April 2017

At the 2017 SBC annual meeting, an opportunity for the gospel

April 18 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Every year, Southern Baptists come together in the early months of the summer for the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This year, the meeting will take place on June 13-14 in Phoenix, Ariz., and I am certain that it will be a blessed time that bears the fruit of unity and brings glory to God.

This year, the convention theme will be “Pray for such a time as this,” and I do believe that this theme is fitting for the world in which we live today.
During a time when our nation seems more divided than ever, there is no better action to take than to turn to the Lord in prayer. I believe our hearts will be challenged as we hear from SBC President Steve Gaines, Frank Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, and our SBC entity leaders.
I hope that North Carolina will be well represented during this annual meeting of the SBC. Come to Phoenix and learn more about SBC missions and vote on decisions that support what our national entities and churches are doing in Kingdom advance in North America and also with the nations. I would love to see you and shake your hand in Phoenix.
If you are planning to attend the meeting, I invite you to join me and many other Southern Baptists in Phoenix a few days before the event.
This year, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) has planned a special Crossover evangelism event during the days leading up to the SBC annual meeting with Greg Laurie, a pastor and evangelist from Southern California. NAMB evangelism Crossover and Greg Laurie’s Harvest America join forces for three days of learning, sharing and serving in Arizona’s “Valley of the Sun” on June 9, 10 and 11. On Sunday, June 11 you can serve in a key role at what promises to be the biggest single gospel presentation in Arizona history, at Harvest America. With seating capacity of up to 65,000, you will be in the front lines of ministry, helping with hosting, ushering or follow-up counseling for the thousands expected to respond to the gospel.
Over the years, Greg Laurie’s crusades have drawn millions of people, and it will be great to see how the Lord uses this crusade in Phoenix for His glory. There are over 1.5 million people currently living in Phoenix, according to the latest data, and many of them are spiritually lost.
Greg Laurie’s crusade will include a presentation of the gospel, along with performances by some top-name Christian artists.
The crusade will also be simulcast nationally. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to share the gospel with individuals in Phoenix who are in great need of the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
Pray that Southern Baptist messengers will bring glory to God through our witness. Pray that our efforts to plant the seeds of the gospel in Phoenix will be fruitful and that many residents there will come to a true understanding of the love of our God.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – If you or your church would like more information about the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, please visit sbcannualmeeting.net.)

4/18/2017 8:38:19 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

Easter: an opportunity to plant seeds of truth

April 5 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

As Christians, Easter is a very special time for us each year. On Resurrection Sunday, we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death and the salvation that we now have in Him.
However, this Easter season, I would like to invite you to think about those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In our state, we are blessed to have many people living among us who have little or no religious background and may have very confusing beliefs about what Christianity is all about.    
The wonderful thing about Easter is that it provides an opportunity to open the door to begin sharing the gospel. As Christ followers, we should not assume that people know why we celebrate Easter, and during this season, people may be more receptive to hearing about the true meaning and implications of Resurrection Sunday.
Here at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, we have some excellent resources for sharing the gospel with non-believers. One such resource is The Story material, which can be found online at viewthestory.com. It is also available in pamphlet form so that you may carry it with you to share the gospel with others.
I recently had an opportunity to use The Story to introduce the gospel to a young woman who had a Muslim background. I was attending a conference in California and was walking around one afternoon, when I saw a woman standing outside. I began engaging her in conversation, asking her if she had any religious beliefs.
It was then that she shared with me that she was Muslim, but that she had not been active in her faith since she came to the United States. When I began speaking about my own belief in the gospel, she told me that she had many questions. I could tell she was searching for truth.
Because I carry in my pocket copies of The Story, I was able to share the highlights of God’s story with her. I left the pamphlet with her that afternoon, and even though I did not get to lead her to Christ that day, I was blessed with the opportunity to plant a seed for the gospel.
I share my own experience with you because I have seen first-hand how scarce knowledge of the gospel is in our state and nation. It should break our hearts when we think of those around us who do not know the Lord and do not have the joy of eternal life in Him. This Easter season, please join me in sharing the message of the gospel with those who might not know the Lord. Even if you do not have the opportunity to witness a salvation decision, every conversation you have about the saving power of Jesus Christ will plant a seed.
The apostle Paul reminds us of the process of leading a person to Christ when he said in 1 Corinthians 3:6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”

4/5/2017 7:43:08 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments