BSC exec: ‘There is much we can accomplish together’
    November 11 2011 by Shawn Hendricks, BR Managing Editor

    God is providing an “open door” for reaching the world with the gospel, and North Carolina Baptists have a tremendous opportunity to make an eternal impact, said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), during his challenge at the Convention’s annual meeting Nov. 7-8.
     
    Hollifield challenged North Carolina to be “all in” in helping all peoples know and trust Jesus. In 2012, the Convention will push to mobilize the state for missions through its “Find it Here: Expanding the Kingdom” effort. It’s the third phase of a three-year initiative designed to encourage North Carolina Baptists in evangelism, discipleship and missions mobilization.
     
    “Followers of Jesus have both a calling and a commission to take the gospel across the street as well as around the world,” Hollifield told the crowd Nov. 7.
     
    “God continues to do some great and wonderful things through this large network of Southern Baptist churches in North Carolina … we have ‘power’ through the call and Great Commission given by our Lord.
     
    “What will we do with this power?” he asked.
     
    Economic, spiritual hurdles
    Hollifield noted North Carolina Baptists face challenges in reaching a lost world for Christ – both here and abroad.
     
    He noted approximately 320,000 jobs have been lost in North Carolina in the last five years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent in the state in September. The state’s Justice Center reported that during 2010 the owners of nearly 68,000 housing units experienced foreclosures.
     
    “I am keenly aware of the economic challenges people in our churches are facing,” he said, noting he and his wife, Gloria, have traveled and seen closed factories and plants and foreclosure signs throughout the state.
     
    “Aren’t you glad that we serve a God who does not have to manage His Kingdom based upon the financial activities of the bulls and bears of Wall Street?” he asked.
    11-11-11edt.jpg

    BSC photo by K Brown

    Milton A. Hollifield Jr. charges messengers to be "all in" in helping all peoples know and trust Jesus Nov. 7 during the first session of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. View the annual meeting photo gallery here.


    “God always provides for our needs.”
     
    Hollifield also remained optimistic that God will help North Carolina Baptists overcome the many spiritual challenges they face in expanding His Kingdom.
     
    With the global population now at 7 billion people, Hollifield noted that there are approximately 4.5 billion people who have not put their trust in Jesus. Of that number there are believed to be 1.7 billion who have little to no access to the gospel.
     
    He noted there is one Southern Baptist missionary for every 2.1 million people.
     
    In North Carolina alone, there are 5.6 million people among 9.4 million who have not put their trust in Jesus – and 79 percent of its residents do not actively attend a church. 
     
    “Despite these statistics, I have hope,” Hollifield said.
     
    “A number of our churches in this Convention have already made a commitment to pierce the darkness … to reach souls for the glory of Christ Jesus.” 
     
    “God is blessing their efforts, their strategies, and their ministries,” he said.
     
    A call to all N.C. Baptists
    Hollifield challenged all North Carolina Baptists to join the 2012 emphasis in mobilizing for missions.
     
    With the help of God and fellow North Carolina Baptists, Hollifield remains confident that anything is possible.
     
    “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,” he said.
     
    “It should go without saying that we can accomplish nothing apart from the providential aid of our God.”
     
    An important guide for achieving its goal, Hollifield contends, will involve remaining consistent with what he referred to as the “Seven Pillars for Ministry.”
     
    These pillars include: practicing fervent prayer, promoting evangelism and disciple-making, strengthening existing churches, planting new multiplication churches, reaching North Carolina’s international community, embracing unreached and unengaged people groups and engaging young church leaders. The list has been revised from an earlier version, which was highlighted in the Biblical Recorder from July through October.
     
    “As core values, the seven pillars keep us focused on our vision, help us move from facilitating good ministry to facilitating great ministry, and keep us from looking inward by continually challenging us to look outward and upward as we develop strategies for missions and ministry,” he said.
     
    Last year the Convention formed a Vision Fulfillment Committee, tasked to gather input from North Carolina Baptists on the fulfillment of its long-range strategy. 
     
    The Vision Fulfillment Committee submitted a full report, which has been posted on the Convention’s website along with Hollifield’s convention report.
     
    Cooperation remains a key element in achieving the Convention’s goals. That cooperation, Hollifield added, is achieved through efforts such as the Cooperative Program, in which churches pull their funds together to support Southern Baptist ministries.
     
    “Each local church, regardless of size, can have an equal part in supporting missions when they give an adequate percentage of their income and combine it with contributions from other Southern Baptist churches,” he said.
     
    “The Cooperative Program rose out of the conviction that Baptists can accomplish so much more together than they can independently of one another.”
    11/11/2011 2:30:40 PM by Shawn Hendricks, BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, EDT, Milton A. Hollifield Jr.




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