January 2015

State evangelism conference to focus on making disciples

January 27 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

For 67 years, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has conducted some outstanding statewide evangelism conferences. Large numbers of North Carolina Baptists have assembled to hear great music and powerful evangelistic sermons presented by some of the best preachers from across the nation. The intent was to provide pastors with fresh ideas they could use in motivating their church members to get involved in sharing Christ in their communities and in the market place.

I have been told (but not confirmed) that there was a day when more people attended the North Carolina Baptist State Evangelism Conference than the convention’s Annual Meeting. Through the years, much has changed and many of our friends, favorite preachers and gospel musicians who attended those conferences are now living in the presence of Christ in heaven.

This year, what was formerly called the State Evangelism Conference will be called the One Story Disciple-Making Conference. Throughout the New Testament, we frequently find Paul engaging with unbelievers and philosophers of his day through the use of stories. Often we see Paul listening to the stories of those he came in contact with, relating his story to theirs and ultimately sharing God’s story of redemption with them.

In this convention’s new strategy, which is called “Impacting Lostness through Disciple-Making,” we define disciple-making as evangelism that leads to conversion that continues with discipleship that results in disciples who make more disciples. Evangelism is the first step in making disciples, and this conference will help you reach unbelievers through your life story.

The date for this one-day conference is Monday, Feb. 23, and the location will be Center Grove Baptist Church in Clemmons, just west of Winston-Salem. The conference is being offered at no cost, but we do ask that you pre-register by Feb. 15.

The One Story Disciple-Making Conference will feature a strong lineup of speakers, plus a number of breakout sessions designed to offer practical tips and ideas that you can use to make disciples in your everyday life. This year’s schedule also includes a women’s track featuring Lori McDaniel, Global Mission Catalyst with the International Mission Board.

Conference speakers Ed Stetzer, executive director of the LifeWay Research Division, Afshin Ziafat, lead pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, Texas, and Robby Gallaty, pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., will address the themes of “hear, connect and share” during their respective sessions. Additionally, filmmaker Jon Erwin, who worked on recent faith-based films like “October Baby” and “Mom’s Night Out,” will speak about his current documentary project on the Jesus Movement of the 1960s and ’70s.

I hope you will join us for the One Story Disciple-Making Conference to learn how your story can make a difference in a dark world. For more information about this conference or to register, visit ncbaptist.org/disciplenc.

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” – Colossians 4:6

1/27/2015 10:10:29 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Racial reconciliation

January 13 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Each January, many citizens in our nation pause to remember and reflect on the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech remains one of the most famous speeches in American history. It is well worth listening to again.
 
We are a generation removed from King’s life, but it is clear that we are still dealing with the pain and hurt of the tragic racial injustices from our nation’s past. I still have vivid memories of the sad and tragic day when this great minister of the gospel was struck down by an assassin’s bullet. Dr. King preached and lived a message of forgiveness. He was a strong and outspoken advocate for equality of all people, but he also proclaimed a message of peace and justice.
 
Although our nation has made some progress since Dr. King delivered his speech more than 50 years ago from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., recent events in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City underscore the fact that there is still much work to be done in the area of racial reconciliation in our country. These tragic occurrences serve as poignant reminders that we live in a world that is fallen and broken and still contaminated with the lingering effects of sin.
 
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we must lead the way in praying for and seeking racial reconciliation. This issue is not just a cultural issue or a social issue. This is a gospel issue. In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul reminds us that the gospel breaks down all racial, cultural or social barriers. Paul writes in Galatians 3:26-28, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
 
In December, my friend Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, dedicated a chapel service for students, faculty, staff and community leaders to pray specifically for racial reconciliation, healing and understanding in response to the issues of our day.
 
During the service, Dr. Akin said racial reconciliation will not happen in America until it happens in the church. I agree with his assessment and echo his plea to the church to “show the way forward through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
 
The gospel demands that all people, regardless of their color, gender, culture or socioeconomic status, be treated with dignity and respect because we are all created in the image of God.
 
Only when we are rightly reconciled to God can we be rightly reconciled to one another.
 
After these things, I looked, and behold a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” – Revelation 7:9

1/13/2015 10:44:48 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments