April 2018

Thankful for godly mothers

April 30 2018 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

As we approach Mother’s Day on Sun., May 13, we should reflect on the important role that mothers play in the lives of their children and grandchildren. The Bible contains numerous stories of mothers and their strong influence on their children.
In one of his letters to Timothy, the apostle Paul makes mention of Timothy’s faith being a direct result of the influence of both his grandmother and mother. On this day in which we pay tribute to mothers, many pastors will preach about the virtuous woman as she was described by Solomon in Proverbs 31:10-31.
There are famous American individuals who attributed their success in life to their mother. President George Washington said “all I am, I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” Abraham Lincoln has been quoted as saying “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.” American poet, William Ross Wallace stated as a line in a poem, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”  
This year, I will not be able to visit with my own mother on Mother’s Day because Elizabeth Williams Hollifield, after living a long and fruitful life of 89 years finished her earthly race and went to heaven early in the morning of Sept. 28 last year. However, her influence will still live on through my two sisters and me, along with many family members and others who loved her and were by touched by her life. Each of us, along with grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter will share our special memories of a woman who was affectionately referred to as “Nanny.”
Whenever I had a chance to visit Mom in recent years, some days as we said our goodbyes she would say, “Son, when you get back from your travels, if I’m not here, you know where I’ll be.” Isn’t it wonderful that Christ followers can know with assurance where they are going to spend eternity?
I’m thankful that I was able to be by mom’s side along with other family members when she passed from this life to the next. In the midst of our sorrow because she was leaving, we still rejoiced and sung the hymn “Victory in Jesus” because of our faith in Christ and our confidence that she went to be in the presence of Jesus. We know that will see her again one day because she personally trusted in Christ as her Lord and Savior.
I rejoice with many of you reading this column because you also have wonderful memories about your own mother and the things she did for others each day. Maybe you can remember her strong faith in God and how faithful she was to read God’s Word daily and pray for her family and others. Take this holiday opportunity to thank God again for the influence of your godly mother and if you can, visit or call her on Mother’s Day and remind her of your love and gratitude for all she means to you.

When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded in in you also” – 2 Timothy 1:5 (NKJV).

4/30/2018 2:01:17 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

‘Testify! Go. Stand. Speak.’ in Dallas this June

April 16 2018 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr.

This year’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is right around the corner, and I hope you are making plans to attend.
This year’s meeting is scheduled for June 12-13 in Dallas, Texas, and the theme is “Testify! Go. Stand. Speak.” The theme verse is Acts 5:20. Please be in prayer for the meeting, as well as the SBC Pastors’ Conference that will be held June 10-11 and the Greg Laurie evangelistic crusade on Sun., June 10.
One of the things I look forward to most during the SBC annual meeting and pastors’ conference every year is seeing and connecting with all the folks from North Carolina who attend our convention’s national gatherings.
I am grateful that we have so many pastors, church members and associational leaders from our state who are invested in our denomination and give of their time, energy and resources to participate in these meetings at all different levels. Thank you for your willingness to be involved.
Messengers at this year’s annual meeting will also cast ballots for a new SBC president, and at the time I am writing this column, both of the announced candidates are North Carolina Baptists. They are J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area, and Ken Hemphill, a North Carolina native and current member of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, N.C., who has served the SBC in a variety of roles throughout his ministry. Greear will also be preaching at this year’s pastors’ conference.
I can say without a doubt that these are two godly men from two great N.C. Baptist churches who are running for the office of SBC president in 2018. I am grateful for the friendship that I have with both of these individuals, and I believe that either one of these two men could serve our Southern Baptist Convention well as president.
One candidate is the current senior pastor of a North Carolina Baptist church. The other is a former pastor who is a good and supportive member of his church.
When I consider that we have two good men running for the office of SBC president, I am disappointed that some supporters of one of these candidates seem to have given this election the appearance of a secular political party system through their publication of materials via the internet.

I am thankful that both Ken and J.D. have mutually called upon all Southern Baptists to pray and interact with grace and civility leading up to the convention and the presidential election.
Please understand that I would equally defend Ken Hemphill or J.D. Greear should any information be published about either of them that is contradictory to what I know about these men.
In saying that, some of the characterizations and descriptions of J.D. that have been made are very different from my personal interactions with him and the church he serves, which is an active partner with our state convention.

I wish we had more churches in our state like The Summit Church and more pastors like J.D. Greear.
As we approach this year’s SBC annual meeting, I hope that you will be in prayer for the convention, all of the related events and for our denomination as a whole. Also, please be in prayer for our current SBC President Steve Gaines as he makes plans to preside over the meeting and deliver the annual president’s address.
To learn more about this year’s SBC annual meeting and to register as a messenger or guest from your church, please visit sbcannualmeeting.net.
Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life” – Acts 5:20 (NKJV).

4/16/2018 3:13:01 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr. | with 0 comments

Southern Baptists: Together on God’s mission

April 3 2018 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Late last year, I was asked to write an endorsement for a new book on the history of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) that focuses on how we as a denomination adopted and embraced a cooperative approach to missions that we know as the Cooperative Program.
That book, Together on God’s Mission: How Southern Baptists Cooperate to Fulfill the Great Commission, was released in January, and I believe the title is an appropriate description of who we are as Southern Baptists.
Throughout our history, we have been and continue to be a denomination that believes that we can accomplish more together than we can apart. The book’s author, Scott Hildreth, writes from his unique perspective as a former missionary with the International Mission Board who now serves a missions professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, right here in North Carolina.
In my endorsement for the book, I wrote “Together on God’s Mission explains why cooperation and personal involvement in missions is the heartbeat of who Southern Baptists have been and remain. Hildreth’s work also reveals how those who hold to Baptist distinctives along with their personal convictions can work together in fulfilling the Great Commission.”
Those of you who know me or may have heard me speak about missions will know that I never ask individuals or churches to support the Cooperative Program. Instead, I encourage and challenge them to support missions through the Cooperative Program.
Supporting missions through the Cooperative Program means that you and your church are engaging both personally and collectively to make Christ known all around the world. When we unite together for that purpose, we demonstrate that we are united in sharing the love of Christ with everyone, which is greater than any differences we may have. I am thankful for the generosity of North Carolina Baptists in supporting missions through the Cooperative Program. Our state convention has increased the Cooperative Program percentage allocation to support SBC missions and ministry efforts for 11 years in a row. Your prayers, personal involvement and financial support are helping advance the gospel in our state, nation and around the world.
Together we are helping churches impact lostness through disciple-making. We are engaging and reaching a number of unreached and unengaged people groups from around the world who are now living here in our state. We are planting churches to reach our growing international population. We are partnering together for missions on local, state, national and international levels. We are doing all this and much more thanks to your faithfulness and God’s blessing.

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” – Philippians 2:2 (NKJV).

4/3/2018 8:07:34 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments