December 2013

Who do you know?

December 30 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Many of us approach the start of a New Year with great expectations. We want a fresh start and we want to make changes so that life is better in the New Year.
 
I would like to suggest something new.
 
During our Annual Meeting in Greensboro last November many of you will remember that I asked you to join me in committing to impact lostness through disciple-making.
 
I pray that N.C. Baptists will not lose sight of those commitments we made not long ago. Every day brings us one day closer to our Lord’s return and more than 5.8 million people in our state do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
 
Let’s join together and commit this year to take the next step. I challenge you to make this a year of intentionality. Begin this New Year by taking simple, practical steps to build relationships and share the gospel with old friends and new people.
 
Who do you know who needs to hear about the life-transforming power of the gospel?
 
Do you know a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker or family member who needs to know Jesus? Ask God to connect you with someone who needs to be discipled.
 
Sometimes, the simplest acts of kindness produce significant Kingdom impact.
 
For example, one of the video testimonies on our “Next Step” Vimeo channel (www.vimeo.com/ncbaptist) features a young couple who decided to give up some of their weekends away in order to be home and to be present in their neighborhood. They also set aside one night a week to invite neighbors to dinner.
 
As a result, this couple began a Bible study with their neighbors and several people have come to faith in Christ.
 
Another couple shared a testimony with us about how a dinner invitation to one international student led to that student attending church with this couple and the student coming to faith in Christ. As the couple began discipling this college student, they also began meeting with other international students and have led several Bible studies for these students.
 
They are, as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, not only sharing the gospel but “sharing their lives” with these students and God is working in incredible ways.
 
As we begin a New Year, ask God to help you discern how He would have you reach out to those around you.
 
In the book Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples, Frances Chan reminds us that… “making disciples is the mission of our life. A disciple is a disciple maker.”
 
Be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading about ways you can serve people and build relationships.
 
If you have a “Next Step” story to share, please let us know. We would love to share your story of God at work with other North Carolina Baptists.
 
For more information please visit our Next Step page: www.ncbaptist.org/nextstep.
 
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
12/30/2013 3:03:36 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Please support the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

December 16 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

For five years a Baptist church in Arkansas prayed that the Bedia people of South Asia would come to know Jesus Christ. Among this people group of more than 100,000 there were no known believers.
 
The congregation prayed, sent teams and trusted in the power of the gospel. After five years, the first Bedia believer came to faith in Christ and was baptized.

When a Baptist church in southern California decided to embrace an unreached, unengaged people group they didn’t have to go more than 20 miles down the road.

The church began engaging a people group in southern Mexico and soon learned that in a town near their church lived about 700 people from the same people group who had migrated from Mexico to work in the Central Valley.
 
These stories and many more are featured in the Week of Prayer materials for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO).
 
Through this offering the International Mission Board (IMB) is able to support about 4,800 missionaries. In 2011, IMB missionaries gave 1.4 million gospel presentations, helped plant more than 24,000 churches and baptized 266,000 new believers.
 
Missionaries also engaged 133 new people groups with the gospel.
 
Unreached, unengaged people groups (UUPGs) are people groups without continual access to the gospel through any evangelical church planting efforts, and with a population that is less than two percent evangelical.
 
This special offering also helps IMB missionaries share the gospel through evangelism and discipleship training, medical outreach and meeting physical needs.
 
Since 1918, when the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) named the annual Christmas offering for international missions after Lottie Moon, Southern Baptists have given more than $3.5 billion through the LMCO
 
This year’s offering goal is $175 million and the theme is “Totally His … heart, hands, voice,” based on Matthew 22:36-39. Free resources, such as videos, posters and bulletin inserts, are available at www.imb.org. On this website you will also find a free prayer guide, and I encourage you to pray for the missionaries and the various people groups highlighted in this guide.
 
Last year Southern Baptists gave $149.3 million to the LMCO, marking the third-highest amount given in the history of the offering. Thank you, North Carolina Baptists, for giving sacrificially. You led the Southern Baptist Convention in your support for the LMCO in 2012. The churches of this state convention led all state conventions in gifts to this special offering. 
 
With nearly 3,400 UUPGs still waiting for someone to come and tell them about Jesus we must increase our missions giving, and we must continue going wherever God calls us in order that more people will have an opportunity to hear about our Savior’s love. 
 
I pray that as we enter this Christmas season we will each commit to giving sacrificially to the LMCO.
 
When you give you are investing in our Lord’s Kingdom and making an eternal impact.
 
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37
12/16/2013 12:27:16 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



A grand and glorious event

December 2 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Gloria and I were blessed to be a part of what I would describe as an historic event for God’s Kingdom and the work of N.C. Baptists on Saturday, Nov. 16. In a two-hour worship service in Greensboro, before a strong number of international people, 11 Montagnard men were ordained to the gospel ministry. It would be newsworthy if any 11 men were ordained at the same time, but the ordination of 11 Montagnard men is unprecedented in North Carolina. This was a major event important in several ways.

The Montagnards are a people group who have come to North Carolina from the Central Highlands of Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia.
 
Thousands of Montagnard Christians have come here over the past decade to escape intense persecution by the Vietnamese government. That persecution has included imprisonment, torture and death. The Montagnards sided with our forces during the Vietnam War. After the Americans withdrew in 1975, the communist government continued to attack the Montagnards, especially the Christians who sought to worship Jesus Christ freely. So our new Montagnard neighbors arrived here seeking freedom of religion just as our own Baptist ancestors did in an earlier time.
 
It humbled me to learn that each of these 11 men spent time in communist prisons in Vietnam. Several spent as much as 17 years hiding out in Vietnam’s rugged, forested mountains as they preached, evangelized and led worship while evading capture by communist soldiers.
 
These brothers have demonstrated their commitment to prepare themselves for the pastoral ministry. They recently completed a three-year study of the Bible and Christian doctrine, plus additional study about pastoral leadership. Their course of study was developed by Rev. K. ’Them Nfn, pastor of Highland Christian Church, a Montagnard Baptist congregation in Asheboro. He started the first Montagnard church in Greensboro in 2003 and in 2008 he moved to the smaller Asheboro church so he and his son, Simon Touprong, who is also a minister, could focus on discipling and training their people. Some American pastors from BSC member churches were part of an ordination examination council that invested 9 hours questioning and sharing with the candidates. Pastor John D. Jarman from Rankin Baptist Church said he felt unworthy to question the faith of these brave men. Steve Sells, director of missions for Randolph Baptist Association said the men knew an incredible amount of “solid, theological information.”
 
Pastor K.’Them has trained 35 students across N.C. This disciple-making was carried out in partnership with several Montagnard leaders, plus support from Randolph Baptist Association and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Sei Hun Kim, who has led Asian church leader training for our convention, was a prime mover and encourager.

One of the 11 ordained men will return to Cambodia as a missionary. Two will be starting new Montagnard churches here.
 
The others are already serving as pastors of churches. There are 11 Montagnard Baptist churches in our state. During the recent annual BSC meeting, we focused on creating disciple-making churches to impact our state’s lostness. Our new brothers and sisters from Vietnam have shown us this can indeed be done.
12/2/2013 3:41:04 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments