May 2013

Students devote summer to missions and service

May 21 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Some college students spend the summer break enjoying a little down time after working hard all year to meet the grueling demands of the academic school year, and they certainly deserve this time off during the summer.
However, students participating in the Baptist State Convention’s summer missions program will use their summer for something special as they share the gospel locally, nationally and around the world.

Student Summer Missions is an important and vital ministry of this convention. Each summer I am challenged by the love and devotion these college and university students demonstrate for Jesus Christ. Their passion for serving Christ and serving others during a time in which they could easily pursue other opportunities is remarkable. 
We are planning to continue offering mission experiences, like the ones listed below, in the years to come.
Some of our summer missionaries will minister through local opportunities such as a refugee ministry in the Winston-Salem area.
Other opportunities include inner city ministry in East St. Louis and Waco, Texas, and ministry with unreached people groups in Southeast Asia.
A number of students will spend the summer as leaders and counselors at Camp Caraway and Camp Mundo Vista, while others will gain valuable experience serving as youth ministers in local churches across the state.
Students will serve at Fort Caswell, working with the more than 7,000 middle and high school students attending Youth Weeks.
They will lead worship, Bible studies and build relationships with students as they point them to Christ.
Seven students will spend two weeks serving in metro New York as part of their second year of training through the Next Generation Missional Journey. This three-year initiative, sponsored by the Office of Great Commission Partnerships, trains young mission leaders. These students will serve alongside the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association (MNYBA) and work among the Sri Lankan people on Staten Island, an area MNYBA is targeting for a new church plant.
These young Christian leaders will help MNYBA identify and engage the Sri Lankan people with the gospel.
Other students will serve with Deep Impact, which is a weeklong mission experience that engages middle and high school students in various mission opportunities.
They will play a crucial role in the success of these mission weeks that are sponsored by North Carolina Baptist Men. Deep Impact is held in locations such as Charlotte, Durham, Hendersonville, Red Springs and Shelby. International locations include Honduras and Cuba.
Regardless of where or how they serve this summer, these young men and women need and deserve our prayers and encouragement. As they serve Christ through missions and ministry, let’s pray that God would use them in a mighty way to impact lostness and advance His Church.
Pray that these young leaders will continue to serve our Lord with the same passion and conviction when they return to the campus in the fall where they will encounter multiple thousands of students who also need to hear about God’s plan for eternal life through Christ alone.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1 
5/21/2013 5:22:09 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

Stewardship: A matter of the heart

May 6 2013 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

About two years ago the Barna Group released a research study that concluded only about four percent of Americans tithe. To know that only such a small percentage of believers tithe not only disappoints my heart, but also greatly concerns me.
Our Lord provides us with financial resources so that we may better serve and glorify Him. Stewardship is all about our heart. If we truly love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, we will desire to be faithful with the financial and material assets He entrusts to us.
In Matthew 6:21, Jesus tells His followers that where their treasure is, their heart will be also. If we are consumed with the earthly, temporal things of this world – such as money and possessions – then our hearts will be more focused on temporarily fulfilling our own desires than on fulfilling the Great Commission. I pray that we will live with an attitude of thankfulness unto God for every good gift in our lives, giving cheerfully unto Him, and seeking to use every gift for His glory.
As important as stewardship is from a financial aspect, stewardship goes beyond financial giving. Stewardship should be a way of life for believers in Jesus Christ.
We must be good stewards of our time. We must spend time in prayer and in God’s Word every day. Our time should be invested in discipling and serving others – all for God’s glory and purposes.
I also want to remind you and encourage you that as a believer in Jesus Christ you have been made a steward of the greatest gift of all – the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:1 tells us that we are “stewards of the mysteries of God,” or of the gospel. In Ephesians 3:2 and Colossians 1:25, Paul writes that he has been given the stewardship of God’s grace.
We also know from 2 Corinthians 5 that we are stewards of reconciliation, and we are called to be ambassadors for Christ who live in such a way that the love of Christ is clearly on display. What a tremendous privilege we have to be called ambassadors for Christ! God has entrusted us with the message of salvation – the hope of the gospel – and we must share this message with those who have yet to hear.
As you are aware, we recently announced a new five-year strategy for our Convention that is focused on impacting lostness through disciple-making. I believe that this strategy will help us become better stewards as we refocus our attention on evangelizing the lost in our state, nation and world.
I pray that we would live as stewards of the gospel who desire to store up treasures in heaven and to advance God’s eternal Kingdom. From finances to time to talents, everything we have has been given to us by God so that we can join Him in His work of transforming lives with the gospel. 
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” Ephesians 4:1
5/6/2013 4:16:52 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments