you for allowing us to help you be a missionary,” said Brunson.  
11/18/2010 7:00:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 1 comments

Theme emphasizes discipleship

November 18 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

Building on the evangelism emphasis of last year, this year’s e3.2 theme at the Baptist State Convention (BSC) focuses on discipleship — encountering God, embracing Christ, expanding the kingdom.

Four speakers shared about the discipleship emphasis:  

Bruce Frank, pastor of Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden.
People want honest, authentic encounters, Frank said. His move from a tropical climate to the mountains around Asheville exposed him to new challenges.

While he admits he’d like to stay some mornings in his toasty bed, “I get up ‘cause I’ve got kids that need breakfast,” he said. “I get up because I have responsibilities.”

Too often pastors and even lay people get comfortable.

“We’ve got to get out of that warm spot,” he said. “God’s got great plans for you.”

People who are different are not the enemy. “They are our mission field,” Frank said. “When I read my Bible these are the people (Jesus) died for.”

Only the grace of God has saved Frank from the same fate.  

Bruce Martin, pastor of Village Baptist Church, Fayetteville.
People being engulfed by storm cried out to Jesus in the boat.

“The gates of hell are as wide open as they’ve every been in history,” Martin said. “A torrent of filth has been spewed. Evil has a freedom in America that it has never had before.”

What do we do?

Martin wondered if Jesus is taking a nap “waiting for His people to cry out.”  

Ryan Pack, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.
Seeing the banners displaying the words of the BSC’s theme “should energize us.”

What would it mean for people in the community to embrace Christ? “I get all excited,” Pack said.

But how is it going to happen? Better programming? Better worship? Neither.

But Pack said to turn to Eph. 3:20-21 and focus on who is able.

“We may not be able to pull off certain things,” Pack said, “but we serve the One who is able.”

The phrase, “now to him who is able,” comforts Pack.

“I am convicted by that first phrase,” he said. “Friends so often we strut around like we are able. God will not move until we turn our ability over to Him and off of our shoulders.”

Whatever the grandest scheme you can concoct for ministry is “rubbish compared to what God wants to do.”

People should base “every ounce of ministry on His ability.”

God’s power should be flowing out of His people.

“It’s not about my ability as a pastor to pull things off,” Pack said, “not because we’re trained enough (or) good enough but because of God’s grace.”  

Mike Cummings, director of missions of Burnt Swamp Baptist Association.
Discipling believers is a challenging undertaking.

“The concept has to be bought into by the churches,” said Cummings, who pointed out that with more than 16 million members, Southern Baptists don’t know where around 60 percent of its members are on a given Sunday.

“It’s not an encouraging picture at all when you look at our denomination,” Cummings said about the lack of nourishment of a steady diet of God’s word and fellowship with believers.

A main problem is the assumptions or presuppositions made about believers Cummings fears that North Carolina Baptists may “not have as regenerate church membership as we think we have.”

Some leaders are discipling people who don’t have a certainty about being saved.

Cummings said looking at church roles “may be the best way to know who to win for the gospel.”

America has become too accommodating, Cummings said, highlighting welcoming other religions.

Believers don’t stress that Jesus provides the only way to heaven.

“Making disciples is a challenge,” he said. “It’s a challenge to keep clarity.”

The undertaking is tremendous but necessary.  

Marcus Redding, pastor of Hull’s Grove Baptist Church, Vale.
In Matthew when Jesus talks about the original Great Commission, readers miss out on the part that says “Jesus came and spake unto them,” Redding said.

But pastors too fail to read all of the Great Commission.

“It’s King Jesus who has commanded us to make disciples,” Redding said. “Pastor, who are you discipling?”

Pointing to the Convention leadership on the platform behind him, Redding pleaded with messengers not to follow these men but to instead follow Christ.

“We’ve been given our blueprints by our King,” said Redding, who said he learns lessons on a daily basis.

He also pointed out that the Convention has materials available to help churches with discipleship. It is the 2011 focus of Find It Here.
11/18/2010 6:52:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Baptist hospital, foundation maintain excellence tradition

November 18 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

North Carolina Baptist Hospital (NCBH) has come a long way since 1923 when it was established as an 88-bed facility. The hospital now owns and/or operates facilities in other counties in the state and is a 1,000-plus bed hospital system.

Although health care faces unprecedented change, “in the midst of that some things remain the same,” said Paul Mullen during the Hospital’s report Nov. 10 at the Baptist State Convention’s annual meeting. Mullen is NCBH’s church and community relations director.

NCBH continues seeking to provide exceptional service that is faith-centered and offering “compassionate care to every patient” that is focused on sharing God’s love.

Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences comprise Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Mullen described the Medical Center as one of “tremendous vitality, world-class services and an ever expanding campus.” The Medical Center continues to be recognized as one of “America’s Best Hospitals.”

The Cooperative Program helps make the hospital’s ministry possible and as a result “people with no faith or shattered faith are finding hope,” Mullen said.

Mullen also brought an update on its partnership with Bangalore Baptist Hospital in India. NCBH made the first financial contribution to Project BELIEVE, an effort to help fight against cancer in Bangalore.

About 7,000 cancer cases are diagnosed each year in Bangalore, and most do not have access to any type of medical treatment.

Mullen shared that God has answered the prayers for help in India, as this month Bangalore Baptist Hospital treated its first patient in the new radiology/oncology department.

The North Carolina Baptist Foundation also brought a report Nov. 10 via a video greeting from Convention and Foundation employees. This year the Foundation celebrates 90 years of “generating an increased awareness of Christian estate stewardship principles as a means of financially undergirding churches, institutions, and mission endeavors on a permanent basis.”

The Foundation is the oldest Baptist foundation in America and now manages more than $128 million in assets. Clay Warf, executive director of the foundation, encouraged North Carolina Baptists to take advantage of opportunities to give to Kingdom causes through estate planning. The Foundation assists individuals in maintaining careful stewardship of resources in order to ensure their legacy will be one of continued support for Christian ministries.

The Foundation also works with North Carolina Baptists in setting up charitable endowments and preparing a will. A church loan program is available to help churches as they seek to increase their ministry efforts through renovations or expansions.

Warf challenged North Carolina Baptists to commit a tithe of their estate to Kingdom work. “The size of the gift is not important,” he said. “What is important is the commitment to the tithe.”
11/18/2010 6:50:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Ezell urges pastors not to isolate themselves

November 17 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Kevin Ezell, new president of the North American Mission Board, urged pastors not to isolate or insulate themselves from the pains of people, no matter how large or small their church.

Preaching at the annual pastors’ conference, held this year for the first time at the same site as the annual Convention sessions, Ezell said the grief that Christians at Ephesus in Acts 20 declared at the Apostle Paul’s leaving them demonstrated he was intimately involved in their lives.

Kevin Ezell, elected  Sept. 14 by a split vote of trustees, was transparent and personable as he reminded pastors “most will not be judged by how we arrived but by how we depart.”

Even though pastors sometimes “pour your life into people and sometimes they respond and sometimes nothing happens” and even though ”sometimes you invest and invest and invest and there is nothing there … we never get to the point where we insulate ourselves from the cares of people.”

Paul told his disciples they were all going to Jerusalem and even though he warned them “it’s going to get ugly” that didn’t change their perspective. Too often that is unlike the response of American Christians, he said. “We have become so spoiled.”

The only unanimous vote Ezell ever has received was the 7-0 call to his first church, he said. “We have a comfort zone and we like it and we typically stay in it.”

Ezell and his wife have six children, including three adopted from three different nations. Orphanage officials warned Ezell to be careful when he took his newly adopted 11-year-old to the hotel because J.M. had never felt hot water. The orphanage had none.

Of course, after Ezell demonstrated the controls for J.M.’s first hot water shower, the boy stayed in there for 45 minutes and declared it “wonderful.”

“Most 11-year-olds in America want an IPod, he just wants warm water,” Ezell said. “ Most of us forget where we’ve come from.”

For weeks J.M. woke Ezell with the promise that “I will be a good son for you today.” 

“If only every believer would wake up and go to bed every night with the same intent as we bow our knees to pray and say ‘God, I will be a good son for you, I will be a good daughter for you and will do my best to please you every day and night.’”

Ezell asked pastors to consider what people will remember when they look at their ministries. He said he has done many funerals during his ministry and it is easier to personalize the funeral of a deceased whom he knows. He needs more input from a distant family.

So he asks some questions to be able to relate the personality of the deceased. When one family member said of his mother, “She was the meanest woman I know,” Ezell said, “That’s not going to work.”

“It is amazing how people can live 80 years and their life is summarized in just a few seconds,” he said. “Take a stop watch and time the things you really value. What difference will it make that you were really here?” 

Call to personal holiness
A late substitute for Johnny Hunt who was trying to trim his schedule, frequent pastor’s conference speaker Don Wilton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C., called pastors to personal holiness.

Preaching from Galatians 5 Wilton spoke frankly and said, “Young pastors aren’t lining up to stand beside us because of our conduct.”

He lamented the conduct of pastors that makes secular headlines and tells the world they do not believe what they have preached. “We can meet until the cows come home,” he said, “but unless we ask God to take hold of our hearts and change us from inside out … you will not be able to do the things that you imagine you can do.”

He said legalism has “crept into the ranks of our Southern Baptist denomination” and that “we have become a denomination of boasters and braggers and preachers who stand up in self-aggrandizement.”

From this chapter Wilton said for those who claim to love Christ, there will be revealing sin, releasing love, and reflecting results. 

“Fewer and fewer people want to come to church because they watch the behavior of our people,” Wilton said.

They see the sexual sin, the worship sin and the character sin.

He said just the previous day another pastor in his hometown fell to sexual sin. “Is there someone here today committing adultery?” he asked as he peered with piercing eyes over the crowd. “Are you that man?”

While God says such sinners will not inherit the Kingdom, Wilton says Baptists have “become powder puffs in the pulpit because we don’t believe it.”

Instead of preaching and living with boldness, Wilton said, “We have another convention and write another ding dong resolution about the Great Commission.”

“One reason so many people don’t want to come hear people like you and me is because we behave like dipsticks,” he said. “We’ve cultivated a people who come not to hear what God wants them to hear but what they want to hear.”

He emphasized that only a pastor’s personal holiness, of the kind that asks, “Lord what is it that You would say to me,” and “Father how can we lead those young people,” will inspire and lead others to new life.

“The role of evangelism is not complete until the evangelized become evangelists,” he said. “We have to understand that the fundamental responsibility of the evangelist is to be holy because God is holy.”  

Pastor’s Conference officers
Lee Pigg Jr. was elected as pastor’s conference president-elect, which means he will take the helm in 2012. He is pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe.

Scott Faw was elected vice president and Dale Robertson was elected treasurer for the 19th time.

This year’s president-elect Bobby Blanton, assumes the role of president for 2011’s conference. Blanton is president of the Board of Directors for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and pastor of Lake Norman Baptist Church in Huntersville.
11/17/2010 5:59:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

Doing jobs important for family members

November 17 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

Living in a glass house, pastors face a lot of pressure.

“It’s absolutely essential if we are to do well, to finish well, to have a healthy marriage,” said Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.

Akin, who has been married 32 years, said his wedding day has been the second best day in his life — second to his salvation experience at 18.

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivers a sermon about pastors and their families as part of the annual Pastor’s Conference.

“(It’s) important to have lady who will wrap (her arms around you),” Akin said Nov. 8 during the annual Pastor’s Conference. “(It) makes a huge difference when those difficult times come.”

Pastors face demands on their time from their family and their church. Using Col. 3:18-21, Akin stressed the importance of the job descriptions given in scripture.

Husbands, wives, children and fathers each have job descriptions.

Yielding her will, a wife honors Christ by submitting to her husband, Akin said. This submission does not mean inferiority in any way.

Husbands are commanded to love their wives. Akin pointed out that the command to husbands involves two imperatives, indicating a continuous action.

“The love he is talking about there is a decision, a volitional act of your will,” Akin said. “You love her even when she’s not lovely.”

Akin told the pastors to look at the cross and “see how He loved you.

“He, in amazing grace, loved you.”

The love here, Akin said, is one of sacrifice.

The imperatives also included a warning against husbands being harsh or bitter toward their wives.

“Bitterness is a cancer to the soul,” Akin said. “Bitterness will eat up a man of God.”

Nothing exists in ministry that is more dangerous than bitterness, Akin said.

“It eats you up,” he said, but doesn’t bother the other person. “Bitterness is a cancer of the soul.” Colossians also tells children to obey their parents “in everything,” he said. “I believe we are to obey comprehensively not absolutely,” in that children and pastors should not to do anything illegal, immoral, unethical or unbiblical.

“We’re not CEOs or autocrats,” Akin said. “We’re shepherds.”

But Akin said if children have to choose between their parents and God, parents should lose.

Colossians also shares an imperative for fathers to encourage their children.

“We as men are called to lead our houses,” Akin said. “They do listen to what you say and they care what you think about them.”

Fathers should build their children up.

At the end of Akin’s sermon, he turned to talk of the Great Commission Task Force report.

“At its soul is getting of the gospel to the nations,” Akin said.

Pastors are the key to a resurgence of the Great Commission.

“It’s all on you,” Akin said. “I’m passing the baton.”

The back of the report contains challenges. One section was on families.

Akin shared seven of the nine challenges with pastors:
  1. Emphasize biblical gender roles with fathers taking the lead for spiritual warfare of their families.
  2. Build gospel-saturated homes.
  3. Develop strategies for sharing the gospel.
  4. Adopt a different unreached people group; pray for a month.
  5. Adopt a different church plant a month or year, praying and supporting.
  6. Spend family vacation participating in a mission trip.
  7. Consider setting up a missions savings account for child or grandchild.
To learn more about the family as well as other challenges from the Great Commission Task Force report visit
11/17/2010 5:54:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

How valuable is your soul?

November 17 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

Whether the economy is up or down, people still find ways to spend a lot of money on unusual items. Two years ago the most expensive shirt ever made sold for $46,000. In Hong Kong, a six-karat diamond went for $7.9 million.

People spend so much money on stuff because they don’t see it as just stuff — they see it as a means of acquiring value. When that happens, people are looking for joy in something that is temporary and will ultimately never satisfy. They are, in essence, selling their soul for a life far less superior than what God intended when He created them.

“The most precious thing we possess is our soul,” said Stephen Rummage Nov. 7 to the group gathered at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro for the Pastor’s Conference. Yet, “people sell their souls” every day. With every passing second, three people in the world die without knowing Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. “What do we feel?” Rummage asked. “Where is the burden for us to tell the gospel?”

Rummage spoke from Mark 8:31-38. “I want to be a personal soul winner,” he said. “I want to be a pulpit soul winner. If you haven’t preached the gospel, you haven’t preached a Christian sermon.”

Jesus gave His life to redeem sinful souls. “It was the only price that could be paid,” Rummage said. “Jesus took every step to Calvary because that was the only price that could be paid for your soul.”

Rummage said one reason people do not share the gospel with nonbelievers is because they think that, despite what the Bible says about Jesus being the only way to God, nonbelievers will still be OK when they die and won’t really go to hell. “The lost won’t be OK. Jesus is the only way,” Rummage said.

The only response to a love as amazing as the love Jesus has shown to His children is total surrender. As Mark 8:34 says, believers must deny themselves and follow Christ. To deny self means to not just give up something, but “to say no to you as the dominating force in your life,” Rummage said. Jesus Christ must be the dominating force, and believers must be willing to die for Jesus and to follow Him.

“The only way to come to Jesus is to come with complete surrender,” Rummage said. “If you want to save your life, let it go so you can receive life.”

People will not receive the gospel and Jesus as Savior if they do not understand they need to be saved, and so believers must share the entire gospel and share about a Savior who changes lives. “We have so cheapened the gospel that a lost world is not even interested in it,” Rummage said. “Real salvation is worth having.”

Jesus Christ calls His followers to be soul-winners because He values every soul. From excuses to calling it religion, people play games with their soul all the time.

As bad as that is, what’s worse, what’s “criminal” as Rummage said, is when the church and when believers play games with a person’s soul. And when believers do not share the gospel with lost people, that’s exactly what they are doing.  
11/17/2010 5:53:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

Recorder report names editor search committee

November 17 2010 by BR staff

Incoming board chair Gerald Hodges named a five-member committee that will be responsible for finding a new editor during the Biblical Recorder’s report to messengers Nov. 9.

Hodges, pastor of Westwood Baptist Church in Roxboro, quoting from the book Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey, said the ambition that pleases God is focused on God, and is confident that “even in falling short of His goals we still stand in His redeeming grace.”

“As an agency we have as our aim and ambition that this publication will glorify God, build up the churches and edify our king,” Hodges said.

BSC photo by K Brown

Gerald Hodges, incoming chairman of the Biblical Recorder’s board of trustees shares the names of the search committee for the new editor. Hodges is pastor of Westwood Baptist Church in Roxboro.

Although the Biblical Recorder has been a part of North Carolina Baptist life for 177 years Hodges admitted he has been among those who at one time thought it irrelevant. It was “too far down the pile on my desk, too moderate, too dated in format,” he said.

“I was wrong,” he said. “The Recorder is an important source of information” and he wants to see that perception changed. The Biblical Recorder board “understands where we are as a Convention and understands where we’re headed,” he said.

Hodges asked for “prayerful support as we seek to build God’s Kingdom through the Biblical Recorder.”

He commended those who remain on staff after the resignation of Editor Norman Jameson Oct. 21. Assistant Managing Editor Dianna Cagle, Office Manager Alison Zogby and Circulation Manager Amie Moore are “absolutely committed to serving North Carolina Baptists and absolutely committed to working out God’s call in their lives as they work at the Recorder,” he said.

Hodges said the search committee will consist of himself, incoming director Jo Andrews, a member of Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro; and board members Robert Hefner, a staff member at Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville; Richard Hicks, interim pastor at East Lumberton Baptist Church, and Don Warren, a member of Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia. 

“We’re completely aware that it’s difficult,” Hodges said. “But we are absolutely confident of God’s sovereign hand in and over these circumstances.”

In a phone conversation Nov. 15, Hodges said the hope is for the search committee to meet in early December “before the holidays get cranked up.”

At that time they will formalize a job description as well as a timeline for having a new editor in place.

Jameson will continue as editor through Dec. 31. Nominations will be accepted at Biblical Recorder, P.O. Box 18808, Raleigh, NC 29619-8808. Attn: Search Committee.

Phone calls to Hodges’ office at (336) 599-1982; e-mail: with subject: Biblical Recorder Search Committee.  

Emergency surgery
Jameson, who had surgery Nov. 10, is at his home in Raleigh recovering. His severe abdominal pain was caused from adhesions and scar tissue built up where his appendix was removed 30 years ago. Doctors operated later that day.
11/17/2010 5:47:00 AM by BR staff | with 2 comments

Find it Here 2011 introduced to messengers

November 17 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

After spending a year focusing on evangelism, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) moves on to focus on discipleship.

Find it Here, a three-year statewide evangelism emphasis, kicked off its second year Nov. 9 at the BSC annual meeting.

Evangelism is the first step, but the command of Jesus Christ to every believer is to make disciples — not just converts.

In light of that command, the Find it Here 2011: Embracing Christ emphasis is discipleship.

Lynn Sasser, executive leader for congregational services, read the theme verse of John 15:8 and explained that a disciple is one who “abides in Christ and does the things that Jesus did.”

The Find it Here presentation featured video interviews with pastors about the importance of discipleship. Leon Hawks, pastor of Crosspointe Church in Concord, said the first step in making disciples is to “be a disciple yourself. You cannot expect your church to do what you aren’t doing.”

Sean Cordell, pastor of Treasuring Christ Church in Raleigh, said discipleship encompasses all that Jesus commanded His followers to do. Cordell shared that for a long time he “equated discipleship with knowing and being able to tell other people.”

However, telling other people often came in the classroom setting in the form of teaching and he neglected other discipleship contexts such as the home. Cordell is now intent on making his home a place where his family is discipled.

Sasser explained that Find it Here 2011 does not dismiss measuring sticks such as baptism numbers, but seeks to expand the scorecard when it comes to evaluating church effectiveness.

The expanded scorecard must include whether or not churches are leading people to life transformation through a discipleship journey.

Ultimate success is to “see people following Christ and living on mission,” Sasser said. Chuck Register, executive leader for church planting and missions development, led messengers in a time of commitment. Register asked messengers willing to commit to intentional discipleship in 2011 to turn in a response card signifying this commitment.

Churches can also sign up or get resources at

Don McCutcheon, executive leader for evangelization, shared testimonials from the first year’s emphasis on evangelism.

McCutcheon reported about Woodlawn Baptist Church in Conover, where 26 people made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and six were baptized Easter Sunday.

Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell baptized 11 people Easter Sunday and saw its second highest attendance ever.

For six months leading up to Easter Sunday Hephzibah members committed to increasing their efforts to be intentionally evangelistic and during that time 26 people were baptized.

Register also previewed the next and final Find it Here emphasis: Expanding the Kingdom.

The 2011 annual meeting will launch an intentional focus on missions and taking the gospel to unreached people groups of the world that have never had an opportunity to hear the gospel.
11/17/2010 5:41:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

GC office hopes churches work together

November 17 2010 by BR staff

Pastors serving on the frontlines need help from North Carolina Baptists.

“We are plan A and there is no plan B,” said Mike Sowers, senior consultant in the Baptist State Convention’s (BSC) Office of Great Commission Partnerships (GCP).

Sowers shared an update Nov. 9 with BSC messengers to the annual meeting.

There are 6.2 billion people in the world without a personal relationship with Christ. North Carolina measures 5.6 million lost.

Sowers credited each person with the problem. The GCP office works with Metro New York Baptist Association (MNYBA), Boston, Toronto, and starting in 2011, Moldova. N.C. Baptist leaders trekked to New York earlier this year to begin to cast a vision for the partnership between BSC and MNYBA.

More than 400 volunteers have gone to help existing ministries and to develop technological resources. Proceeds from the sale of Ethnicity, a book published in New York, will go towards church planting in New York. The book profiles 82 of New York’s most unreached people groups. In North America, there are 258 million lost people.

Sowers said that in Boston there are 4.5 million residents and less than 2.5 percent know Jesus as Savior. North Carolina plans to strengthen its ability to train, send and support missionaries here and in each of its partnership areas. Focusing on metro Toronto narrows the partnership with Canada quite considerably. But Sowers said this will allow workers to focus on a target area.

To help churches, Sowers said the office is developing global impact networks. “For many small churches they can’t do this alone,” Sowers said.

Another key is “equipping our young leaders,” he said. “The eternity of 6.2 billion people is at stake.”
11/17/2010 5:39:00 AM by BR staff | with 0 comments

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