March 2012

Praying for a harvest

March 26 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Before I became executive director-treasurer of this Convention I served as executive leader for the mission growth evangelism group, what we refer to now as our evangelization group. Evangelism has always been a very important part of my life. I am thankful for every opportunity God gives me to share how the gospel changed my life.
 
The Bible tells us in Romans that people cannot believe in Jesus if they have not heard of Jesus. God has entrusted to us His gospel message and commands us to tell others.
 
One way your Convention staff is seeking to help churches make evangelism a priority is through the Intentionally Evangelistic Church Strategy, or IECS. This is a strategy that Don McCutcheon, our executive leader for evangelization, developed to help teach churches to be intentional in fulfilling the Great Commission.
 
In 1997, while still serving as director of evangelism strategy for the Florida Baptist Convention, Don first introduced IECS. Since then, more than 200 churches have implemented the strategy, and 40 percent of those churches doubled in baptisms in two years or less.
 
IECS is based on four principles: Every Christian is called by God to be involved in the Great Commission; evangelism begins with the local church; churches are different and must find their own way to evangelize their community; and God wants to bless Christians in reaching nonbelievers.
 
The five-part strategy includes evangelistic leadership, evangelistic prayer, assimilation, event evangelism and personal evangelism.
 
Churches are encouraged to develop an individualized process for effective evangelism that incorporates these five elements.
 
If your church has not participated in IECS, please pray about doing so. You can find more information at ncbaptist.org/iecs.
 
With Easter Sunday almost upon us, I also want to encourage you to join us in our Easter evangelism emphasis.
 
As part of this year’s Find It Here: Expanding the Kingdom missions focus, we are also inviting North Carolina Baptists to participate in an intentional Easter evangelism emphasis.

For the past two years, hundreds of churches across the state have participated and we have seen the gospel transform lives.
 
More details about this emphasis are available at 2010.finditherenc.org.
 
As we pray about being more intentionally evangelistic, what better time than during this Easter season?
 
There’s still time for you to go across the street and invite a neighbor to come to church with you on Easter. Pastors, there’s still time for you to prepare an evangelistic sermon for Easter Sunday.
 
If we are going to reach this state and this world for Jesus we must begin with prayer. In our own strength and abilities we can do nothing. Scripture commands that we go and tell, but only God can save and only God can draw people unto Himself. Please pray that Jesus Christ would open the hearts of lost people so that they will come to know Him as Savior and Lord. 
 
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God …. Ye must be born again.” – John 3:3, 7

Related story
Evangelical training helps churches reach communities
3/26/2012 3:44:45 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Cherishing our families

March 12 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr. Executive director-treasurer

In less than two months North Carolina voters will decide whether or not a definition of marriage is written into the state constitution that defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. If you or your church would like more information about the marriage amendment you can visit blog.ncbaptist.org/clpa.
 
I do pray for this amendment to pass, but it will take more than pastors and church members saying “I support this amendment.”
 
The success or failure of this vote will be determined by the number of people who actually take the time to drive to the polls and cast their vote as a North Carolina citizen. I beg you to exercise your right and responsibility to vote.
 
However, I do not believe that passing this amendment will solve the problem of broken, hurting marriages and families. This is tremendously important, but there is more to do.
 
Many marriages and families in this country are in desperate need of healing. A recent article in The New York Times reported that more than half of births to American women under age 30 are outside the union of marriage. In 2010, a study from the Pew Research Center reported that 39 percent of Americans believed marriage is becoming obsolete.
 
As marriages are strengthened, so are families. In order for that to happen, the local church must step up and lead the way. We must teach about God’s design for marriage and family, and we must model Christ-centered marriages.
 
We must be willing to come alongside those who are struggling in their marriage and help them experience the grace and power that comes through Jesus Christ.
 
God created marriage between a man and woman. According to Ephesians 5:31-32, a Christ-centered marriage can serve as an earthly picture, or representation, of the unity and love that exists between God and His church – between those who know Him as Savior and Lord. A Christian marriage helps point us back to the love of our heavenly Father.
 
Since God created marriage we know that marriage is good and is intended for our good and His glory. Therefore we must cherish marriage and seek to honor God in our marriage.
 
Accomplishing this is not easy, as it requires commitment and intentionality. If we do not make marriage and family a priority, these relationships will fall to the wayside before we know it.
 
I want to point you to an excellent resource to help strengthen your family.
 
Eddie Thompson, our Convention staff member who serves in marriage and family ministry, leads various marriage conferences and parenting conferences.
 
During these conferences Eddie will help you understand God’s design for marriage and for the family, and how you can get back on track in these areas of your life.
 
In a few months he is also leading a pastor/spouse retreat. More information about these events is available at ncbaptist.org/family.
 
Your marriage and your family are worth your time and investment. You can leave a legacy of faithfulness and love for God that will impact generations to come.
 
It’s time to plead for the Holy Spirit to work in our marriages and it’s time to obey Him so that Christ-controlled relationships in our home bring much honor and glory to our God.
 
“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…..But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
3/12/2012 6:33:07 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr. Executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments