May 2016

Fathers are powerful role models for their children

May 30 2016 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

This Father’s Day presents us with an opportunity to express our gratitude to the fathers and father-figures in our lives. May our Heavenly Father encourage the hearts of fathers everywhere, making them more like Him every day.
 
The role of a father is crucial all throughout the life of their children beginning when those children are young and impressionable and it continues into adulthood.
 
I sometimes reflect on lessons that I learned from my own father even to the end of his earthly life and graduation to glory. I often find myself still thanking God for allowing me to be born into the home of Christian parents who loved their children unconditionally and taught us the importance of loving God and loving others.
 
As we approach Father’s Day, I hope those of us who are fathers will take time to reflect on this most important role that we have been entrusted by God to fulfill. We have been called to take an active role in our children’s lives – not only in their earthly lives, but in their spiritual lives as well.
 
Dads need to take the time to actively discuss the things of the Lord with their children. Though it can be difficult to find the time, you must make it a priority for you and your wife to disciple your children.
 
You have heard it said that children learn by example. Do you ever consider and evaluate what kind of role model you are at home? Men, what your sons observe in how you treat their mother will have a strong influence in the way they will one day treat their own wife.
 
How you show respect for women may influence the way your sons will later show respect for young girls in high school. The way children see their parents express love, respect and affection for each other will always be remembered and it can help them to cultivate a loving, healthy marriage after they become adults.
 
Most dads in our nation today are very busy and children may not be getting as much quality time with their fathers as they need – according to a Pew Research study in 2014, 50 percent of working fathers said that they found it difficult to balance their workload and their family life. 
 
Additionally, 46 percent of fathers said that they do not think they spend enough time with their children.
 
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has produced a wonderful new resource to help parents shape the spiritual development of their children entitled “Disciple-making at Home.” This online brochure is filled with wonderful ideas to assist you in making disciples of your own children.
 
Fathers, the Bible encourages you to be a spiritual leader for your family. Read and apply God’s admonition to parents and grandparents found in Psalm 78:3-7.
 
Somewhere along your life journey as a Christ follower, God placed someone in your life to teach you biblical truths for life. Will you pass this along to the children God has given to you?
 
… fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

5/30/2016 10:40:18 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 1 comments



Seeing God’s hand at Summer Youth Weeks

May 17 2016 by Milton Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

For seven weeks each summer, youth from many of our North Carolina Baptist churches make an annual trek to Oak Island, N.C., for the Summer Youth Weeks at Fort Caswell. Middle school and high school students assemble for weeklong sessions filled with gospel-centered fun and learning about our Christian faith.
 
Truly, this is an incredible disciple-making opportunity – not only for students who come to the program as Christians already, but also for those who might not be believers and have been invited by their Christian friends.
 
This year, the theme of the Summer Youth Weeks at Caswell is “Every … one, thing, day, where … Living on Mission.” What a wonderful way to encourage young people to follow Christ and to emanate Him in every area of their lives!
 
I give thanks for a program that has answered God’s call to minister to students from our N.C. Baptist churches. God is using these Summer Youth Weeks to train up the next generation of leaders in our state. Caswell is a place where many make a commitment to follow Christ, others who have accepted Christ as Savior grow and mature in the faith, and some answer God’s call to vocational ministry. To date, we have 275 churches with 6,701 people registered to attend. In 2015, we had 363 students who accepted Christ as Savior, 1,400 students made recommitments to Christ and 343 students acknowledged a “call” to ministry. What can be accomplished in the lives of the youth who will be at Caswell?
 
Each summer an offering is received during Summer Youth Weeks to buy and package food for the House of Abraham, an organization in Haiti that distributes meals as a way to help alleviate hunger while sharing the gospel.
 
Want to learn some amazing news? The offering received from the students at Caswell last summer exceeded $74,000. This enabled our youth groups to package 250,000 meals at Caswell.
 
I am deeply indebted to youth leaders from our churches who bring their students to the convention’s Summer Youth Weeks at Caswell. I would also be remiss if I did not mention Merrie Johnson from the Convention staff, who is leading this ministry for the 15th year. Merrie has been faithful in obeying God’s call to work with youth across our state and to organize a ministry that promotes the love, grace and transforming power of Jesus.
 
Merrie selects and trains a group of student summer workers each year to serve as the BeDoTell team for leading worship at Caswell. This is a talented group of young adults who are passionate about serving Christ and making disciples.
 
I ask you to join with me in remembering Merrie and the BeDoTell workers in your prayers as they are preparing for Summer Youth Weeks.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – If you or your church would like to learn more about North Carolina Baptist Youth Weeks at Fort Caswell, please visit BeDoTell.com or contact youth.disciplemaking@ncbaptist.org or (800) 395-5105, ext. 5566. To learn more about Caswell, visit fortcaswell.com.)

5/17/2016 11:22:23 AM by Milton Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Reflecting on associations – a time for giving thanks

May 3 2016 by Milton Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Each year, Southern Baptists take a special time to highlight our state associations and all of the great Kingdom work that they do on a local level. From May 15-22, Baptist Association Emphasis Week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) places a special emphasis on our associations.
 
I am appreciative of all that our 78 North Carolina Baptist associations have accomplished for the Lord. Just last month, I was blessed to attend the 2016 Associational Missions Conference at Caraway Camp and Conference Center where I had the privilege of spending time with and addressing members of the staff from our N.C. Baptist Associations.
 
I would also like to take the time to extend my personal thanks to each and every director of missions, associational missionary and staff member who live and labor throughout the state. I am truly grateful for the leadership position into which God has placed each of you. Thank you for shepherding the associations as you strive to please the Lord. I know that your job is not an easy one, but your efforts do not go unnoticed.
 
In 2014, our convention launched the five-year strategy of “impacting lostness through disciple-making,” that was adopted by the messengers during our 2013 Annual Meeting.

I believe that our associations are incredibly important in implementing this disciple-making process. As an association works with local churches and sees their unique strengths and weaknesses, the association is able to help draw local churches together to spur them on to make disciples.
 
These local Baptist associations are self-governing and their initial responsibility is to advance the Kingdom through their member churches, but I am also grateful that God unites all North Carolina Baptists to spread the gospel throughout this state, across North America, and around the world in fulfillment of the Great Commission.
 
In Acts 1:8, Jesus commands His disciples to share His Word throughout the world – He tells them, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
 
Surely, this convention alone, without local Baptist leaders would not be able to function most effectively in impacting lostness in this state – but because of associations, we are truly able to share the gospel effectively throughout our very own “Jerusalem.”
 
Together, we are stronger than when we are separate. I pray that during Baptist Association Emphasis Week this year, you will take some time to think about the missions work that God has accomplished in our state through the associations’ faithful answer to His call. It is through the cooperative efforts brought about by the associations that we can become “the strongest force in the history of this convention for reaching people with the message of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
 
If you would like more information about the local Baptist associations of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, visit ncbaptist.org/index.php?id=82) or contact Abby Edwards at aedwards@ncbaptist.org or (800) 395-5102, ext. 5536

5/3/2016 11:14:46 AM by Milton Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments