February 2017

Reach North America for Christ

February 21 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Spring is fast approaching, and the beginnings of new life will soon be evident all around us in the plant and animal kingdoms. As trees that have been dormant during the winter months begin to bud then blossom, and as flowers start to burst forth with beautiful, radiant colors, I hope we will stop and ponder how God provides this to make the world around us a wonderful place to live.
 
He did not have to design the color in flowers or give the wild birds a song to sing, but He chose to make His creation beautiful so we might enjoy it and praise His name.
 
Can the magnificence of His creation also remind us of the ultimate life – the new life that became available to us when Christ died for our sins and arose from the grave on Resurrection Sunday?
 
As you celebrate the spiritual life we have in Christ this Easter, I hope you will also reflect on the present condition and the future plight of those individuals who do not realize that Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty for their sin and then conquered death, hell and the grave in order to provide eternal life for them.
 
With 269 million lost people, North America is one of the most spiritually dark places in the world, but we can affect lostness on this continent through the grace and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
Each year, our North American Mission Board (NAMB) promotes prayer and receives the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) that provides almost 50 percent of NAMB’s income. This year, the AAEO’s theme is “Together for His Kingdom.”
 
As the Body of Christ in North America, we can make a great impact for the Lord through this offering.
 
The week of prayer for North America is March 5-12, and I hope that you will join me in praying for featured missionaries during this week. The AAEO makes possible the necessary training, resources and education for our missionaries, but don’t forget that all 5,684 NAMB missionaries also depend upon your intercessory prayer support for their work.
 
The goal for the AAEO this year is $70 million.
 
In 2016, 55 percent of funds received through the AAEO were allocated to the Send network (NAMB’s church planting strategy) and Send relief missionary support. In addition, 30 percent of the funds went to missionary development and training, and 15 percent of the funds went to missionary health care.
 
Last year, in comparison to other states, North Carolina Baptist churches were the leading contributors to the AAEO, giving in excess of $6 million for this special offering. Give all the praise and glory to our God for what He enabled us to do!
 
How much will you pray, and how much will you give to God in 2017 to help reach North America with the gospel, that we might all be “Together for His Kingdom?”

If you would like to learn more about the missionaries supported through the AAEO, please visit anniearmstrong.com. Another great resource is a DVD entitled “52 Sundays” which the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina produced and mailed to each of our churches. It contains short video clips of NAMB missionaries. You can also download this material at bit.ly/52SundaysResource.
 

2/21/2017 12:49:42 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Revitalization: God’s call to churches

February 7 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

As we move further into 2017, church health and revitalization is of critical importance. Studies released from the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention indicate that there is a great need for spiritual revitalization within most of our Southern Baptist churches across this nation.
 
I know the same is true for many Baptist churches in North Carolina. The reality is that less than 18 percent of N.C. Baptist churches are healthy and growing. This means that more than 80 percent of our churches are plateaued, declining or dying. As your convention staff, we have taken notice of this, and I am pleased to remind you that in the past year, we began moving forward within our own convention to provide assistance for churches that need help. Lynn Sasser and Brian Upshaw from our Evangelism and Discipleship group have assembled and trained a group of specialists that have knowledge, experience and expertise in leading churches to become spiritually healthy and vibrant again. These specialists are working with individual churches who have requested this assistance from your state convention.
 
We continue to expand the reach of the revitalization work that we do. In March we will participate in an event called “Leading Change in the Church,” which is based on the book, Who Moved My Pulpit? by Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources.
 
One poignant fact we cannot ignore from Who Moved My Pulpit? is that 90 percent of our churches are losing ground in their neighborhoods and communities.
 
My friends, that means that we can reach 90 percent more of the people in our communities if our congregations will be open to the idea of change in our churches – if we ask God to change our hearts, give us guidance and breathe life into our local church bodies once again.
 
I have discovered that when a church has a need for revitalization, the membership usually finds it quite difficult to realize and admit that which has become a reality. When a church turns inward, the members focus more upon themselves and their own needs – which in reality are often wants. Because of this, I urge you to attend this event on March 7 and evaluate the condition of your church.
 
Will you begin praying for church revitalization to happen in our state? Pray that the hearts of local church leaders will be moved to see how revitalization can significantly impact their church and in turn enable them to make an eternal impact in their community.
 
If you and I hope to make a spiritual difference in communities within our church field, we must experience internal change before we will see external results. Revitalization is about making our churches healthy, but also remember that a healthy church is one with a focus on the needs of people outside the walls of our church buildings. Many people around us need to know Christ as Savior. If we have spiritually healthy churches, we can reach them more effectively. Let us pray and work toward church revitalization, and also pray that we will be united in our vision and efforts to reach the lost in our state.
 
For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” – Luke 19:10.
 

2/7/2017 11:43:16 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments