March 2017

Giving: the best way to make a difference

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

Do you ever wonder how you can make an impact for Christ in your state, nation and around the world? As Southern Baptists, we have the best way to combine our financial resources and make a difference. This tried and true concept is based upon partnership and mutual trust, while also providing local church autonomy.
 
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has designated April 9 as Cooperative Program Sunday. This observance provides our churches with an opportunity to celebrate our unique, God-given approach to Kingdom-focused missions and ministry support that has impacted countless numbers of people across the globe. Allow me to describe how this process works.
 
First, we are challenged to give beyond ourselves. That means we honor God by giving a tenth of our income to our church. This giving combines with the giving of other fellow members and empowers your church to minister to and reach the local community and beyond.
 
Subsequently, your church gives a percentage of all undesignated receipts to mission support through the SBC Cooperative Program (CP) plan to join with other N.C. Baptist churches in supporting missions beyond your community. My church forwards 10 percent of our undesignated receipts to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
 
Next, the funds your church forwards to the BSC are combined with contributions from other N.C. Baptist churches to resource a budget that is developed, discussed and approved by messengers from member churches each November.
 
This budget provides basic funding for Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, Fruitland Baptist Bible College, the N.C. Baptist Aging Ministry and many other ministries. It also allocates funding for convention staff to help strengthen existing N.C. Baptist churches. Our Church Planting Team partners with churches, associations and networks to help start new churches where needed. Newcomers to our state speak more than 300 languages because they have come from all over the world. CP helps enable us to present the gospel in ways these immigrants can understand.
 
CP funding enabled our staff to identify 250 areas where there are concentrations of our state’s 5.8 million lost people. We are providing leaders and training to enable local Baptists to reach those pockets of lostness, where upwards of 60 percent of the residents have no relationship with Christ.
 
The next step in the value of supporting missions through CP relates to how many of our CP dollars go way beyond our state. In 2006, the BSC sent 32 percent of our CP budget to the SBC, and N.C. Baptists determined to increase that percentage incrementally. Now, in 2017, we are forwarding 40.5 percent of our CP receipts to the SBC. I hope we will continue to increase the percentage as CP income from our churches continues to grow.  If we reach our 2017 budget goal, we will send $12.3 million to the SBC in addition to the millions of dollars we will send from special missions offerings collected by our churches.
 
I reported last November during my report to messengers attending our annual meeting that the BSC forwarded to the SBC the largest amount we have ever given to support SBC missions and ministries. In the SBC’s fiscal year that ended last September, the BSC sent $11.4 million for CP and $21.1 million in designated offerings for a total of $32.5 million to SBC causes. We give all praise and thanks to God for this achievement.
 
Supporting missions through the CP is how we help support the six Southern Baptist seminaries, including Southeastern here in our state, with more than 18,000 students paying half the usual seminary tuition. Thus, we go far beyond what a single church could do in preparing future church leaders and SBC missionaries.
 
CP is how N.C. Baptists help support about 8,000 full-time North American and international missionaries working to reach nearly 900 unreached people groups around the world, train the next generation of leaders at six seminaries and much more. Supporting missions through the CP enables every giver and every local church to make an impact for Christ in our state, throughout North America and around the world. We can accomplish more combining our resources and working together in partnership than we can working alone.
 
Will you join other N.C. Baptists in giving to missions through the Cooperative Program? When you do, you are making an active difference for God’s kingdom advance in our state, our nation and in our world.
 

3/21/2017 1:39:49 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



North Carolina Baptists worship in 66 languages each week

March 8 2017 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

If you’re reading this, chances are, you probably attend a church. Come to think of it, many of you attend a Baptist church. Perhaps you’ve been a church-goer all your life – or maybe attending a weekly church service is a recent development for you. Whatever your circumstance may be, you have the opportunity to attend a place of worship where you can hear the Bible taught in your language. You can learn about the Lord, grow in your relationship with Him and fellowship with other believers who speak your language.
 
However, that’s not the whole story. Many people living in North Carolina do not know of a church family that understands the language they speak. There are many unreached and unchurched people in our state – 5.8 million, to be exact. These people live all over North Carolina and come from diverse backgrounds and different language groups. The heartbreaking truth is that many of these people never hear the gospel in a language they understand.
 
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has a strategy to impact lostness through disciple-making. As a large network of Baptist churches, we are working to reach every language group in this state with the gospel. One of the most effective ways to locate, reach and disciple people who are spiritually lost is through the establishment of churches in communities that speak the language of people around them.
 
God has brought people from all over the world to live in North Carolina. Our public school system reports that children attending schools in this state come from homes where more than 300 different languages are spoken. Would you agree that everyone deserves to hear the gospel in their own language?
 
In fulfillment of our Lord’s Great Commission, this state convention provides consultants to help our member churches and Baptist associations reach and disciple every people group in North Carolina through an Acts 1:8 model. In the past 10 years, North Carolina Baptists reported over 1,100 new church starts and affiliates. This includes an average of 100 churches a year among 66 different language groups. Although we give praise to God and celebrate this achievement, we need to start more churches that speak the language of newer residents in communities around them. This includes starting new churches that could meet in your church building, in homes, schools, storefronts, arenas and restaurants.
 
Cooperating and working together will enable us to reach and disciple more North Carolina residents with the gospel. This will also help to reach the nations of the world with the gospel.
 
Will you join me in praying for our church planting team and the work that they do? We are woefully low in the number of individuals who commit to give prayer support to our church plants.
 
We need you! Will you commit to being a prayer partner as we seek to reach the lost in our state through church planting? We can enable you to become a prayer partner for one or more of these new churches if you will contact the church planting team here at your Baptist State Convention.
 
If you would like to learn more about the work of the convention’s church planting team, you may visit ncbaptist.org/churchplanting.
 

3/8/2017 9:57:04 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments