October 2017

Dallas SBC 2018 hotel registration opens

October 4 2017 by Baptist Press staff

Housing registration has opened for the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2018 annual meeting set for June 12-13 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St., in Dallas.
 
Online reservations may be made around the clock at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc18. Reservations by phone are available from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Central time Monday through Friday at (800)-967-8852 toll-free.
 
The Omni Dallas is the official convention hotel, located a block from the convention site.
 
Hotel rates, ranging from $125 to $219 per night at 32 recommended hotels, are available with hotel locations on an interactive map at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc18/hotels.
 
Housing may be reserved at special convention rates through May 14, 2018, according to the registration site, at any of the recommended hotels, which may charge deposits to credit cards on or after May 14.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press staff.)
 

10/4/2017 10:10:24 AM by Baptist Press staff | with 0 comments



National CP ends fiscal year 4.31% over goal

October 4 2017 by Baptist Press staff

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) ended its fiscal year $8.14 million over its 2016-2017 budgeted goal and $1.41 million over the previous year’s Cooperative Program (CP) Allocation Budget gifts, according to Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee.
 
“We are grateful to God for His provision to SBC missions and ministries over this past year,” Page said. “Our Lord has provided and given us above and beyond.”
 
The SBC received $197,146,731.08 in Cooperative Program Allocation gifts for the year. This amount is $1,416,223.04, or 0.72 percent, more than it received during the last fiscal year, and is $8,146,731.08, or 4.31 percent, more than its budgeted goal of $189 million.
 
“A part of this overall overage in the CP Allocation Budget will go directly to disaster relief here in the United States and throughout the world,” Page said. “Also, please remember that the Executive Committee has allocated 100 percent of its overage to overseas disaster relief through the International Mission Board.
 
“We’re grateful for God’s hand of favor,” he said.
 
The Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the convention at its Sept. 18-19 meeting, allocated the first $1.25 million of the projected CP overage to the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to assist those affected by 2017 disasters in the United States and its territories. It also allocated the full amount of any overage the Executive Committee would receive to the International Mission Board (IMB) for international relief following several recent natural disasters.
 
After the first $1.25 million CP overage was distributed to NAMB, the remaining overage was allocated as follows: 51 percent to IMB; 22.79 percent to NAMB; 22.16 percent to the seminaries; and 1.65 percent to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Additionally, $165,521, the full 2.4 percent of the CP overage that otherwise would have gone to the Executive Committee, was allocated to IMB for international disaster relief.
 
The total represents money received by the Executive Committee by the close of the last business day of September and includes receipts from state conventions, churches and individuals for distribution according to the 2016-2017 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, with the overage distributed as amended by the Executive Committee.
 
In designated giving, the fiscal year’s total of $191,403,752.79 is 6.48 percent below the previous year’s $204,671,725.92. Of this designated amount, $133,012,301.89 was disbursed to IMB and $57,892,098.93 to NAMB through the seasonal missions offerings and Global Hunger Relief. The balance was designated for other SBC entities and the Executive Committee and SBC Operating Budget.
 
September’s CP allocation receipts for SBC work totaled $16,612,796.46. Designated gifts received last month amounted to $4,560,467.93.
 
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ channel of giving through which a local church is able to contribute to the ministries of its state convention and to the missions and ministries of the SBC with a single contribution to its state convention. State and regional Baptist conventions retain a portion of church contributions to the Cooperative Program to support work in their respective states and forward a percentage to Southern Baptist national and international causes. The percentage of distribution from the states is at the discretion of the messengers of each state convention through the adoption of the state convention’s annual budget. The totals in this report reflect only the SBC portion of Cooperative Program receipts.
 
Month-to-month swings reflect a number of factors, including the number of Sundays in a given month, the day of the month churches forward their CP contributions to their state conventions, the percentage of CP contributions forwarded to the SBC by the state conventions after shared ministry expenses are deducted and the timing of when the state conventions forward the national portion of Cooperative Program contributions to the Executive Committee.
 
CP allocation budget receipts received by the Executive Committee are reported monthly to the executives of the entities of the convention, to the state convention offices, to the state Baptist papers and are posted online at sbc.net/cp/budgetreports.asp.
 

10/4/2017 10:04:14 AM by Baptist Press staff | with 0 comments



Suicide: Church response to tough topic studied

October 4 2017 by Bob Smietana, LifeWay Christian Resources

Suicide remains a taboo subject in many Protestant churches, despite the best efforts of pastors, according to a new study.
 
Eight in 10 Protestant senior pastors believe their church is equipped to intervene with someone who is threatening suicide, according to a study released Sept. 29 from LifeWay Research. Yet few people turn to the church for help before taking their own lives, according to their churchgoing friends and family.

 


Only 4 percent of churchgoers who have lost a close friend or family member to suicide say church leaders were aware of their loved one’s struggles.
 
“Despite their best intentions, churches don’t always know how to help those facing mental health struggles,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.
 

A common tragedy

Suicide remains a commonplace tragedy, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 44,000 Americans took their own lives in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Americans ages 15 to 34 and the fourth leading cause of death for those 35 to 44.
 
LifeWay Research found suicide often affects churches. Researchers surveyed 1,000 Protestant senior pastors and 1,000 Protestant and nondenominational churchgoers who attend services at least once a month, in a study sponsored by the American Association of Christian Counselors, Liberty University Graduate Counseling program, the Liberty University School of Medicine, and the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
 
LifeWay’s study found three-quarters (76 percent) of churchgoers say suicide is a problem that needs to be addressed in their community. About a third (32 percent) say a close acquaintance or family member has died by suicide.
 
Those churchgoers personally affected by suicide were asked questions about the most recent person they know who has died by suicide. Forty-two percent said they lost a family member, and 37 percent lost a friend. Others lost a co-worker (6 percent), social acquaintance (5 percent), fellow church member (2 percent) or other loved one (8 percent).
 
About a third of these suicide victims (35 percent) attended church at least monthly during the months prior to death, according to their friends and family. Yet few of those friends and family say church members (4 percent) or church leaders (4 percent) knew of their loved one’s struggles.
 

Caring responses

When a suicide occurs, churches often respond with care and concern to survivors. About half of churchgoers affected by suicide say their church prayed with the family afterward (49 percent). Forty-three percent say church members attended their loved one’s visitation or funeral. Forty-one percent say someone from the church visited their family, while 32 percent received a card. Churches also provide financial help (11 percent), referral to a counselor (11 percent) and help with logistics like cleaning and child care (10 percent) or planning for the funeral (22 percent).


Still, churchgoers have mixed responses to suicide.
 
Overall, 67 percent of churchgoers say the loved ones of a suicide victim are treated the same as any other grieving family. Eighty-four percent say churches should provide resources to people who struggle with mental illness and their families. And 86 percent say their church would be a safe, confidential place to disclose a suicide attempt or suicidal thoughts.
 
Yet churchgoers are aware that friends and family of a person who dies by suicide can be isolated from the help they need because of the stigma of suicide. That can be true inside and outside the church, according to the survey.
 
More than half (55 percent) of churchgoers say people in their community are more likely to gossip about a suicide than to help a victim’s family. And few churchgoers say their church takes specific steps to address suicide or has resources to assist those experiencing a mental health crisis.
 
A quarter (24 percent) of churchgoers say their church has shared a testimony in the past year of someone who has struggled with mental illness or thoughts of suicide. Fewer (22 percent) say the church has used sermons in the past year to discuss issues that increase the risk of suicide. Thirteen percent say their church has taught what the church believes about suicide, while 14 percent say the church trained leaders to identify suicide risk factors. Thirteen percent say their church shared reminders about national resources for suicide prevention.
 
Churches are most likely to offer prayer support (57 percent) or small group ministry (41 percent), according to churchgoers.
 
Researchers also found that few churchgoers say their church is hostile to mental health concerns. More than half (54 percent) say their church encourages counseling, while only 2 percent say their church discourages counseling. Twenty-one percent say their church has no opinion about counseling, while 23 percent aren’t sure of their church’s stance.
 
Twenty-six percent say their churches encourage the use of medications in treating mental illness. Six percent say their church discourages the use of prescription medications. Most say their church has no opinion about medications (37 percent) or are not sure what their church’s stance is (31 percent).
 

Pastors want to help

Most Protestant pastors believe their church is taking a proactive role in preventing suicide and ministering to those affected by mental illness, according to LifeWay Research.
 
While 80 percent say their church is equipped to assist someone who is threatening suicide, only 30 percent strongly agree, meaning more than 2 in 3 pastors acknowledge they could be better equipped.
 
“Suicide in our culture has for too long been a topic we are afraid to discuss,” said Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors. “Our prayer is that this research will start a national conversation on addressing the suicide pandemic in our nation, and we started by assessing the church’s perspective on and response to the issue. We need a clinically responsive approach that gives the gift of life back to those who feel filled with emptiness.”
 
Pastors say they are aware when suicides happen in their community. Sixty-nine percent say they know of at least one suicide in their community over the past year. And of those suicides, about 4 in 10 (39 percent) affected church members or their friends and families.
 
Ninety-two percent say their church is equipped to help family members when a suicide occurs. Pastors say their church springs into action, offering prayer (86 percent), calling (84 percent) or visiting with the victim’s family (80 percent) and providing meals (68 percent). Churches also connect families with professional counseling (53 percent), help plan funerals (48 percent), connect the family with someone else who’s experienced a suicide in the family (44 percent) or provide other assistance.
 
A number of pastors also say they’ve been proactive in preparing to minister to those at risk of suicide. Forty-one percent say they have received formal training in suicide prevention, while 46 percent have a procedure to follow when they learn someone is at risk. Fifty percent say they have posted the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, where staff can find it.
 
Still, pastors are more likely to say their churches take a proactive role in preventing suicide than churchgoers are.

  • 51 percent of pastors vs. 16 percent of churchgoers say their church has a list of mental health professionals who can treat those considering suicide.
  • 46 percent of pastors vs. 12 percent of churchgoers say their church regularly addresses mental illness.
  • 36 percent of pastors vs. 22 percent of churchgoers say their church has a lay counseling ministry.
  • 29 percent of pastors vs. 23 percent of churchgoers say their church has a trained counselor on staff.
  • 18 percent of pastors vs. 12 percent of churchgoers say their church has a crisis response team.

 
McConnell says it is clear churches want to be proactive in suicide prevention. They’re also quick to respond to grieving families, he said. Still, there’s much work to be done to reduce the stigma of mental illness and suicide, McConnell said.
 
Ronald Hawkins, provost and founding dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences at Liberty University, said churches aren’t always a safe place for people to be vulnerable. According to the research, that seems especially true when someone is at risk for suicide.
 
He hopes the recent study will prompt churches to do more to prevent suicides.
 
“I and others in ministry have too often looked into the grief-stricken faces of those whose loved ones have taken their own lives,” Hawkins said. “If you have been there, your heart cry is, ‘Please, Lord no more.’ Yet it seems there are always more.
 
“Our research suggests that Christ followers need to work harder at providing safe places, so filled with love and grace that trust can flourish,” he said. “In such a place, those who have come to believe that suicide may be their only option may dare to open up their inner world and experience a reawakening of hope.”
 

Methodology

The Suicide and the Church Research Study was sponsored by the American Association of Christian Counselors, Liberty University Graduate Counseling program, the Liberty University School of Medicine, and the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. A demographically balanced online panel was used for interviewing American adults.
 
Respondents were screened to include only Protestant and nondenominational Christians who attend worship services at a Christian church once a month or more. A thousand surveys were completed Sept. 15-19, 2017. Slight weights were used to balance gender, age, ethnicity, education and region. Those who had a close family member or close acquaintance die by suicide were oversampled (500 completed surveys) and subsequently weighted to be proportionate in questions applicable to all respondents. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error from the online panel does not exceed plus or minus 3.4 percent (this margin of error accounts for the effect of weighting). Margins of error are higher in subgroups.
 
The phone survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors was conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 18, 2017. The calling list was a stratified random sample, drawn from a list of all Protestant churches. Quotas were used for church size. Each interview was conducted with the senior pastor, minister or priest of the church called. Responses were weighted by region to more accurately reflect the population. The completed sample is 1,000 surveys. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.2 percent. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.
 
LifeWay Research is an evangelical research firm that specializes in surveys about faith in culture and matters that affect churches.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Bob Smietana writes for LifeWay Christian Resources.)
 

10/4/2017 9:58:13 AM by Bob Smietana, LifeWay Christian Resources | with 0 comments



Board recommends $31M budget to messengers

October 3 2017 by Chad Austin, BSC Communications

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) Board of Directors approved a proposed 2018 Cooperative Program (CP) budget totaling $31 million on Tuesday, Sept. 26 during the board’s regularly scheduled fall meeting at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.
 
The proposed budget will now be presented to messengers attending the 2017 BSC annual meeting for consideration. The meeting is scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.

The 2018 budget proposal reflects an increase of $625,000 over the budget that messengers approved last year. The 2017 CP budget is $30.375 million.
 
The proposal also calls for 0.5 percent increase in the allocation to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) missions and ministries, which would go from 40.5 percent to 41 percent in 2018. If approved, the 2018 budget would mark the 12th consecutive year that North Carolina Baptists have increased the percentage allocation to the SBC.
 
“I’m grateful that the budget committee was able to recommend an increase in the overall Cooperative Program budget so that we can continue increasing what we’re sending to the international and North American mission boards through our SBC allocation,” said John Butler, who leads the BSC Business Services Group. “I’m even more thankful that North Carolina Baptist churches and individuals recognize the value of doing missions cooperatively and continue to increase their Cooperative Program giving which makes all of this possible.”
 
The proposed budget also recommends increases to BSC institutions and agencies, which include the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, N.C. Baptist Hospital, the Biblical Recorder and the N.C. Baptist Foundation. Under the proposal, allocations to institutions and agencies would increase by a total of $75,000, including a $25,000 increase for Fruitland Baptist Bible College.
 
Jeff Isenhour, pastor of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville who serves as chairman of the convention’s Budget Special Committee, noted that while the proposed budget recommends some shifts in allocations between existing staff-led ministries of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, no additional funds are allocated for new ministries.
 
The proposed budget also recommends a two percent salary increase for state convention staff, which is slightly less than the projected Consumer Price Index increase for 2017, Isenhour said.
 
Messengers attending the convention’s annual meeting will have an opportunity to ask questions about the 2018 budget proposal during a listening session with Butler, Isenhour and other convention leaders scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Tues., Nov. 7 at the Koury Convention Center. Messengers will then consider the proposed budget during a business session later that afternoon at 2:25 p.m.
 
In a separate measure, the board also approved a motion designating how funds received that are in excess of the proposed $31 million budget in 2018 would be allocated. The motion calls for any excess funds to be allocated as follows: one-third to church planting; one-third to the SBC; and one-third to be divided equally among the Baptist Children’s Homes, the Biblical Recorder and Fruitland Baptist Bible College.
 
The board also approved a motion that set the 2018 goal for the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) at $2.1 million, which is unchanged from 2017. Allocations for the offering also remained unchanged. NCMO is typically received by N.C. Baptists in September and supports N.C Baptist Men (also known as Baptists on Mission), church planting, two mission camps, missions mobilization projects and missions projects in N.C. Baptist associations.
 
Messengers will also consider the motions for the allocation of excess 2018 budget funds and the 2018 NCMO offering goal and allocations during the annual meeting.
 

Financial report

During the meeting, Beverly Volz, BSC director of accounting services, gave board members an update on the 2017 CP budget.
 
As of Aug. 31, Volz said the state convention received approximately $19.2 million in CP funds, which is almost two percent above what the convention received through the same time period last year. While receipts are still below the year-to-date CP budget, Volz attributed that to seasonal giving trends, noting that giving usually dips during the summer but picks up in the fall.
 
Volz also reported that giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is up nearly three percent and giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is up by more than six percent through the same time period as last year. Through Aug. 31, N.C. Baptists have contributed more than $5.8 million to the Annie Armstrong offering for North American missions and nearly $10.9 million to the Lottie Moon offering for international missions.
 
Brian Davis, BSC associate executive director-treasurer, also reported that giving to the NCMO us up more than 14 percent this year through the same time period in 2016. As of Aug. 31, NCMO gifts totaled more than $645,000, which does not reflect any giving amounts from September when the NCMO is typically emphasized in churches. Davis said he was also encouraged by NCMO giving in light of the recent hurricanes that have impacted the United States and the Caribbean. Disaster relief is one of several ministries that are supported by the NCMO.
 
“This is significant because sometimes during hurricane season when disasters strike people tend to give to a specific cause as opposed to giving to something like the North Carolina Missions Offering,” Davis said. “We want to celebrate the fact that while we know churches are receiving designated offerings for hurricane relief, they are also recognizing the need to support the North Carolina Missions Offering.
 
“We are thankful that it’s not an either/or, and it’s obvious that our churches are recognizing the necessity of supporting both.”
 

Other business

In other business, the board approved four new appointees to the Fruitland Baptist Bible College Board of Directors. James Felty, a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Brevard; James Gore, retired pastor of Millers Creek Baptist Church; and Davis Hooper, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Franklin were all appointed to new four-year terms beginning in 2018. David Philbeck, pastor of Walls Baptist Church in Bostic, was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Buddy Freeman through 2019.
 
Convention officers also recognized several board members whose terms were expiring at the end of 2017. They included Sandy Baird, LeRoy Burke, Donald Cline, David Duarte, Dale Hendricks, Tiffany McGill, Dougald McLaurin, Mike Moore, Ruth Murray, Ed Rose, Mitchell Shields, David Spray and Chris Webb.

Nominations for individuals to serve on the BSC board of directors, committees, or on the boards of the convention’s institutions and agencies may be submitted at ncbaptist.org/recommend.
 

10/3/2017 9:43:58 AM by Chad Austin, BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Annual meeting: Special emphasis on prayer

October 3 2017 by Chad Austin, BSC Communications

N.C. Baptist leaders and pastors from across the state are praying that this year’s Annual Meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) would be the beginning of a mighty move of God across the state and beyond.


The theme of this year’s meeting, which is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 6-7 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, is “Return to Me,” based on Zechariah 1:3. The theme is derived from the latter portion of the verse, which reads, “‘Return to Me’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts.
 
This year’s Annual Meeting will culminate with a special worship service that will be dedicated to praying for revival and spiritual awakening in our state, nation and world. The service, which is titled “Broken Before the Throne: A Prayer Gathering,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
 
“Returning to the Lord starts with prayer,” said Chip Hannah, pastor of Peace Baptist Church in Whiteville, who also serves as chairman of the BSC’s Committee on Convention Meetings. The committee gives prayerful consideration to developing each year’s Annual Meeting theme and schedule.
 
“From day one, our committee came together in one heartbeat around this idea of ‘Return to Me,’” Hannah said. “The focus on returning to God goes hand-in-hand with prayer, and the first step in returning to God is through prayer.”
 
Chris Schofield, who serves as the director of the BSC’s Office of Prayer for Evangelization and Spiritual Awakening, echoed the sentiment expressed by Hannah and the committee.
 
“We’ve got to return to Him, and the first element of that is being broken over our sin before His throne,” Schofield said. “We need revival in the church and spiritual awakening in the culture. This prayer gathering is a call for God’s people to pray and seek the Lord. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge and confess to God that He is our only hope.”
 
Acts 3:19 will serve as the guiding verse for the prayer gathering. The verse reads, “Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (NASB).
 
The prayer gathering will feature times of worship along with scripture readings, testimonies and periods of individual and group prayer. Using Acts 3:19 as a guide, the prayer times will focus on the key themes gleaned from the verse – repent, return, restore and refresh.
 
Schofield and other pastors and leaders are also calling on N.C. Baptists to seek the Lord leading up to this year’s Annual Meeting and prayer gathering. Several resources have been developed for N.C. Baptists to unite together in focused prayer throughout the month of October. Pastors are also being encouraged to devote some or all of their worship service on Sunday, Nov. 5 to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening.   
 
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., who serves as the state convention’s executive director-treasurer, said he has already seen God’s hand at work in the planning of this year’s Annual Meeting.
 
“Much prayer has already been devoted to this year’s meeting in general and for this prayer gathering in particular,” Hollifield said. “And it’s been clear that the Lord has been working in the hearts of various individuals who have a role in planning the Annual Meeting’s theme, schedule and related events.”
 
In addition to the prayer gathering, Hollifield and other convention leaders will provide several updates to messengers on progress being made related to the convention’s strategy of “impacting lostness through disciple-making.” During the meeting, messengers will also adopt a Cooperative Program budget, elect new officers, hear a variety of ministry reports, conduct other related business and more.
 
Hollifield encouraged as many pastors, staff members, church leaders and laity to join him in prayer and make plans to attend this year’s meeting.
 
“I am praying that this meeting and prayer gathering will be a moment that we can look back on years from now as the beginning of a great move of God’s Spirit within N.C. Baptists and our churches,” Hollifield said.

Visit the Annual Meeting website at ncannualmeeting.org for more information about this year’s event, including links to make hotel reservations, the complete program schedule, information about other related events, and more.
 

10/3/2017 9:43:37 AM by Chad Austin, BSC Communications | with 0 comments



The Money Challenge Q&A with Art Rainer

October 3 2017 by BSC Communications

Art Rainer serves as vice president for institutional advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. He holds a doctorate in business administration from Nova Southeastern University and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. Rainer lives in Wake Forest with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.


Rainer recently authored The Money Challenge, which explores God’s design for money. He has partnered with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for a series of lunch-and-learn events in various locations across the state this fall, where he will share some of the principles from his book.
 
Rainer recently took some time to share some insights into his book and a preview of some of the things he will share at The Money Challenge lunch and learns.
 
Q: Why did you write The Money Challenge?
 
A: Like many Americans, many in the church are experiencing significant financial stress. The stress injures their career, ministry, family and generosity. They live in fear. They are afraid of their current financial situation and they are afraid of what their future financial picture will look like.
 
This is not God’s desire for us.
 
God designed us, not to be hoarders, but conduits through which His generosity flows. The Money Challenge helps readers discover and realize this design. My hope is that readers will begin living the fulfilling, adventurous and generous life on which too many of us are missing out.
 
Q: Why do so many people, including Christians, struggle with their finances?
 
A: Often, we try to do finances on our own, sometimes intentionally, departing from the principles found in the Bible.
 
God gives us over 2,000 verses about money and our possessions. Jesus spoke on money more than any other topic while on earth. The basic money management steps we find in the Bible are this – give generously, save wisely and live appropriately. The closer we get to following these steps, the better positioned we are to pursue biblical, financial health.
 
Q: In your response to the first question, you quoted from the book in saying that God designed us “to be conduits through which His generosity flows.” What do you mean by that statement?
 
A: God owns everything. Therefore, our resources are not really our resources. They are His. So why did God entrust us with His stuff?
 
The parable of the talents reveals that God desires us to use the resources under our watch to advance His Kingdom. This cannot be accomplished by holding tightly to our possessions but by reflecting the generosity of God with our own resources and lives. God gives us resources so that we may demonstrate and share the love of Christ to others.
 
Q: You’ve partnered with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for a series of lunch-and-learn events that will focus on stewardship, generosity and other related themes from your book. Why should a pastor or church leader attend, and what do you hope they will take away from these events?
 
A: We want church leaders to walk away with a new tool in their tool belt to develop a culture of generosity in their church. Most of the time, a culture of generosity does not develop by accident but, instead, arises out of an intentional discipleship effort. We want to provide practical suggestions that leaders can implement immediately and show them how they can leverage The Money Challenge at their church.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – The Money Challenge lunch and learns are scheduled for Oct. 19 in Charlotte, Oct. 26 in Kernersville and Nov. 9 in Cary. Each event is limited to 30 people. To learn more or to register, visit ncbaptist.org/themoneychallenge.)
 

10/3/2017 9:42:43 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Committee on Nominations

October 3 2017 by BSC Communications

The Committee on Nominations is charged with the task of receiving and reviewing the numerous recommendations provided by North Carolina Baptists for service on the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) Board of Directors, the committees of the convention, the boards of the institutions and agencies of the convention, and the board of North Carolina Baptist Hospital.
 
The committee begins its work with the recommendations sent by North Carolina Baptists and when exhausted, or in the event too few recommendations have been received for a specific place of service, the committee seeks to find candidates who meet the qualifications for service as outlined in the convention bylaws.
 
The full report from the Committee on Nominations can be found on the BSC’s annual meeting website (ncannualmeeting.org), in the Oct. 7 edition of the Biblical Recorder, on the Biblical Recorder website (BRnow.org) and in the Book of Reports provided to each messenger who completes their registration at the Annual Meeting.
 
On behalf of the committee members listed below, I want to thank each North Carolina Baptist who completed and submitted a recommendation. It is not too early to begin thinking about those individuals whom you wish to recommend for consideration by the 2018 Committee on Nominations.  
 
Please continue to submit your recommendations, as your input is essential to the committee’s work and the ongoing effectiveness of the missions and ministries of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Charles Brust, chair
 

2017 Committee on Nominations Members

Charles Brust, Bladenboro; Ben Curfman, Waynesville; Michael Davis, Charlotte; Steve Frazier, Waynesville; Mark Golden, Waynesville; Marvin Green, Rutherfordton; David Helms, Pendleton; Ronald Hester, Bladenboro; Kenn Hucks, Indian Trail; David Jones, North Wilkesboro; James Keku, Browns Summit; Richard Odom, Stokesdale; Jonas Perez, Concord; Joseph Phan, Raleigh; Jonathan Rebsamen, Charlotte; Steve Roy, Clayton; Jennifer Thoppil, Mount Airy; and Beth Wooten, Beulaville.
 
The Committee on Nominations report follows the BSC’s bylaws directive to “nominate persons for election by the Convention to the committees listed in Article I.C.1 (b) – (d) of these Bylaws, such other committees as may be assigned to it, the chair of such Convention committees, the boards of trustees and directors of all institutions and agencies of the Convention, the Board, and such other nominations as may be delegated to the committee by the Convention.”
 
Among other considerations for nominees, the bylaws state “It is desirable that at least twenty-five percent (25%) of members nominated to all committees of the Convention, the Board, the boards of trustees and directors of the Convention’s institutions and agencies shall come from churches with a membership under four hundred (400).” This is indicated in the committee’s report by (O) for 400 and over and by (U) for under 400 in church membership.
 
The bylaws further direct that, “The Committee on Nominations shall include in its report at a minimum the name, church, home town, association, occupation, and sex of each nominee, the name of the committee or board on which the nominee is to serve together with such summary information as will make clear to this Convention the diversity and breadth of representation provided by the slates of nominees.”
 

Board of Directors, BSC

Region 1 – Wanda Guest, 2018 unexpired term of David Foster, Conway (U), Conway, West Chowan, lay person, female
Region 2 – No vacancies
Region 3 – Tim Evans, Massey Hill (U), Wade, New South River, minister, male; Donald Goforth, Great Marsh (U), Saint Pauls, Robeson, minister, male; Joseph (Joe) Lee Jr., Wells Chapel (U), Wallace, Eastern, minister, male; Richard Weeks, Piney Grove (U), Clinton, Eastern, minister, male; and Ethan Welch, The Bridge Church (U), Wilmington, Wilmington, minister, male
Region 4 – Matt Capps, Fairview (U), Apex, Raleigh, minister, male; Ken Coley, 2019 unexpired term of Scott Allmon, Wake Cross Roads (O), Wake Forest, Raleigh, minister, male; and David Herman, 2019 unexpired term of Jay Huddleston, Pleasant Grove (O), Franklinton, Flat River, minister, male
Region 5 – Brenda Hicks, 2018 unexpired term of Carolyn Ashley, Oak View (O), Kernersville, Piedmont, lay person, female; and Andrew Hopper, 2018 unexpired term of Karl Minor, Mercy Hill (O), Summerfield, Piedmont, minister, male
Region 6 – Phil McRae, 2018 unexpired term of Bryan Blackwell, New Home (U), Peachland, Anson, minister, male
Region 7 – Durant Barr, 2019 unexpired term of Billy Blakley, Fairview (U), Hiddenite, Rocky Face, minister, male; Chris Hughes, Mount Vernon (O), Boone, Three Forks, lay person, male; and Roger Parker, Baton (U), Hudson, Caldwell, minister, male
Region 8 – Billy Cooper, 2019 unexpired term of Ed Rogers, Shelby First (O), Shelby, Greater Cleveland, minister, male
Region 9 ––No vacancies
Region 10 – Al Hood Jr., Murphy First (O), Murphy, Truett, minister, male
 

Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina

Wayne Adams, Pinehurst First (U), Carthage, Sandhills, lay person, male; Pam Annas, Fellowship (U), Hudson, Caldwell, lay person, female; Denise Critcher, Mount Vernon (O), Deep Gap, Three Forks, lay person, female; Dana S. Dixon, Aversboro Road (O), Garner, Raleigh, lay person, female; Nancy Hall, Apex (O), Apex, Raleigh, lay person, female; Matt Hollifield, Charlotte First (O), Davidson, Metrolina, lay person, male; Roy Howell, Green Level (U), Apex, Raleigh, lay person, male; Jim Jacumin, East Valdese (O), Connelly Springs, Catawba River, lay person, male; Kenneth Robinette, 2018 unexpired term of Joan Mitchell, Rockingham First (U), Marston, Pee Dee, lay person, male; Nathan Sanders, 2019 unexpired term of Wendy Peters, Scotts Hill (O), Wilmington, Wilmington, lay person, male; and Robert Sandy Saunders, Snyder Memorial (O), Fayetteville, New South River, minister, male
 

Biblical Recorder

Cindy Jennings, Corinth (O), Elizabeth City, Chowan, lay person, female; Frank Norwood, Matthews First (O), Matthews, Metrolina, minister, male; Donna Robinson, Mud Creek (O), Brevard, Carolina, lay person, female; Donnie Seagle, Holly Springs (O), Franklin, Macon, minister, male; and Meredith Snoddy, Green Street (O), Greensboro, Piedmont, lay person, female
 

North Carolina Baptist Foundation

Fred Graf, North Wilkesboro First (O), Wilkesboro, Brushy Mountain, lay person, male; Charles D. (Chuck) Kennedy Jr., 2019 unexpired of Harold Brown, The Summit (O), Durham, Yates, lay person, male; Hal Koger, 2018 unexpired of Richard Newton, Calvary (U), McLeansville, Piedmont, lay person, male; John S. Rogers, Asheboro First (O), Asheboro, Randolph, minister, male; Johnny Ross, Salem (O), Cary, Raleigh, minister, male; Michael W. Smith, Fruitland (O), Hendersonville, Carolina, minister, male; and Phil Stone, Moncure (U), New Hill, Sandy Creek, minister, male
 

North Carolina Baptist Hospital

William C. Warden, Wilkesboro (O), Wilkesboro, Brushy Mountain, lay person, male; and Sheree B. Watson, Hickory First (O), Hickory, Catawba Valley, lay person, female
 

Committee on Convention Meetings

Chris Canuel, Cheerful Hope (U), Carolina Beach, Columbus, minister, male; Steve Kirk, Selma (U), Selma, Johnston, minister, male; Joshua Lathan, Pea Ridge (U), Columbus, Polk, minister, male; John Malek, Dillon Road (U), Winston-Salem, Piedmont, minister, male; Jeff Maynard, Newfound (O), Hendersonville, Buncombe, minister, male; Wesley Smith, Flint Hill (O), Shelby, Greater Cleveland, minister, male; Caleb Sprinkle, 2019 unexpired term of Mark Gregory, Charlotte First (O), Charlotte, Metrolina, minister, male; Devon Varnam, 2018 unexpired term of Leo Guerrero, Tar Heel (U), Tar Heel, Bladen, minister, male; and Simon Touprong, Chair, Vietnamese New Hope (U), Wake Forest, Raleigh, minister, male
 

Committee on Resolutions and Memorials

Kenny Gooden, Union Grove (O), Yadkinville, Yadkin, minister, male; Aime Kidimbu, Love Evangelical (U), Raleigh, North Carolina Miscellaneous, minister, male; Jared Parks, Front Street (O), Statesville, South Yadkin, lay person, male; and Jonathan Blaylock, Chair, West Canton (O), Canton, Haywood, minister, male
 

Historical Committee

Chris Furl, 2018 unexpired term of Curt Dean, Peachtree Memorial (O), Marble, Truett, minister, male; Brent Highfil, Hocutt (O), Clayton, Johnston, minister, male; Peter McDonald, Midway (U), Columbus, Polk, minister, male; Allen Murray, Oak Grove (U), Lake Toxaway, Transylvania, minister, male; Brandon Powell, Central (O), Wendell, Raleigh, minister, male; Billy Rice, 2019 unexpired term of James Lutzweiler, Locust First (O), Albemarle, Stanly, minister, male; Amy Whitfield, 2019 unexpired term of Lloyd Fish, Imago Dei (O), Wake Forest, North Carolina Miscellaneous, lay person, female; and Dale Robertson, Chair, North Main (U), Salisbury, Rowan, minister, male
 

10/3/2017 9:39:01 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Nominations’ Committee motion at 2017 annual meeting

October 3 2017 by BSC Communications

The Committee on Nominations (“Committee”) moves that the messengers at the 2017 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc. (“Convention”) authorize the Committee to adjust the terms of the members of the Board of Directors of the Convention to be elected at the 2018 annual meeting of the Convention in order that the rotation for Board Members be returned “with, as nearly as may be possible, one-fourth (1/4) of membership being elected” at each subsequent annual meeting by amending Article II.B.3. of the Bylaws, entitled “Election; Terms” during calendar years 2018-19 by deleting such section in its entirety as indicated by the “Current Reading” below and replacing it with the “New Reading” as set forth below:
 
Current Reading:
 
    3.    Election; Terms.  Each at-large member of the Board shall be elected for a term of four (4) years with, as nearly as may be possible, one-fourth (1/4) of the membership being elected at each annual meeting. No person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the Board after serving on the Board whether such service has ended through expiration of the term, resignation or otherwise until one (1) full term has elapsed; provided, however, that any such at-large Board member who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years, shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term. The term shall begin on January 1, following the annual meeting of the Convention at which at-large members were elected; and shall end on December 31 following the Convention at which their successors were elected, unless sooner terminated; provided, however, the term of office of an at-large member who has not resigned, died, become disqualified, or been removed shall not expire until a successor shall have been duly elected and qualified.
 
New Reading:
 
    3.    Election; Terms.
 
        (a)    During calendar year 2018, each at-large member of the Board shall be elected for a term of one (1) year, two (2) years, or four (4) years as determined by the Committee on Nominations in order that the rotation for Board members be returned with, as nearly as may be possible, one-fourth (1/4) of membership being elected at each annual meeting. During calendar year 2019, each at-large member of the Board shall be elected for a term of four (4) years with, as nearly as may be possible, one-fourth (1/4) of the membership being elected at each annual meeting. Any member who is elected to serve a one-year term in 2018 shall be eligible to be re-elected at the expiration of that term for a full four-year term. Any member who is elected to serve two or more years in 2018 shall not be eligible to serve another term until one full term has elapsed. Except as set forth above, no person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the Board after serving on the Board whether such service has ended through expiration of the term, resignation or otherwise until one (1) full term has elapsed; provided, however, that any such at-large Board member who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years, shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term. The term shall begin on January 1, following the annual meeting of the Convention at which at-large members were elected; and shall end on December 31 following the Convention at which their successors were elected, unless sooner terminated; provided, however, the term of office of an at-large member who has not resigned, died, become disqualified, or been removed shall not expire until a successor shall have been duly elected and qualified.
 
        (b)    Beginning January 1, 2019, each at-large member of the Board shall be elected for a term of four (4) years with, as nearly as may be possible, one-fourth (1/4) of the membership being elected at each annual meeting. Except as provided in subsection (a) above, no person shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself on the Board after serving on the Board whether such service has ended through expiration of the term, resignation or otherwise until one (1) full term has elapsed; provided, however, that any such at-large Board member who shall have been elected to fill a vacancy of less than two (2) years, shall be eligible to be re-elected to a full term. The term shall begin on January 1, following the annual meeting of the Convention at which at-large members were elected; and shall end on December 31 following the Convention at which their successors were elected, unless sooner terminated; provided, however, the term of office of an at-large member who has not resigned, died, become disqualified, or been removed shall not expire until a successor shall have been duly elected and qualified.
 
        (c)    The amendments to Article II.B.3. of the Bylaws shall become effective as of January 1, 2018. These amendments to Article II.B.3. of the Bylaws shall cease to have any force and effect as of December 31, 2019, and the version of paragraph 3 in effect prior to the 2017 annual meeting of the Convention shall be in force and effect as of January 1, 2020, without any further action by the messengers at an annual meeting to amend Article II.B.3. of the Bylaws.
 

10/3/2017 9:33:41 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments



Explanation of Committee on Nominations’ motion

October 3 2017 by BSC Communications

The Committee on Nominations (the “Committee”) is presenting a separate motion to address a problem with the current rotation of the members of the Board of Directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (the “Convention”).
 
This motion is in addition to its normal work to recommend individuals to serve as members of the Convention’s Board of Directors, the committees of the Convention, and the Boards of the Convention’s institutions and agencies.
 
Based on the number of members in the various regions as shown on the current submissions to the Annual Church Profile made by the cooperating churches, the number of members that will rotate off the Board of Directors and will need to be replaced for each of the next four years follows:

  • 2018 – 45 members rotate off
  • 2019 – 15 members rotate off
  • 2020 – 9 members rotate off
  • 2021 – 24 members rotate off

The actual number for any one year may vary slightly depending upon the increase or decrease in members of the Convention as reported in the Annual Church Profile.
 
Based on Article II.B.3. of the Convention’s Bylaws, the messengers are to elect the members of the Board of Directors for the Convention for four-year terms with “as nearly as possible” one-quarter elected each year.
 
Obviously, the Committee cannot meet both the requirements of four-year terms and approximately one-fourth elected each year based on the current rotation. The skewed distribution of election of members to the Board of Directors has created challenges concerning the leadership on various committees and the Board with almost one-half of the members being elected in a single year rather than being spread out evenly over the four years.
 
The Committee is recommending that the messengers approve a temporary amendment to Article II.B.3. to enable it to set one-year terms and two-year terms for some members of the Board to be elected in 2018.
 
The remaining members of the Board to be elected in 2018 will serve four-year terms. Such action will enable a more normal distribution with more than 15 members rotating off in 2019 and more than nine members rotating off in 2020. The actual number of members of the Board who will have one-year or two-year terms will be based on the number of the members reported by the cooperating churches submitting the Annual Church Profile in accordance with the Bylaws. The goal will be to even out the members to approximately one-quarter rotating off each year.
 
Because the current Bylaws permit members who serve less than two years filling an unexpired term to be re-elected for a full four-year term, the proposed amendment likewise permits the Committee on Nominations to nominate anyone who has served only a one-year term to be elected to a full four-year term thereafter. Just as an individual who fills a two-year unexpired term cannot be nominated to serve a four-year term until a full term has elapsed, members serving two-year terms will not be eligible to be immediately nominated to fill a full four-year term.
 
The proposed amendment provides that the new language will be terminated at the end of 2019.
At that time, the current language for the election and terms of Board members will be effective again. This temporary amendment is designed to correct what is viewed as an anomaly in the distribution of the election of members of the Board.

If you have any questions concerning this motion or the impact of the current imbalance in election of members of the Board of Directors, please contact Brian Davis at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5506, or bdavis@ncbaptist.org.
 

10/3/2017 9:30:29 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments



C3 event roots racial reconciliation in gospel

October 2 2017 by Liz Tablazon, BR Staff Writer

In the wake of current events marked by racial tension, the Courageous Conversations Conference (C3) Sept. 16 at Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount, N.C., sought to provide local churches with a “biblical framework to resolve the racial tensions that prevent addressing the spiritual needs of a community.”


Fifty-one churches were represented by 447 attendees who heard from keynote speakers John Perkins, civil rights leader and founder of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation; Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association; and Kevin Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
 
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, was slated as a keynote speaker, but was unable to attend the conference.
 
Castellanos talked about restoration in the context of poverty and under-resourced communities, especially migrant populations. He urged attendees to recalibrate their lives to draw close to the poor and the marginalized, looking to Jesus as an example.
 
“Christ, who left heaven, became poor, came into the world, became a human being and put the needs of others before His own,” Castellanos said. “So what that means is whatever advantage you have … we’re to be like Christ, who was blessed and had pretty good housing in heaven.
 
“And He says, ‘No, I’m going to demonstrate the downward mobility of the King of kings and Lord of lords and instead of being God Almighty … I’m going to incarnate myself, my Son, not just as a human being but as a Galilean Jew.’”
 
Young activists and movement leaders aren’t turning to the church, Castellanos said, because of a perception that the church has no concern about justice.
 
“They think the only thing we care about in the established church is to help people get their immigration status in order so that they can get into heaven legally. … But not so much their immigration status while they’re still here in this broken world, where people are not just sinners, but they’re also sinned against.”
 
Castellanos clarified God’s love toward the marginalized through an illustration about a parent with several children attending to one who is deeply ill.
 
“You give all the attention possible to that one child. It doesn’t mean you don’t love the other children. It doesn’t diminish your love for them at all.”
 
Smith picked up the theme of pursuing people often overlooked and working through tension that arises in conversations.
 
Tension in itself “doesn’t have to be sinful, evil and wicked,” but is “just the consequence of different human beings being together,” said Smith, who replaced Moore on the program.
 
Jesus’ conversations with His disciples were often quite tense, he said. Tension was present throughout the book of Acts as Jews and Gentiles came together, and it was present between Greeks and Hebrews even as the church grew in Acts 6.
 
“Tension can arise in fruitful situations,” he said.
 
People’s inclination toward ethnocentrism also causes tension, Smith added. “Things I think are normal are just normal, and everybody who doesn’t think what I think is normal – something’s wrong with them.”
 
He implored attendees to seek out people they might unintentionally overlook. “We’ve been changed by the spirit of Christ. … That alone gives us the opportunity to have some consequential, possibly tense, courageous conversations.”
 
In the final plenary session, Perkins warned against preaching a gospel shaped by political ideology. “That would be salvation by works,” Perkins said.
 
“We’ve got to go back to the gospel. We have the gospel wrapped around our own political and social and cultural realities instead of preaching Christ.”
 
Slavery and segregation lasted for so long in the United States, he said, because the laws that permitted them were intentionally created to suppress the truth about God’s attributes and human dignity.
 
“There’s not one attribute of God – not one of them – that agrees with the kind of racism that we have developed in this country. … Talking about racial reconciliation – it’s so unreal. … You can’t get there without confessing your sins to each other. God loves us because we bear His image. … He loves Himself. He wants us to reflect God’s image. The call to repentance is the best news you could have. That’s the best expression of God’s love.”
 

A biblical approach to contemporary issues

C3 closed with a panel discussion moderated by Walter Strickland, first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention and associate vice president for Kingdom Diversity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).
 
Strickland asked speakers to identify scripture passages that address race-related conversations.
 
“If we can’t find this conversation rooted in the Word of God, we only get excited about this when something happens in the news,” Strickland said. “If we can actually see this in the Bible, then we can hopefully have a transformative, ongoing influence.”
 
The speakers’ responses included Genesis 1:27, which establishes the image of God in human beings; Hosea, which teaches God’s unfailing love for the unfaithful; John 1, which finds the Word becoming flesh and living among people; and more. Strickland then shifted the discussion to address contemporary issues.
 
Castellanos explained that Christians in the U.S. must first confront a broken racial past that has been largely ignored.
 
“I think we’re putting band aids on,” he said, citing how European settlers introduced Christianity to Native Americans but took their land.
 
“That kind of Christianity has to be confronted because the root of it has to be justified by the Bible that we say justifies love.”
 
Strickland asked Perkins to address recent protests in St. Louis, Mo., sparked by the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a white former police officer charged with the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black suspect.
 
Perkins encouraged the audience to become visible groups of Christians who can be a prayerful, loving presence in such circumstances, even if they turn violent.  “The Holy Spirit in us is a restrainer of sin. Our presence is a restrainer of sin,” Perkins said.
 
Between the three plenary sessions, participants had opportunities to attend several workshops. Topics covered benevolence, youth ministry, mass incarceration and prison advocacy, multicultural church models, poverty and unemployment and more. 
 

10/2/2017 6:30:24 PM by Liz Tablazon, BR Staff Writer | with 0 comments



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