January 2016

God’s love does not discriminate

January 27 2016 by Milton A. Hollfield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Our nation recently paused to remember the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although much time has passed since Dr. King’s life was tragically cut short, his timeless message of equality for all people still rings true today.
 
As we continue to reflect on Dr. King and his message, I would like to draw your attention to another day we recognize as Southern Baptists – Racial Recognition Sunday. This year Racial Reconciliation Sunday falls on Feb. 14, the day we traditionally celebrate as Valentine’s Day.
 
I believe it is fitting for us a denomination to have these days coincide with one another on the calendar this year because God’s love does not discriminate by race or ethnicity.
 
The love of God and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ are for all people. The sins of racism, racial injustice and inequality are not just social issues; they are gospel issues because each and every person is made in the image of God.
 
Although progress has been made with regard to race relations in our land, the truth is there is much work that still needs to take place. Sadly, our very own national convention has not always taken the correct stand on issues related to race and inequality at times in its history.
 
I am thankful, however, that some years ago the Southern Baptist Convention publically acknowledged and apologized for the sins of the past and vowed to oppose racism in all of its forms in the future. Again, progress has been made, but there is still more work to be done.
 
I am not naïve enough to think that the age of racism has ended.
 
There is still a lot of racial prejudice that exists within our state, our nation, and sadly, within our churches. It is heartbreaking to think about the horrible acts of racism that have been committed not only in our history, but even in recent years.
 
As followers of Christ, we are to abhor racism, as Christ abhors racism. Our calling is to show the world that we want no part in racial prejudice, and we need to demonstrate that not only with the words of our mouth, but also the actions of our life.
 
As we look forward to Racial Reconciliation Sunday, I urge N.C. Baptist churches and individuals to celebrate our oneness and unity in Christ Jesus with other congregations. Yet don’t allow this to be a one-time recognition on a calendar.
 
We must join together to move forward and make an impact for the gospel while praying that the power of Christ’s love in us will remove any and all prejudice in our lives. I challenge you to take action against racial prejudice in any form. Whatever the color of our skin, regardless of our different nationalities, if we are trusting in Christ as Savior and Lord, we are one in the bond of love.
 
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” – Galatians 3:28 (NKJV).

1/27/2016 11:13:13 AM by Milton A. Hollfield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Relationships help reveal the gospel to others

January 12 2016 by Milton A. Hollifield, BSC executive director-treasurer

As I have reflected on 2015, I was reminded just how great of a year it was for North Carolina Baptists and the strides we have made in creating a disciple-making culture across our state.
 
When we first launched the strategy of impacting lostness through disciple-making in January 2014, we knew that we had quite a bit of work ahead of us. We knew that this would greatly change the way we approached and engaged in ministry. Yet as I travel across North Carolina, I am finding that more pastors and church members are more intentionally engaging in disciple-making efforts as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission.
 
I am finding that more and more people understand their calling as personal disciple-makers. This calling is about more than growing the institution of the Church. It is about the people of the Church growing to become disciples who will share the gospel with others, see others come to faith in Christ, help those individuals grow into mature followers of Christ and then make even more disciples.
 
The disciple-making process involves taking time to develop and build genuine relationships with others. It involves investing time with them and pouring our lives into theirs. This is what the Apostle Paul expressed in his words to the church at Thessalonica that he not only shared the gospel with them, but he also shared his very life with them.
 
Those words of Paul expressed in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 serve as the theme and the theme verse for this year’s disciple-making conference, which is titled “Reveal.” It is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 29 at Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro. This year’s conference will have a special focus on how to invest our lives in others and view our relationships through the lens of disciple-making.
 
The conference features an exciting lineup of speakers including Chuck Lawless of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Bruce and Lori Frank of Biltmore Baptist Church in Asheville; Dhati Lewis, a pastor and church planter in Atlanta; and Jerry McCorkle of Spread Truth Ministries. In addition to the main sessions, the conference will include a number of practical equipping sessions to help you disciple others within your sphere of influence.
 
I hope to see you at this year’s disciple-making conference as together we prayerfully seek to be used of the Lord to share the gospel and our lives with others in order to make disciples of all nations. This will be a great opportunity for both staff and lay leaders to receive information that will help them become more effective in discipling others as together, we work to create a disciple-making culture.
 
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” – 1 Thessalonians 2:8.

1/12/2016 10:40:03 AM by Milton A. Hollifield, BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments