August 2014

A tribute to my father: Milton A. Hollifield Sr.

August 26 2014 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon … They shall still bring forth fruit in old age … Psalm 92:12,14
Even though I knew I would eventually have to face the passing of my earthly father, it came unexpectedly. When my oldest sister phoned my home in Cary on the morning of July 16 to tell me that Daddy had died, it was hard to accept the fact that he was gone.
He had lived most of his 88 years in Western North Carolina, serving God, enjoying his family and ministering to people.
As a native of Spruce Pine in Mitchell County, Dad was fortunate to have grandparents and parents who possessed a deep faith in God and were active in the work of His church. When Dad was 6 years old, his grandfather, a mountain lay preacher, placed his hands on my father’s head and asked God to someday “make a preacher out of this boy.”
Mom and Dad had a lifelong love relationship. They married in 1945, while still in their teens. Dad answered the call to preach in 1947, and he accepted his first pastorate in 1948. Milton A. Hollifield Sr. continued to be a caring and dedicated Free Will Baptist minister for more than 60 years; he pastored four churches in McDowell, Haywood and Buncombe counties, and another in Wayne, Mich. Dad also challenged himself to make a minimum of 25 pastoral visits each week. God blessed his work, and every church he led experienced exponential growth.
In addition to his work as a pastor, Dad served as an evangelist, preached in four countries, supervised five building programs and led numerous revivals in 18 states. He also took time to mentor younger pastors, and about 20 preachers and missionaries answered God’s call under his ministry. 
My father was active in several committees and boards of the National Association of Free Will Baptists. He also organized and was a promotional representative for the Free Will Baptist Blue Ridge Association, and he served 12 years on both the national Board of Retirement and North Carolina’s Board of Care.
He was elected state moderator for Free Will Baptists and served two years on the national Executive Committee.
He also served as a charter member of the Board of Directors of the Swannanoa Valley Medical Center.
“Preacher Hollifield,” as he was affectionately called, remained active until the end of his life in serving churches through preaching, conducting funerals and doing ministry in hospitals, nursing homes and visiting the homebound. In reflecting over his life and the achievements of his ministry, he would often say, “Why me, Lord?” because he knew that all the things he celebrated happened because God chose to work through him. To God be the glory!
Dad left a great legacy as a follower of Christ, a man who loved his family, and someone who demonstrated his care for others daily.
My life was influenced in many ways by my father, but I would like to mention just four things that I consistently observed in him: daily fellowship with God, a strong work ethic, a practice of giving to others in need and a focus on Kingdom advancement rather than minor denominational differences. Although we miss him, we remain confident that he is in the presence of the Lord and that we will see him again.

8/26/2014 11:14:13 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 1 comments

Church budgets: the big picture

August 12 2014 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Summertime and the living is easy, according to the old song. But in many churches, committees are working diligently on budgets to gear up for the fall schedule. Committees are poring over spreadsheets and printouts; prayers for guidance are made, pots of coffee consumed.
I often work with budgets and I know they can be trying! Creating a church or convention budget is when we assign dollar values to the ministries God has called us to carry out. The determination we make about how we will spend church ministry and mission dollars is where the rubber hits the road. Budgets are where the church assigns dollar values to her best intentions. The budgeting process paints a picture, not of what we would like to do, but what we can afford to do, thus what we really will do.
May I offer five suggestions on big picture budgeting?
1.  Consider your church’s stewardship status. Sadly, many Baptists fall short of tithing a tenth of their incomes and miss even more the generous giving taught in the New Testament. Statistics suggests that most Baptists give approximately 2-3 percent of their personal incomes, perhaps a bit more, to their churches, a percentage not even a good tip for the server at a restaurant. Does your church need to do more in educating the members about the obedience of giving to God?
2.  Remember that baseline funding for the local church, so it can pay its bills and support its staff, is just the start. The church exists not just to survive, but to bring a lost world into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. To impact lostness, a church requires additional funds beyond the baseline for local ministry. 
3. Acts 1:8 reminds us that outreach starts where we are, in our Jerusalem, but must continue across the homeland even to the ends of the earth. Like first-century churches, North Carolina Baptists have found they can best obey this instruction by partnering our income with those of other like-minded believers, thereby fielding some 10,000 missionaries and supporting many life-changing Christian ministries. 
4.  Does your church have a strategy to reach the 5.8 million lost people estimated to live in our state now? You think not? Actually, if your church supports the Baptist State Convention through the Cooperative Program, you do have such a strategy! Your church supports N.C. Baptist Children’s Homes, the planting of 100+ new churches each year across our state, strengthening existing churches plus a wide range of evangelistic outreach efforts, mission partnersffhips, conference centers and training events that help bring thousands to Christ. Our convention’s bold new strategy to raise up disciple-making churches will help us reach even more lost people with the gospel.
5.  As you pray over our Lord’s Acts 1:8 challenge, please consider increasing your church’s Cooperative Program giving. This is how we Baptists partner together on missions and ministry beyond our Jerusalem to our state, nation and world. 
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” 2 Corinthians 8:2

8/12/2014 9:53:24 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments