October 2011

Crestview reaches beyond valley through CP

October 24 2011 by Mike Creswell, BSC Communications

This Crestview Baptist Church actually does have a view of crests. The 500-member church’s building is on Pisgah Drive that heads southeast from Canton through a valley surrounded by Pisgah National Forest and mountains with names like Rocky Knob, Pressley and Poison Cove Top.
 
A few peaks over is the more famous Cold Mountain of book and movie fame.
When Dan Page, Crestview’s senior pastor, speaks of “reaching the valley,” this is the area he means.
 
For Page, leading a church to reach out locally and supporting missions far and wide through the Cooperative Program is all part of how Crestview members respond to the Great Commission.
 
“We are focusing on our immediate field, which is our valley,” he said.
 
“Then we’re focusing on reaching further afield with mission trips and mission projects; we’re starting right here in our Jerusalem.”
 
10-24-11crestview.jpg

BSC photo by Mike Creswell

Dan Page, senior pastor of Crestview Baptist Church in Canton, encourages members in his church and association to give through the Cooperative Program.

But Page says to reach beyond the valley they support the Cooperative Program (CP).
 
In 2010 the church gave almost 12 percent of its income through the Cooperative Program.
Further, the church led other Haywood Baptist Association churches in having the biggest increase in CP giving over 2009.
 
“We look around at the needs, particularly on the foreign mission field,” Page said, “and we believe the best way to meet those needs is through the Cooperative Program effort of all our sister Baptist churches.”
 
“It’s the greatest tool, I think, in the world for pooling our resources and playing a key role in reaching the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
“I see independent Baptists and other groups who are using self-support and I respect them. But I think that the Cooperative Program is still the most powerful tool we have for doing missions,” Page said.
 
“I fully support it. We’re going to stress the Great Commission, reaching the world, and this is the way we can participate in it.
 
“We have experienced significant growth in baptisms and increased giving because God is blessing.
 
“The church is growing. We need a new building. Our services are full and our Sunday School is full.
 
 
“I did the last baptism two weeks ago in the river and it was a great blessing to our people.
“But we know the Great Commission is to go all the way to the far reaches of the earth. I’m a die-hard, 100 percent, missions-minded pastor and that’s the way it’s going to be wherever I serve, because I believe in missions,” he said.
 
“I pray other individuals and churches will be motivated to use their dollars for the mission work of the Cooperative Program in a greater and greater way.
 
“The needs are urgent, and the time is short for us in this generation to reach our communities with the gospel of Jesus,” Page said.
 
Through their Cooperative Program giving, Crestview supports a wide range of ministries across North Carolina, including:
  • starting 125 new churches in 2010,
  • the NC Baptist Children’s Homes;
  • Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute;
  • a youth program that reached more than 7,000 young people this year; evangelism and church growth ministry, prayer ministry, women’s ministry, partnership missions and many kinds of pastor and church staff support,
  • nearly 10,000 missionaries serving across North America and around the world, plus six Southern Baptist seminaries equipping more than 13,000 students for church leadership and missionary service.
Those schools include Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary at Wake Forest.
 
Visit ncbaptist.org; find the Cooperative Program link under “Church Planting & Missions Development” section.
10/24/2011 2:33:11 PM by Mike Creswell, BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Poll: Pastors say Mormons not Christians

October 24 2011 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Most pastors feel strongly that Mormons are not Christians, according to a survey by LifeWay Research. The survey polled 1,000 American Protestant pastors and asked them to respond to the statement: “I personally consider Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to be Christians.”
 
Three-quarters (75 percent) disagree with the statement, including 60 percent who strongly disagree and 15 percent who somewhat disagree. Just 11 percent somewhat agree, 6 percent strongly agree and 9 percent do not know.
 
“Though pastors believe overwhelmingly that Mormonism is not Christianity, their opinions should not be (viewed as) personal scorn for Mormons,” said Ed Stetzer, vice president of research and ministry development at LifeWay Christian Resources. “A person can respect a religious group and even appreciate their commitment to traditional moral values without equating their beliefs with Christian orthodoxy.”
 
10-24-11pollmormon.jpg
Mormonism has come into the public eye in recent years with the rise of prominent adherents like Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid and conservative talk show host Glenn Beck. According to a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center, Mormons comprise 1.7 percent of the U.S. adult population and 58 percent of Utah’s population – the state founded by early Mormon leaders. In comparison, evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics each make up about a quarter of the U.S. population (26 percent and 24 percent respectively).
 
Seventy-six percent of the U.S. Mormon population is concentrated in the West, with 35 percent in Utah, 13 percent in California and 7 percent in Idaho.
 
In the Pew study’s measure of intensity of religious belief and practice, Mormons ranked higher than evangelical Protestants, Catholics and mainline Protestants. A full 83 percent of Mormons say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56 percent of the general population. Three-quarters of Mormons (76 percent) attend church at least once a week, compared with 39 percent of the general population. Pastors’ self-identification as either mainline or evangelical was a predictor of their opinions regarding Mormons. While two-thirds (67 percent) of evangelicals strongly disagree that Mormons are Christians, just 48 percent of mainline pastors feel the same.
 
Mainline pastors are more likely than their evangelical counterparts both to strongly agree that Mormons are Christians (9 percent to 3 percent) and to somewhat agree (16 percent to 9 percent).
 
Pastors 65 and older are the least likely age bracket to strongly disagree that Mormons are Christians, with 48 percent holding that opinion.

Pastors whose highest education level is not beyond a bachelor’s degree are more likely to be unsure about Mormons than pastors who hold a graduate degree.
 
“It is inevitable that pastors will be approached with questions from their parishioners regarding the Mormon belief system,” Stetzer said. “All ministers would do well to learn about Mormonism and have an answer ready.”
 
The phone survey, conducted Oct. 7-14, 2010, sampled randomly selected Protestant churches. Each interview was conducted with the senior pastor, minister or priest of the church called and responses were weighted to reflect the geographic distribution of Protestant churches. The completed sample of 1,000 phone interviews provides a 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed +3.2 percent. Margins of error are higher in subgroups.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is a pastor and writer in Shelbyville, Ky.)
10/24/2011 2:27:51 PM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Charitable tax code change in works

October 24 2011 by Holly Naylor, Baptist Press

WASHINGTON – The current tax deduction for charitable giving is under attack, and the services provided by churches and other institutions could suffer, U.S. senators were warned Oct. 18.

“Tax reform options being discussed today are options that target charitable giving concocted by those who, hungry for more tax dollars to finance reckless government spending, are now casting their sights on the already depleted resources of charities and churches,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R.-Utah, said at a hearing by the Senate Finance Committee.

The committee heard testimony on a proposal by President Obama that would ultimately limit charitable deduction. A prominent research organization has estimated the projected 28 percent cap on itemized deductions could cause a $6 billion drop in charitable giving, Hatch said. Some witnesses expressed their fear that non-profits, charities and churches will suffer during this time of economic crisis if the incentive to give money is suppressed.
  10-24-11tax.jpg

Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was one of several panelists Oct. 18 who told a U.S. Senate Committee the current tax deduction code for charitable giving is needed.


Sen. Max Baucus, D.-Mont., the committee’s chairman, noted one-third of taxpayers itemized deductions last year. Of those, 86 percent claimed charitable deductions.

Higher income families tend to donate to medical facilities, while lower income families contribute often to religious establishments and basic needs charities, Baucus said in his opening statement. Hatch said an alteration in the current tax code could cause donations to decrease and significantly damage the non-profits’ ability to continue serving the community.

“Charitable donations are the lifeblood of charities, and the last thing Congress should do is interrupt the blood supply,” said Hatch, the lead Republican on the committee.

Frank Sammartino, assistant director for tax analysis at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), presented the committee with options for revising the tax handling of charitable contributions. The CBO, he said, categorized 11 possible alternatives into four groups:
  • Retaining the current tax deduction for itemizers but adding a floor or minimum level.
  • Allowing all taxpayers to claim the deduction, with or without a floor.
  • Replacing the deduction with a nonrefundable credit for all taxpayers, equal to 25 percent of a taxpayer’s charitable donations, with or without a floor.
  • Replacing the deduction with a nonrefundable credit for all taxpayers, equal to 15 percent of a taxpayer’s charitable donations, with or without a floor.
Expressing his opposition to changing the charitable deduction, Hatch said the goal is not to reward some donors more than others or allow the federal government to experiment by converting the deduction into a tax credit.

“It’s not really about the donor at all,” Hatch said. “It’s about the charity. It’s about directing sufficient funds to charities so that they can carry forward the good work our society so desperately needs them to perform.”

He also explained that lower income Americans are more generous than wealthier ones, giving a higher percentage of their income than higher income taxpayers, regardless of tax benefits. Economists call it “inelastic charitable giving,” but Hatch called it “giving from the heart.”

Russell Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., gave a brief statement and said the discussion cannot be boiled down solely to economics. Urging the senators not to change the charitable tax deduction, Moore said giving to charities “teaches and shows that there are things more important than simply the abundance of our possessions.”

“We’re not simply economic units,” Moore said.

The hearing can be viewed online at http://1.usa.gov/qCNXCo.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Holly Naylor is an intern with the Washington bureau of Baptist Press.)
10/24/2011 2:18:08 PM by Holly Naylor, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Post-Gaddafi: ‘Stunning change’ ahead?

October 24 2011 by Ava Thomas, Baptist Press

SIRTE, Libya – The Libya that David Garrison has known for years is gone.

It ended Oct. 20 when Col. Muammar Gaddafi, leader of the North African nation, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head – a lightning-fast finish to a 42-year reign.

“The people of Libya have lived in fear for a long time,” said Garrison, who formerly worked in North Africa and the Middle East. “They always knew Gaddafi and his government were watching closely and they had to live accordingly.”
10-24-11libya175.jpg
Col. Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head.

Ever since Gaddafi came to power in 1969 at age 27, he has invented his own governmental systems and tested them on the people. He created a Libya with little freedom, oppressing the people with violence. Aligning himself with extremists groups in other countries, Gaddafi led what one BBC correspondent said “may have been North Africa’s most totalitarian, arbitrary and brutal regime.”

When Libyans rose up to overthrow Gaddafi in February, following the lead of Egypt’s successful revolution, he engaged in mass slaughter in five months of brutal battle.

And then it was over in his birthplace of Sirte.

A senior member of the National Transitional Council, Mohammed Sayeh, told the BBC, “Even if he was killed intentionally, I think he deserves this.”

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the “rule of fear” is now over, and he asked Libyans to “build a brighter future.”

Garrison said he’s waiting to see if that brighter future will bring religious freedom.

“I hope they (the NTC) follow through on some of their earlier promises for more freedom,” he said. “Libya has been a pariah in relation to the broader international community. It’s got a real chance now to open its doors and hopefully have much more freedom of conscience and freedom of choice.”

In the past, there hasn’t been much freedom for believers to share their faith in Libya – the government often would crack down on those who did.

But Garrison hopes with a new government that an open, free market of ideas will emerge for Libyans in which people can share the gospel in a natural way. It’s an important time for Southern Baptists to “pray Libya through this period of birthing,” Garrison said.

“When a new life is being born, it is at its most vulnerable state,” he said. “It’s the same for Libya right now. It’s a whole new nation with a whole new relationship with the world, and Satan will try everything he can to turn that in the wrong direction.”

Twists and turns lie ahead, but it could be a new day, Garrison said. “We could see stunning change.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE ­– Ava Thomas is a writer/editor for the International Mission Board based in Europe.)
10/24/2011 2:11:42 PM by Ava Thomas, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



NAMB commissions 67 new missionaries

October 21 2011 by Joe Conway, Baptist Press

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – The baptism of a new believer offered a tangible reminder of the purpose for a North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionary commissioning service at North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga.

North Metro senior pastor Frank Cox opened the evening by baptizing Bianca, a new church member from El Salvador.

Bryant Wright, Southern Baptist Convention president, and Larry Wynn, NAMB vice president for evangelism, charged the 67 new missionaries and others gathered at the church to be obedient to God’s call. The celebration concluded with family, friends and North Metro members surrounding the newly commissioned missionaries for prayer.

Three new missionary families shared testimonies about how God is working in their lives and missions ministries.

Montreal
“We have a prayer team that is so important to us,” said Michael Akinpelu, a church planting missionary serving with his wife, Kemi, in Pointe-aux-Trembles in east Montreal. “We are loving the people there, letting them know that whatever they need, we will try to help them.”

Michael came to Canada from his native Nigeria to obtain a Ph.D. “But I felt the Lord asking me to stop and go to seminary. I transferred to the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and received my M.Div. We moved to Montreal in May.”

Already fluent in French, the Akinpelus felt called to plant a church in the east Montreal area, which has the largest concentration of French-speaking Quebecois in the city. Missional living led to their first convert. They engaged the women operating the day care their children attend. They shared the gospel with both. One of them accepted Christ.

The Akinpelus opened their home for Bible study and decided on their first outreach event, a corn festival, capitalizing on a local staple. “We had 300 people in the park. We are hosting dinners in our home and inviting people to Bible study as follow up,” Michael said. The woman from the daycare joined the study and brought her husband.
  10-21-11namb.jpg

Photo by John Swain

Mission Service Corps missionary Jessica Navarre carries the California state flag, the state where she’ll be serving, during the parade of flags at the Oct. 2 North American Mission Board Missionary Commissioning Celebration.  


“It took some time, but she coaxed him to attend,” said Kemi. “When he accepted Christ she was jumping up and down she was so excited.”

Indianapolis
In Indianapolis, Ind., Erik and Tanisha Hansen and their five children are reaching apartment communities.

“We started the process when God called us to multi-housing ministry,” said Erik Hansen, a Mission Service Corps church planter. “We just did not know where. We explored the possibilities with NAMB and they connected us with Bob Burton in Indiana. One trip to Indy was all it took. We loved the city.

“After three months we hosted our first block party and we had 50 kids. That night at our first Bible lesson, I held up a Bible. Not a single person knew what it was. We knew we were where God wanted us,” Erik said.

“We started using the Evangecube,” Tanisha said. “We’ve had 100 children come to faith. We give them a cube to take home and a Bible. We believe we will see family members come to faith through the children.” Twenty-five adults have come to faith through other outreach events.

“Our first summer we hosted five mission teams,” Erik said. “One was a stomp motion group. They went into five public schools. The school superintendent called me saying he wants the group to return, visiting more schools. That’s a God thing.”

The Hansons have already launched their first church and have two more core groups preparing to launch the next two churches. They hope to have five churches started by the end of 2012 in five complexes.

“Apartments are neighborhoods. That’s how we approach them,” Erik said. “We are excited about Send North America and that Indy is a send city.”

San Francisco
Missionaries Travis and Ashley Nichols are reaching Nepalese immigrants in San Francisco, and it all began with food.

“We moved to San Francisco in 2006, two weeks after we got married,” said Travis, a church planting missionary. “God called us to cross-cultural ministry, and we knew how diverse the immigrant community is here. God confirmed that decision quickly when one of our first Nepalese friends approached us asking for help. He owns a restaurant and wanted to help the community. We started Curry Without Worry. Every Tuesday he provides free meals to Nepalese refugees.

“His staff, the Nepalese servers and cooks, became our first core group. Our first convert was one of the servers. We baptized him in the bay. When he left to go to school, his brother came. He told his brother he had to meet us. We led him to the Lord and he was baptized on our fifth wedding anniversary,” Travis said.

The couple helped incorporate Ethne Global Services to help refugees assimilate into their communities by providing English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, cultural education and helping them find work in the area. They started a knitting business for the women, Himalayas By Hand and the men have started a soccer club.

“One week after our first convert was baptized he wanted to start a Nepalese church. We helped him gather a core group and disciple them. Within two months they had started a church. They started more small groups and are reproducing like wildfire. When you build reproduction into a church plant, that is what they do,” Travis said.

Also addressing the missionaries were Robert White, Georgia Baptist Convention executive director, and Kevin Ezell, North American Mission Board president. The commissioning celebration concluded with Woman’s Missionary Union executive director Wanda Lee offering a prayer for the missionaries and chaplains and for their service.

Ezell said he was excited about what is happening at NAMB, reporting that the church planting portion of NAMB’s budget in 2012 will increase from 28 to 42 percent. “That means that millions of dollars are moving to support your missionaries,” Ezell said. “We want to take better care of our missionaries.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Joe Conway is a writer for the North American Mission Board.)
10/21/2011 1:00:41 PM by Joe Conway, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



No church buildings left in Afghanistan

October 21 2011 by Holly Naylor, Baptist Press

WASHINGTON – Not one Christian church building is left standing in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department. The last such public place of Christian worship was destroyed by its landowner in March 2010.

The U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report, which revealed the destruction of the final Afghan church building, said there was a decrease in religious freedom during the reporting period, which covered July to December of 2010. The decline was a result of the Afghanistan government’s failure to acknowledge mistreatment of Christians and other religious minorities, according to the September report.

“The lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom,” the report said.

Afghanistan’s constitution conveys a contradiction that has resulted in the restriction of religious freedom, according to the report. The document states Islam is the “religion of the state” but also declares that “followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of the law.”

Population estimates for Afghanistan range from 24 to 33 million. It is projected that 80 percent are Sunni Muslim, 19 percent are Shia Muslim and less than 1 percent practice another form of religion. The Christian community is estimated to consist of 500 to 8,000 members.

Though there are no explicit restrictions on religious minority groups establishing places of worship, there are “very few” such public worship centers, according to the report.

Non-Muslims in Afghanistan face social discrimination, harassment and sometimes violence, the report explained. Christians, Sikhs and Hindus have not been protected from these acts of injustice.

“This treatment was not systematic, but the government did nothing to improve conditions during the reporting period,” the report said. “Public opinion continued to be openly hostile toward Afghan converts to Christianity and to proselytizing by Christian organizations and individuals.”

Converting to Christianity in Afghanistan sometimes requires risk and sacrifice in other aspects of life besides religion. The report cites that departing from Islam can often mean broken marriages, loss of jobs and rejection by family, friends and society.

The decline in religious liberty comes as American forces continue their fight in the Asian country that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Nearly 1,700 U.S. military members have died there since the invasion, according to CNSNews.com’s database of all U.S. casualties in Afghanistan. U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion in the attempt to improve Afghanistan’s new government.

Deterioration of religious freedom in Afghanistan has a direct correlation to the government’s inadequacy in addressing the issue of discrimination against minority religions, the report said. The United States still encourages the majority-Muslim country to allow its people to practice any religion they choose, according to the State Department.

“The U.S. government regularly discusses religious freedom with the government officials as part of the overall policy to promote human rights,” the report said.

Afghanistan’s lack of Christian churches was first reported by CNSNews.com.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Holly Naylor is an intern with the Washington bureau of Baptist Press.)
10/21/2011 12:49:37 PM by Holly Naylor, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Somali extremists behead Christian teen

October 21 2011 by Simba Tian, Baptist Press

NAIROBI, Kenya – Militants from an Islamic extremist organization in Somalia linked to al-Qaida beheaded a 17-year-old Christian near Mogadishu in September.

Guled Jama Muktar was killed by al Shabbab militants in his home near Deynile, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Somali capital, a journalist there told the Compass Direct news service. The Islamic militants, who have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity, had been monitoring Muktar’s family since they arrived from Kenya in 2008, according to the source, who requested anonymity.

The al Shabbab militants, who are fighting the transitional government for control of the country, knew from their observations of the family that they were Christians, the source said.

“I personally know this family as Christians who used to have secret Bible meetings in their house,” he said.

Based on talks with the boy’s parents and their neighbors, the source said al Shabaab members arrived at Muktar’s home at 6 a.m. on Sept. 25 when his parents, whose names are withheld for security reasons, were already at work at their retail space at a market on the outskirts of Mogadishu.

The extremists found Muktar as he was preparing to go to school, the source said.

“The neighbors heard screaming coming from the house, and then it immediately stopped,” the source said. “After awhile, they saw a white car leaving the homestead.”

The neighbors informed the parents, who hurriedly returned home from their market stall. They quickly buried their son’s body, fearing the militants would kill them as well, returned to their market space and then fled to an unknown destination, the source said.

“When the incident happened, the parents called to tell me that their son had been killed and that they feared for their lives,” the source said. “Since then, I have not heard from them.”

In another attack against Somali Christians, a kidnapped Christian convert from Islam was found decapitated Sept. 2 on the outskirts of Hudur City in southwestern Somalia. Juma Nuradin Kamil was forced into a car by three suspected al Shabaab terrorist members on Aug. 21, area sources said.

According to Compass, militants from al Shabaab seek to impose a strict version of Islamic law, called sharia, but the government fighting to retain control of Somalia treats Christians little better than the al Shabaab. While proclaiming himself a moderate, Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed has embraced a version of sharia that mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam.

Al Shabaab was among several splinter groups that emerged after Ethiopian forces removed the Islamic Courts Union, a group of sharia courts, from power in Somalia in 2006. Al Shabaab has been designated a terrorist organization by several western governments.

In the Lower Shabele region of Somalia earlier this year, two Muslim extremists murdered a member of a secret Christian community, area sources said, telling Compass that two al Shabaab militants shot 21-year-old Hassan Adawe Adan in Shalambod town after entering his house on April 18.

In Warbhigly village on the outskirts of Mogadishu, a mother of four was killed for her Christian faith on Jan. 7 by al Shabaab extremists, a relative said who requested anonymity. Asha Mberwa, 36, was killed when the Islamic extremists cut her throat in front of villagers who came out of their homes as witnesses, the relative reported.

On Oct. 13 following the kidnapping of two Spanish aid workers from a refugee camp in Dadaab on Somalia’s border with Kenyan, and the kidnapping and murder of foreigners at tourist sites, Kenya began air strikes on al Shabaab territory in southern Somalia on Sunday, Oct. 16. Kenya Television reported Oct. 19 that Kenyan armed forces had killed more than 100 al Shabaab militants in Kismayo in southern Somalia.

In 2009, at least 13 Christian leaders were murdered by al Shabaab militants, according to the Washington-based human rights organization International Christian Concern.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Simba Tian is a writer with Compass Direct, a news service based in Santa Ana, Calif., focusing on Christians worldwide who are persecuted for their faith. Used by permission.)

10/21/2011 12:43:31 PM by Simba Tian, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Interview with BSC president nominee

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?
 
10-20-11p.jpg
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.
 

Related stories


10/20/2011 1:49:21 PM by | with 0 comments



Interview with BSC first vice president nominee

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.)

Conley J. (CJ) Bordeaux Sr. will be nominated as first vice president. He is the pastor of Gorman Baptist Church in Durham. Gorman is the eighth church he has served in North Carolina. He is a graduate of Chowan College, Campbell University, Southeastern Seminary and Bethany Theological Seminary. CJ has been actively involved in Baptist work including service as a trustee of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. Bobby Blanton, senior pastor of Lake Norman Baptist Church in Huntersville, will give the nominating speech.
 
Q: What is your vision for the BSC?
 
A: Very simply it is this – that the churches that comprise the BSC become the greatest, most potent soul-winning agent for the Kingdom of God that the world has ever seen. It is so very easy to create programs and modules that teach us the “how to.” What we need is pastors, churches, associations, and a convention with a heart that has a laser focus on Christ’s purpose for coming to earth as found in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” Outside that we are doing what we want rather than what the Father has given us order to do.
 
  10-20-11fvp.jpg
Conley J. (CJ) Bordeaux Sr. will be nominated as first vice president.
Q: Do you believe in the vision of the BSC?
 
A: Absolutely! I fully support Milton Hollifield and his strong vision for our state convention, but I will add that one man’s vision will accomplish very little unless we, the pastors and churches, adopt it and make it our own. Hollifield has been given an awesome view of what North Carolina Baptists can be and can become. It is my prayer that we as officers and as a convention will “hitch our wagons” to his vision and see God accomplish great and mighty works here in North Carolina.
 
Q: Is there anything you want to share with N.C. Baptists about yourself?
 
A: Yes, I am one of you. I have been all my life. I was born and raised in the home of a North Carolina Baptist pastor and have myself been one for 34 years. I admit that I was once critical of the direction I saw the BSC going.
 
But it is a new day. A fresh breath of God’s presence has blown upon this great state, and I am convinced that God wants to do great things here.
 
I love being involved, and I want more than anything to help make a difference in this state for our Lord.
 
I have enjoyed serving as second vice president these past two years and look forward to the possibility of helping our state move forward for the cause of our Christ.
 

Related story


10/20/2011 1:45:12 PM by | with 0 comments



Interview with BSC second vice president nominee

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.)

Timmy D. Blair, Sr. will be nominated as second vice president. He is the pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist in Angier. Blair has served one other N.C. church and one in South Carolina. He attended Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute and has degrees from Luther Rice Seminary and Luther Rice University. Piney Grove Chapel has been recognized for its growth and baptisms by the BSC, and the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth of Southern Seminary. He has actively served N.C. Baptists on several committees and currently serves on the BSC Board of Directors. Lee Pigg, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe, will nominate Blair.
 
  10-20-11svp-(1).jpg
Timmy D. Blair, Sr. will be nominated as second vice president.
Q: What is your vision for the BSC?
 
A: My vision for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is to see our churches become passionate about reaching our communities and state with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The purpose of why we do what we do must be evangelism. Whether we are starting new churches, strengthening existing churches, reaching the various people groups that now live in our state, our passion and goal for doing these things must be presenting people with the gospel. This vision will require more than a program or quick fix. Programs are only vehicles, and a vehicle without a motor will get us nowhere. The power that can propel us is the Holy Spirit. The task before us is greater than what we can accomplish on our own
We must get back to asking the Holy Spirit to empower us so that we are able to do the supernatural and not just what we can do. Jesus said, “… lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are white for harvest!”
 
Q: Do you believe in the vision of the BSC?
 
A: I am very thankful to Milton A. Hollifield Jr. for sharing with us the “Seven Pillars for Ministry.” This is a very bold vision that will help guide us into the future. These seven pillars give us strong biblical principles for our convention and churches to build on, and a vision for reaching North Carolina and beyond with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is refreshing to see our convention put evangelism at the forefront of its mission.
 
Q: Is there anything you want to share with N.C. Baptists about yourself?
 
A: I was born in North Carolina. Out of the 27 years that I have been a pastor, 26 of those years have been in North Carolina.
 
I have served at the church I currently pastor for 23 years. I love the Lord and my family. The greatest accomplishment for my wife and I have been raising our two boys who we are so proud of.

Related stories

Interview with BSC president nominee
Interview with BSC first vice president nominee

10/20/2011 1:36:28 PM by | with 0 comments



Displaying results 21-30 (of 50)
 |<  <  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5  >  >|