February 2010

Church planting in N.C. — God is up to something!

February 23 2010 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

Soon after becoming the Executive Director-Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) I developed a document entitled, Seven Pillars for Ministry: Biblical Concepts for a Christ-Centered Vision to strategically and proactively guide the work of your BSC staff.

“Plant New Multiplication Churches” stands as one of the central pillars of that document and God is obviously blessing our focus on church planting. Let me share with you what God did in 2009 through the church planting ministry of North Carolina Baptists. 

In 2009, using your Cooperative Program and North Carolina Missions Offering dollars, the BSC welcomed 122 new churches into our convention.

Ninety-eight of these new churches are new church starts and 24 are established congregations desiring to be a part of what God is doing in the Baptist State Convention.

Of the 98 new church starts over half are non-Anglo church plants.

Your financial gifts helped launch new churches for a variety of people groups God is bringing to our state. For example, last year North Carolina Baptists started 22 Hispanic churches, two Chinese churches, five Asian Indian churches and churches for immigrants from Haiti, Romania, Burma, and a host of other countries. God is literally bringing the world to North Carolina, and North Carolina Baptists are evangelistically reaching our new international neighbors through church planting.

We also launched 13 African-American churches, five multi-ethnic churches, five biker churches and seven cowboy churches. I am thrilled to share with you how God is glorifying Himself through these new church starts.

Last year, through the ministries of the church plants receiving financial support from the BSC, 2,341 people came to faith in Jesus Christ — to God be the glory!

More than 7,450 people gathered on a weekly basis to worship in these church plants and our newest BSC churches gave more than $295,000 to SBC mission causes. Remember, that is just in 2009.

Over the last five years, the BSC has welcomed over 579 new churches! That’s right, 579!! It is simply amazing what God is doing through the church planting ministry of North Carolina Baptists.

As we march into 2010 let me challenge you and your church to prayerfully consider how God wants you to be involved in the planting of new churches to reach the 5.5 million unchurched residents of North Carolina.

Is it possible God is calling you to the life and ministry of a church planter?

Is it possible He is calling you to be a part of a core group of believers who come alongside a planter to encourage, support and assist the planter in his ministry?

Is it possible God is calling your church to support a new church plant with your prayers, financial gifts and strongest church members as lay leaders in a new plant? 

Yes, God is up to something in the church planting ministry of North Carolina Baptists. I invite you to find a way to join Him.

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” 1 Cor. 3:6  

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Hollifield’s pamphlet, Seven Pillars, is available online at www.ncbaptist.org/index.php?id=901.)
2/23/2010 9:07:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 1 comments

When preaching is our passion

February 9 2010 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

During the January meeting of the Executive Committee David Horton shared about the ministry of Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute. I had invited David to share a testimony in order to help members of our Executive Committee learn how North Carolina Baptists make an eternal impact for the Kingdom through their support of the Cooperative Program.

David began as president of Fruitland in June of last year and has already witnessed God working mightily on the campus. He is having a wonderful influence with the faculty and staff at Fruitland, and I am also excited about the ministry of David’s wife, Lisa, to the wives of our Fruitland students. David shared with the Executive Committee about a student from Nicaragua who, shortly after receiving Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, enrolled in the Hispanic certificate program at Fruitland. He earned his certificate, and two years later he completed the associates’ degree program at Fruitland. This student is soon headed back to Nicaragua where he will apply the truths of the gospel he learned while at Fruitland.

Fruitland students are making a difference not only in our state, but also around the world. They are faithfully shepherding local churches and training believers in the teachings of scripture.

The Hispanic program continues to draw students to the campus and in the coming months even more ministry will begin among the international community. Fruitland is working to expand its educational services by offering online classes and developing satellite campuses.

Thirty-nine students graduated last year and 25 of those graduates now pastor Convention churches. By the time they graduate, Fruitland students have been trained in the areas of missions, pastoral theology, doctrine, historical studies, and Christian ministries.

The professors, many who are full-time pastors and hold at least a master’s degree, are teaching, and share firsthand ministry experience with students.

When visitors arrive on the Fruitland campus, they find a sign that reads: “Where preaching is our passion.” During David’s installation service he repeatedly stated the mission of this school is to train pastors in expository preaching. The foundation of this school is the teaching of God’s inspired, inerrant Word.

I know this to be true, for I know many of the pastors who have come through the program at Fruitland, and I see what God is doing through their ministry. I have heard their sermons and I see the fruit of time they have invested in ministry preparation.

We do not all preach from a pulpit every week, but all of us who have been rescued from sin and spiritual death by Jesus Christ are commanded to make it our passion to tell the truth of the gospel with those who need to hear. May our lives reflect a passionate love for the One who died to set us free from sin’s condemnation.

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5
2/9/2010 9:27:00 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments