April 2013

Mother’s Day Offering extends compassion, hope

April 22 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

When their daughter Kenzie was just three weeks old, Eddie and Tracy Martin learned that she had a rare form of Down Syndrome. On that same day, the Martins were told their daughter needed heart surgery, and she needed it immediately.
I can only imagine the worry and sleepless nights these parents must have experienced. With Mother’s Day coming up in just a few weeks, I cannot help but think about how Tracy must have felt, knowing that the life of her new daughter was uncertain.
Not long after Kenzie’s surgery she began having seizures, and Tracy left her job in order to provide full-time care for her daughter.
Although Kenzie began improving after her surgery at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, the Martins were left with many medical bills, and they did not have the income to pay their bills.
The Mother’s Day Offering helps people like the Martins climb out of financial pressures and burdens. Every year, North Carolina Baptists give to this offering in order to help North Carolina Baptist Hospital patients.
One day Tracy received a call from Baptist Hospital. The Martins learned that because of the Mother’s Day Offering, their hospital bills would be paid.
“The Mother’s Day Offering saved us,” she said in a video testimony with Baptist Hospital. “This kindness lifted a huge weight off our shoulders. We could see light at the end of the tunnel.”
I have often heard Paul Mullen, church and community relations director for Baptist Hospital, share how much he enjoys being able to call or write a letter to someone with this life-changing message: “Your hospital bill has been paid by compassionate and mission-minded North Carolina Baptists in the name of Jesus Christ and His love.”
Last year, North Carolina Baptists gave more than $620,000 to the Mother’s Day Offering. Every dollar you give to this special offering goes to help individuals and families pay their hospital bills.
North Carolina Baptist Hospital has a long-standing history of providing excellent medical care. The Hospital, which was started by the Baptist State Convention of N.C., opened in 1923 with 88 inpatient beds. It is now an important part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, which has more than 1,000 beds and 13,500 employees.
I am so grateful for the ministry of Baptist Hospital, and your commitment to supporting the Mother’s Day Offering. You can watch a video of the Martin’s testimony, as well as other testimonies, by visiting www.mothersdayoffering.org. This website also includes promotional resources you can use in your church.
I encourage your church to pray about how you would contribute to this offering. The Mother’s Day Offering is a wonderful way for us to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, and to demonstrate our love for Him and His love and desire for all people to know Him as their personal Lord and Savior.
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40
4/22/2013 4:36:28 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

Creating a disciple-making culture

April 8 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Mission and vision clarification are essential in organizations of every size. Unless North Carolina Baptists understand and embrace the mission and vision of this Convention there is little motivation for them to support the future direction of this Convention’s ministry and missionary endeavors.

Our purpose, as stated in the Convention’s bylaws, is, “to assist the churches in their divinely appointed mission.” While there is great breadth in how we may assist the churches, the focus of the Convention’s efforts must be upon churches. This Convention does not exist to be served by the churches, but rather the Convention exists to serve the churches. It has been my goal as I have served as your executive director-treasurer to focus the efforts of the Convention upon the churches comprising this Convention. I greatly value the institutions and agencies of this convention; however, these organizations are to function as an extension of our churches. Throughout our history, member churches have pooled their resources and funded missions through the Cooperative Program and special offerings in part to support these organizations because individual churches could not do alone what has been accomplished through our institutions and agencies.

The vision of the Convention, as endorsed by our board of directors, is a vision that I believe God placed upon my heart for this time period in our history. Simply stated, the vision is, “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 the Lord Jesus Christ.” The operative term in the vision is “reaching people.” There is a great need for the Convention to refine its focus in its service to its churches; therefore, the focus is upon assisting churches in reaching people. This is, without apology, evangelism, discipleship and mobilization for missions. Your convention staff is now using a term that I hope you are becoming familiar with to describe this three-fold emphasis in assisting churches: disciple-making. Please do not confuse disciple-making with discipleship. Disciple-making is the overarching effort while discipleship is one part of the larger effort. Disciple-making involves leading individuals to Christ, helping new converts grow in their faith, and engaging converts in missionary activities where they, too, begin sharing their faith. 

Disciple-making is not a program that the church can begin and complete in a specific number of weeks. Disciple-making is a process that is ongoing, ever growing, and continually changing in an effort to reach and disciple individuals through an Acts 1:8 methodology. More simply stated, our goal is to assist churches in making disciples that make disciples. If the churches of this Convention become filled with disciples, who in turn are making disciples, we will see a new culture established in the churches of this Convention; what we refer to as a disciple-making culture.

Most importantly, if the churches of this Convention develop a disciple-making culture, we will indeed become, “the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
4/8/2013 3:03:14 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments