May 2019

Youth weeks play significant role in students’ lives

May 28 2019 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

With summer upon us, many children and youth across our state are looking forward to a break from school, family vacations and fun with friends. The arrival of summer also means that many middle and high school students are making plans to attend one of the state convention’s annual summer youth week camps at the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell, which is located at Oak Island on the North Carolina coast.
 
Summer youth weeks are more than just a week at the beach having fun in the sun, although that is a part of it. These weeks are intentionally designed to be spiritually engaging, enriching and encouraging for the campers. Attendees will be challenged from God’s Word through worship services, powerful proclaimers, small group and personal devotions, missions experiences and more.
 
The theme of youth weeks this year is “On This Rock” based on Matthew 16:18-19 where Jesus says, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church….” Campers will explore the foundations of the church.
 
We anticipate more than 6,600 campers representing more than 270 churches to attend one of our eight weeks of camp this summer. I invite you to join me in praying for these students, as well as the staff, chaperones, preachers and other leaders who will be attending each week.
 
Each year, students make decisions for Christ at camp that not only impact their eternal destiny, but also change the trajectory of their lives. In 2018, more than 360 people trusted Christ as Savior, nearly 900 rededicated their lives to Him and 15 others surrendered their lives to vocational ministry. I rejoice when I hear these reports and give God all glory, honor and praise for what He is doing in the lives of students across North Carolina.
 
While these numbers don’t begin to tell the story of all that God is doing, they do point to the significance that Christian camps can play in the lives of youth.
 
A 2018 study by LifeWay Research on predictors of spiritual health in young adults reported that 44 percent of Protestant churchgoing parents of 18-30-year-olds sent their kids to church camps and retreats when they were growing up.
 
I’m thankful for Merrie Johnson, who serves as the state convention’s senior consultant for youth evangelism and discipleship, and the work of her team for all the prayer, planning and preparation that goes into cultivating an environment at summer youth weeks that allows the campers to hear and respond to the voice and call of God.
 
To learn more about summer youth weeks, visit the youth evangelism and discipleship ministry’s website at bedotell.com.
 
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, …” – Ecclesiastes 12:1.

5/28/2019 12:22:49 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Baptist associations: A valuable partner in ministry

May 14 2019 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Recently I had the honor and privilege of attending our annual conference for associational mission strategists (AMS) and potential associational mission strategists at Caraway Conference Center. The theme of this year’s event was “Moving into a New Future: Sowing and Reaping.”
 
You may know associational mission strategists by other names, such as directors of missions (DOMs) or associational missionaries. In conjunction with last year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders unanimously approved a recommendation to change the titles of directors of missions to associational mission strategists to better reflect the nature and scope of their work.
 
No matter what they’re called, associational mission strategists and the 77 local Baptist associations in our state have played and continue to play a vital role in our statewide strategy to impact lostness through disciple-making. We as Southern Baptists value cooperative ministry and missions endeavors at the local, state, national and international level, and AMSs and local associations are valuable partners in ministry.
 
Chances are the local association in your area sponsors a variety of trainings, outreach events and other opportunities for you and your church to get involved in missions and ministry. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina also works closely with AMSs and associations to sponsor and facilitate events such as prayer gatherings, prayer walks, training events and consultations related to disciple-making, church planting, church health and revitalization, and more.
 
This year’s AMS conference was well attended, and I was especially encouraged by the number of attendees who were interested in becoming or learning more about missions and ministry on the associational level. I was also encouraged by the testimonies of what God is doing in our local associations.
 
During this same conference two years ago, attendees spent time prayerfully developing a personal ministry plan and strategy for their association. At this year’s conference, one associational leader reported that while developing his personal ministry plan, the Lord had impressed upon him to be more intentional in the area of personal disciple-making with the pastors and leaders in the association where he serves.
 
Through this associational leader’s obedience to the Lord, he has seen God grow and multiply five generations of disciples. To God be the glory!
 
If your church isn’t connected or engaged with your local Baptist association, I would encourage you to get involved. The popular statement that we as Southern Baptists uphold is true Recently I had the honor and privilege of attending our annual conference for associational mission strategists (AMS) and potential associational mission strategists at Caraway Conference Center. The theme of this year’s event was “Moving into a New Future: Sowing and Reaping.”
 
You may know associational mission strategists by other names, such as directors of missions (DOMs) or associational missionaries. In conjunction with last year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders unanimously approved a recommendation to change the titles of directors of missions to associational mission strategists to better reflect the nature and scope of their work.
 
No matter what they’re called, associational mission strategists and the 77 local Baptist associations in our state have played and continue to play a vital role in our statewide strategy to impact lostness through disciple-making. We as Southern Baptists value cooperative ministry and missions endeavors at the local, state, national and international level, and AMSs and local associations are valuable partners in ministry.
 
Chances are the local association in your area sponsors a variety of trainings, outreach events and other opportunities for you and your church to get involved in missions and ministry. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina also works closely with AMSs and associations to sponsor and facilitate events such as prayer gatherings, prayer walks, training events and consultations related to disciple-making, church planting, church health and revitalization, and more.
 
This year’s AMS conference was well attended, and I was especially encouraged by the number of attendees who were interested in becoming or learning more about missions and ministry on the associational level. I was also encouraged by the testimonies of what God is doing in our local associations.
 
During this same conference two years ago, attendees spent time prayerfully developing a personal ministry plan and strategy for their association. At this year’s conference, one associational leader reported that while developing his personal ministry plan, the Lord had impressed upon him to be more intentional in the area of personal disciple-making with the pastors and leaders in the association where he serves.
 
Through this associational leader’s obedience to the Lord, he has seen God grow and multiply five generations of disciples. To God be the glory!
 
If your church isn’t connected or engaged with your local Baptist association, I would encourage you to get involved. The popular statement that we as Southern Baptists uphold is true – we can accomplish more together than we can apart.
 
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit …” – John 15:16a (NKJV).

5/14/2019 10:52:21 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments