January 2012

Do you have a mission strategy?

January 30 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

It’s hard to believe we are already in the second month of 2012. Time certainly goes by quickly so we must be good stewards of our time. One way we can do this is by making a plan. Often we have very good intentions, but without a plan, it is sometimes hard to follow through on everything we want to accomplish.
For example, in my last column I mentioned that many of you began this New Year by determining to read through the Bible. Achieving this goal would be hard without a plan, which is why many pastors provide reading plans and other resources.
I am grateful to serve alongside Convention staff who desire to help you become more effective in your ministry efforts, and to help equip you with various resources.
One of those resources is Find it Here, which is a strategy, or plan, for making a Kingdom impact. Our three-year Find it Here emphasis recognizes the need for individuals and churches to develop an intentional plan of action for evangelism, discipleship and missions.
In 2010, we encouraged you to develop a strategy for intentional evangelism.
One way you did this was by participating in an Easter evangelism emphasis, and I hope you will join us in this emphasis again this year.
Last year churches committed to focusing on life-transformational discipleship and to making disciples who in turn make disciples.
I want to invite you to join us this year as we focus on missions mobilization. We desire for all North Carolina Baptists to live missional lives in their community, state, nation and world so that we can reach people with the gospel. 
Find it Here 2012: Expanding the Kingdom is about every North Carolina Baptist taking a step toward missional living. We understand that this “next step” will look different for different churches. Some of you may be well on your way to embracing a people group that has never heard the gospel. For others, that next step may be reaching out for the first time to your community.
Taking that next step will require intentionality on your part, a plan for doing so, and this is where Find it Here can help. Find it Here is a holistic process designed to help your church formulate a customized Acts 1:8 mission strategy. The process includes four phases to help move your congregation from mission assessment to missions mobilization to missions evaluation.
Free resources such as a planning guide, mission strategy assessment tools, sermon outlines, Bibles studies, prayer and devotional guides, and missions videos are available at finditherenc.org.
For more information about Find it Here please call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5571, or email findithere@ncbaptist.org.
Let’s commit to doing whatever it takes to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ!
“Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” Luke 10:2
1/30/2012 2:40:37 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

A Genesis reminder

January 16 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

With the start of this New Year, I know many of you are making it a priority to spend more time in God’s Word. Some pastors have made available different reading plans and resources to help you read through the Bible in one year.
If you are following a reading plan to read through the Bible chronologically, then you have already spent much time this month in the book of Genesis. Genesis is where we find the account of how God created the world. As you read the creation story ask the Holy Spirit to illumine your mind with a fresh perspective.
Keeping in mind that Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is upon us, I believe Genesis is a good place for us to turn in order to be reminded of the value of human life. We know human life is valuable because God created us.
The Bible tells us that after God created man and woman, He blessed them and told them to be fruitful and to multiply. God provided His creation with food and everything they needed to survive.
Not only did God create us, He created us in His image, to know Him and to be with Him.
Before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve enjoyed fellowship with God and were not separated from Him. Our almighty, powerful God desired fellowship with His creation.
We know human life is valuable because even after sin entered the world, God still loved His creation enough that He desired to redeem it. Although the people God created had chosen to sin against Him, God was willing to send His perfect and sinless son to earth so that He could die for the sin of mankind.
As we live in fellowship with God, He is daily sanctifying us and transforming our character into the likeness of Jesus.
The Bible is clear – we matter to God. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He invites us to cast our burdens upon Him, and He invites us into His presence through prayer.
During this time when we are mindful of how precious life is, I invite you to think back to Genesis and to offer praise and thanksgiving to God for being your Creator and Sustainer.
Many people throughout our nation and world do not understand the value of human life.
A recent article reported that each year more than one million pregnancies in the United States end in abortion. How sinful and tragic this is because it destroys God’s miraculous gift of life.
Please pray for God to change hearts. Please pray for people to be changed by the power of the gospel, and so come to understand the value of all life.
“What is man, that You are mindful of him, And the son of man, that you visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:4-5 (NKJV)
1/16/2012 2:37:49 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

A new year requires continued focus on vision in ‘7 Pillars’

January 3 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield, Jr.

For many people the New Year brings opportunity for resolutions. In the beginning of 2012, some of you may have made a New Year’s resolution to live a healthier lifestyle, or to be a better steward of the financial resources God has entrusted to you.
Instead of focusing on New Year’s resolutions for our Convention, I am praying for a new resolve. I believe God has already given us our mission, and that is to assist churches in accomplishing their divinely appointed mission. We can, by God’s grace, become the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the gospel.
Now, we must be more resolved than ever before to accomplish this mission. We must be fully resolved to do whatever necessary to see people come to faith in Christ and mature as Christ-followers.
I resolved five years ago to develop a list of core values to assist our Convention in keeping focused on our mission; the result was what has come to be known as the 7 Pillars for Ministry.
These core values, or pillars, are biblical concepts of a Christ-centered vision for our Convention that sharpen our focus as we labor together for Jesus Christ.
Many of you heard me share the 7 Pillars during my address during our annual meeting in November. After a time of reflection and evaluation, I have updated the pillars. These revisions bring more clarity to the meaning and purpose of the pillars and the focus of our Convention.
I made these revisions based on recommendations from the Vision Fulfillment Committee. In 2010, our Board of Directors approved a motion directing the formation of a Vision Fulfillment Committee.
The Committee sought input from North Carolina Baptists about the fulfillment of our vision through the funding and implementation of the 7 Pillars. The input of North Carolina Baptists through the Vision Fulfillment forums, as well as input from the Committee, helped shape these revisions to the pillars. 
The most significant change has been made to Pillar 6, “Escalating Technology.” This Pillar has been significantly revised and is now titled, “Embrace Unreached and Unengaged People Groups.” Although I continue to see value in using technology in missions and ministry, I wanted to magnify our emphasis on missions, and therefore I revised this pillar. 
In addition to pillar revisions, the Vision Fulfillment Committee encouraged our Convention to consider how we can be more effective in several areas of our work.
I have already formed three cross-functional teams from among Convention staff to address some of these areas. These teams are exploring communication issues, the tension between balancing church planting and strengthening existing churches, and strategic development.
I will be updating you on the work of these teams later in the year. I encourage you to read the updated 7 Pillars document at ncbaptist.org.
So ... whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

1/3/2012 3:50:10 PM by Milton A. Hollifield, Jr. | with 0 comments