November 2016

Making the gospel resound this Christmas season

November 29 2016 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

This Christmas season, you have the wonderful opportunity to be part of an offering that is near and dear to my heart. Every Christmas season, the International Mission Board (IMB) holds the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) in memory of Lottie Moon, a missionary to China.
 
Lottie Moon spent almost 40 years sharing the gospel with and showing God’s love to people in China. Until her death on Christmas Eve in 1912, she encouraged Southern Baptists to make a greater commitment to making an impact for God’s Kingdom. Now, the offering that bears her name helps support more than 3,650 missionaries who are serving in countries around the world through the IMB.
 
This year, the annual offering’s goal is $155 million. One hundred percent of the funds received from this offering go directly to support these missionaries.
 
David Platt, IMB president, announced at our 2016 Annual Meeting in November that the trustees of the IMB were able to approve a balanced budget for 2017 for the first time in a number of years because of generous giving from churches across this nation and in North Carolina. This increase in giving also means that additional personnel will be appointed to the field in 2017. Platt especially expressed his appreciation for North Carolina Baptists’ generosity in 2015.
 
I also want to express my appreciation for those North Carolina Baptists who sacrificially gave to the LMCO in 2015. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina gave $14,645,892, which is more than any other state convention in the Southern Baptist Convention. So far in 2016, North Carolina Baptists have given 9.73 percent more than in the same time period in 2015.  
 
Another way North Carolina Baptists can support IMB missionaries is by participating in the week of prayer during Dec. 4-11. I praise the Lord that we as Southern Baptists have the opportunity to unite in prayer for these servants of God during this time.
 
Please join me during this special week – those who have answered God’s call to serve as missionaries encounter daily trials and joys that are unique to the work that they do. Let us all be sure to unite together to pray for them and for the work that they do for God’s Kingdom.
 
Additional information on the week of prayer may be found at imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering-week-prayer.
 
The need to spread the gospel throughout the earth is great – although we have made great progress in advancing the gospel, there is still much work to be done. Today, 6.3 billion people on earth are not Christian, and approximately 1.7 billion people still have no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. While the task is great, I am confident that North Carolina Baptists are up to the challenge.
 
Together, we can work to fulfill God’s Great Commission mandate to “go … and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).
 
For more information about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, visit imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering.
 
You have … heard about this hope in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it” – Colossians 1:5-6.
 

11/29/2016 1:25:34 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Adoption – the gift of a new beginning

November 16 2016 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Even though many couples have decided to expand their families through adoption, there are still thousands of children in North Carolina and other countries who need a Christian family to adopt, love and care for them. I began to explore ways to assist in this process following a conversation with a North Carolina Baptist pastor who asked for help in placing more children who are waiting to be adopted by Christian families.
 
According to Focus on the Family, there were 2,416 children waiting to be adopted in North Carolina alone in 2014, and there were 107,918 children who were waiting to be adopted across the United States.

While these statistics are truly heartbreaking, here are statistics that brings me hope: In 2014, there were 17,625 churches in North Carolina alone, and there were 348,067 churches in the whole of the United States.
 
This means without a doubt, North Carolina Baptist churches have an abundant number of families that could love and disciple these precious children who will benefit from being nurtured in spiritually healthy families.
 
In my search to answer the pastor’s inquiry about what North Carolina Baptists can do, I discovered a wonderful organization that is helping to address this issue. I refer to the Christian Adoption Services (CAS), which has offices in Matthews and Rocky Mount. CAS also works with expectant mothers and encourages them to choose life and consider adoption. CAS has placed more than 2,000 children in Christian homes over the past 37 years, and they also disciple expectant mothers. Last year, eight of these women trusted in Christ as Savior.
 
CAS serves for both domestic and international adoption agencies and exists “to build God’s Kingdom by connecting vulnerable children to Christian families.” The new president, Rev. Kevin Qualls, is no stranger to North Carolina Baptists. Kevin’s father, Phil Qualls, is a well-known Southern Baptist pastor in North Carolina.
 
After serving Christ in pastoral ministries for 22 years, Kevin sensed that God wanted him to work with CAS. Prior to his leadership with CAS, Kevin served as a staff pastor at both First Baptist Church in Indian Trail and First Baptist Church in Charlotte. He told me that he believes that “adoption and the gospel go hand-in-hand.”
 
If you are contemplating adopting a child, consider talking with CAS. Please join me in praying that the Lord will lead more North Carolina Baptist families to the many children in our own state who are waiting to be adopted. The need is great, and our God has already placed many of His faithful followers in a position to bring these children into their families.
 
Just as the Father has loved us and adopted us into His eternal family, may we be a part of extending that same love to the children who need to be adopted in North Carolina and other places.
 
To learn more about Christian Adoption Services, or if you would like to have Kevin Qualls speak in your church, please visit christianadopt.org or call (704) 847-0038.
 

11/16/2016 1:27:58 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Filling backpacks, reaching hearts

November 1 2016 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

North Carolina Baptists are blessed to be a part of a wonderful ministry called Appalachian Regional Ministry (ARM). Bill Barker, who is employed by the North American Mission Board, lives in West Virginia and leads the work of ARM to families who struggle financially in poverty-stricken communities across the Appalachian Mountain range and the Mississippi Delta region.
 
Within the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the Appalachian Coalfields Ministry (ACM), which is sponsored by North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM), seeks to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people living in five Appalachian states.
 
Each year, groups of people from N.C. Baptist churches and associations join with Baptists from other states to engage in these mission opportunities.
 
Once again, ARM and ACM are collecting backpacks for a Christmas event called Appalachian Christmas Outreach 2016, and NCBM is calling on churches statewide to respond to this need. For many of the children who benefit from this ministry, these backpacks are the only Christmas present that they will receive.
 
Each backpack will include things like inexpensive toys, school supplies, hygiene items and also a Bible and a pamphlet telling the story of Christmas. This means that each child not only receives a Christmas present, but also receives God’s Word.
 
Last year, more than 46,000 backpacks were collected and distributed, and nearly 1,400 children who received those backpacks – as well as the adults in their lives – made professions of faith. N.C. Baptist churches have a strong history of engaging in the Appalachian Christmas Outreach – last year, we were among the top contributors to this ministry. ARM’s goal for 2016 backpack collection is 50,000.
 
Wouldn’t you like to join other N.C. Baptists in praying and giving to provide backpacks for these children as a tangible expression of God’s love for each of them during the Christmas season this year?
 
I realize that many N.C. Baptist people and churches support a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse each year as they fill shoeboxes with supplies for children in other countries. I commend our Baptist people for doing this.
 
However, I hope that more N.C. Baptists will also want to be a part of the Christmas backpack outreach opportunity that helps poor children in our country – the children who receive these backpacks are among the more than 500,000 American children who do not have the security of knowing where their next meal will come from. Through this ministry, more than 3,200 people have made salvation decisions since 2012, and I am confident that the Lord will continue to use our efforts for His glory.
 
There are other ways to be a part of this ministry in addition to donating a backpack. Volunteers are needed to transport the backpacks to the distribution site and to process the backpacks before distribution.
 
Churches and associations are also needed to volunteer as collection sites on Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For a list of already existing collection sites throughout the state or to learn more about this opportunity, you may visit this page: ow.ly/tukh305iqCm. You can also phone Mark Abernathy of NCBM at (919) 459-5607 or email him at mabernathy@ncbaptist.org.
 
Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” – Matthew 25:40
 
 

11/1/2016 10:46:09 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments