October 20 2011 by

    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Messengers to the Baptist State Convention’s (BSC) annual meeting Nov. 7-8 will be voting on candidates for the convention’s three top offices: president, first vice president and second vice president. These candidates are currently running unopposed. The annual meeting will be at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.)

    Mark E. Harris will be nominated for the office of president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). He is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte. A native of Winston-Salem, he has degrees from Appalachian State University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as pastor of three churches – two of those in North Carolina – including 10 years at Center Grove Church in Clemmons. He served as chairman of the trustees of Southeastern Seminary. Marty Jacumin, senior pastor of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh, will nominate Harris.
     
    Q: What is your vision for the BSC?
     
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    Mark E. Harris will be nominated for the office of president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
    A: My vision is one of mobilization. When Milton Hollifield took the leadership as executive director-treasurer of the convention, he cast a vision that was crystal clear: “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 of Jesus Christ.” I love that vision, and I want to do everything I can to help lead in fulfilling it. I want to be used as a catalyst, calling pastors and church leaders to see the situation of our culture and to recognize that business as usual will not get the job done. People have got to know and hear that the gospel of Jesus really does change people, and changed people live at a different level. It is not just a different or better life, but rather living life on a higher plane. I long to see all the (almost) 4,300 N.C. Baptist churches excited, equipped and mobilized to impact their regions. Our nation finds itself at a serious crossroad. I am praying that as our nation looks for answers in choosing its course, that we, as N.C. Baptists will be able and ready to share God’s Word.
     
    Q: Do you believe in the vision of the BSC?
     
    A: Yes, I do believe wholeheartedly in the vision of the BSC. I love the direction we are continuing to see unfold as we work in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention, not in opposition. In recent years we have seen the revival of the cooperative spirit whereby our state convention has demonstrated, not only in word, but in deed and finances, our unwavering commitment to the Cooperative Program and the cooperative work with our SBC entities. It is exciting and refreshing to me, and I hope to only build upon the great work that is already underway.
     
    Q: Is there anything you want to share with N.C. Baptists about yourself?
     
    A: I am so thankful for the blessings and opportunities God has opened up for me to serve in Kingdom work. I am especially thankful that most of my life has been spent right here in N.C. A native of Winston-Salem, educated in N.C., privileged to serve churches here – it is more than a cliche to say, “I like calling North Carolina home.” I love serving as pastor of First Baptist Church, Charlotte. We are on a journey together, and have made a commitment, to live a life that matters. I am so blessed with my wife, Beth, who has been a source of strength and a partner in life and ministry in every way imaginable. For the last three years I have served as an officer of our convention.
     
    I had the privilege of serving as second vice president when Rick Speas was president. For the last two years I have served as first vice president alongside Ed Yount, our president. Over these last three years I have come to see and understand the work of the BSC in a new and incredible way. I certainly have come to recognize even more that we can do so much more together than we can do alone.
     
    Over the last year the work of the Vision Fulfillment Committee took us all across the state, and provided opportunity to meet, hear and understand the hearts of N.C. Baptists. It was during that experience that God confirmed that making myself available to serve as president of the BSC is His will. There is a spirit of enthusiasm, excitement and genuine anticipation for what God has in store for this convention.
     

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