November 4 2015 by Emily Rojas, BSCNC Communications

    The Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, met on Monday, Nov. 2 in conjunction with the convention’s Annual Meeting. During this meeting the committee approved a proposal to form a new team to meet the growing need for church revitalization across North Carolina, as well as other staff reassignments.
     
    The newly-formed Church Health and Revitalization Team comes as a result of the convention staff’s research into the continued decline in church health. Between 2007 and 2012, only 27 percent of churches cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention experienced growth. In addition, more than 3,500 churches across all denominational lines close their doors every year.
     
    Milton A. Hollifield Jr., the convention’s executive director-treasurer, stressed a need for churches to not only grow, but to become outwardly focused – to become a force for missions and disciple-making both locally and abroad.
     
    However, turning a church’s focus outward isn’t that simple. For a church to become outwardly focused, it must first work on solving its own internal issues, said Lynn Sasser, the executive leader of the Evangelism and Discipleship Group, who explained the proposal to the committee.
     
    Hollifield announced the establishment of the new team and the new strategy for church revitalization to messengers attending this year’s Annual Meeting during his executive director-treasurer’s report on Tuesday morning.
     
    In his report to messengers, Hollifield shared that Brian Upshaw, the current leader of the Disciple-making Team, has been selected to lead the Church Health and Revitalization Team. Under Upshaw’s  leadership, the new team will seek out contract workers to engage churches in revitalization efforts. The new strategy will focus on the development of each participating church’s leadership, then the church’s internal ministry, and finally, the church’s external mission.
     
    Because the team will consist mostly of contract workers, Upshaw and Patti Cardwell, the team leader assistant, will be the team’s only full-time employees.
     
    “I hope that (the team) is going to be like a breath of fresh air (to our churches),” Hollifield said.
     
    The committee also voted during the meeting to reclassify a current staff position to reach North Carolina’s growing Hispanic population. The newly developed Hispanic strategy coordinator position will be assigned to the Strategic Focus Team. Antonio Santos, the current leader of the Church Strengthening Team, will fill this position.
     
    Brian Davis, the convention’s associate executive director-treasurer, said that the creation of Santos’ new position is a necessary step in reaching the growing numbers of lost Hispanic people groups in the state.
     
    “We’re always trying to evaluate how to best position our staff to fulfill our strategy to impact lostness through disciple-making,” Davis said. “There is a need to help coordinate efforts not only in the population centers, but beyond."
     
    Statistics show that by 2025, the Hispanic population in the state is estimated to increase by 1 million. Santos will join the convention’s other strategy coordinators in assisting church and associational leaders in the eight population centers where the 100 most concentrated pockets of lostness are found. However, Santos will also work with church and association leaders in the rural areas across the state based on the growth of Hispanic people groups in these areas as well.
     
    Siler City, for example, has a population that is 50 percent Hispanic, but the city itself is outside  of the Strategic Focus Team’s population centers. These centers represent pockets of lostness within the state where the convention has put ongoing, strategic disciple-making efforts in place. Santos will lead a coordinated effort to make disciples specifically in areas where there is a high Hispanic population.
     
    Neal Eller, currently  the stewardship consultant on the Church Strengthening Team, will take responsibility of team leader for the Church Strengthening Team. Eller will continue to provide consultation regarding stewardship in his new role as team leader.
     
    For more information about church revitalization contact Brian Upshaw at (800) 395-5102 ext. 5632 or bupshaw@ncbaptist.org. For more information about engaging Hispanic people groups contact Antonio Santos at (800) 395-5102 ext. 5642 or asantos@ncbaptist.org.
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Emily Rojas is a part-time writer for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)

    11/4/2015 11:36:29 AM by Emily Rojas, BSCNC Communications | with 0 comments
    Filed under: BSC, Executive Committee, NC Baptists




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