September 2012

October is pastor appreciation month

September 24 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Scripture passages in the Pauline epistles reveal that this apostle truly loved people. In Philippians 1, Paul writes about how these believers have a special place in his heart and how he always thinks about them and prays for them. In Colossians 2, Paul expresses his deep desire for the Colossae church to be rooted in Jesus Christ.
 
Paul possessed the heart of a pastor. He cared deeply for the people among whom he ministered and even for believers he had not yet met but desired to meet and encourage. Paul endured physical suffering and many hardships for the sake of taking the gospel to people who needed to hear it.
 
As October is pastor appreciation month, I want to devote this column to making sure our pastors know how valuable their ministry is to God’s Church. I am grateful for the pastors all across our state who are investing their lives in leading and serving others through the local church.
 
Week after week North Carolina Baptist pastors faithfully teach their people God’s inspired Word. They stand up for truth and reveal the treasures found in Holy Scripture. Pastors help their people grow in their understanding of Jesus Christ, mature in the faith and grow in their relationship with the Savior.
 
Pastors have other responsibilities in addition to preaching and teaching. They visit people in the hospital, provide marriage counseling, perform weddings, comfort those who are grieving, preach funerals, serve in the community, disciple leaders, and the list could go on and on. In a recent column I mentioned how this state convention includes about 1,400 churches served by a bivocational pastor. This means that in addition to their work in the public sector these pastors often also have added responsibilities such as leading worship singing, bookkeeping and church facility upkeep.
 
I hope you show appreciation for your pastor year round, but allow me to encourage you to make a special effort during October to let him know you are grateful for him. The pastorate can indeed be lonely.
 
There are occasions when some pastors become discouraged and feel like they are burned out because of heavy responsibilities. Some feel they do not have close friends or people they can confide in or those who will offer encouragement. Are you aware that the pastor’s wife and children often sacrifice family time in order for him to meet the needs of his people?
 
Pray for your pastor and follow his leadership as he seeks guidance from the Lord. God has graciously given us pastors to help us along our spiritual faith journey. Tell your pastor this month how thankful you are for him.
 
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” 1 Timothy 5:17
9/24/2012 3:28:59 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments



Serving, loving senior adults

September 10 2012 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

The vision I have cast for this Convention is that we will become the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the gospel.
 
I do not believe we will become the strongest force possible if we do not reach people of all ages and backgrounds, and this includes our senior adult population. Unfortunately, senior adults are sometimes overlooked in ministry and evangelism efforts.
 
Yet, the aging adult population is increasing. In the next 15-20 years, in 70 North Carolina counties, the 65 and older population will outnumber the 0-18 population.
 
I am thankful that in our state we have a ministry as unique and vibrant as the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM). It is one of the ministries of North Carolina Baptist Children’s Homes. When NCBAM began in 2008, I prayed that God would use this new ministry for His glory and His purposes. I prayed that this would be an outreach not only devoted to meeting physical needs, but also to meeting spiritual needs.
 
I rejoice that evangelism is a priority for NCBAM. Of the calls that come in to the NCBAM call center, about 85-90 percent are from people who do not attend church.
 
Your NCBAM team is sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and often they have an opportunity to share with these senior adults and their family members about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
The call center is just one of the ways NCBAM helps connect aging adults and their families with resources to meet their needs. When people call the center they can ask questions and get the answers they need about how to best handle different situations and how to provide for various needs.
 
One of the most frequent requests the call center receives is for wheelchair ramps. Senior adults with disabilities are often trapped inside because they cannot safely maneuver their wheelchair in and out of their home.
 
I am so proud of North Carolina Baptists for helping meet this need. Earlier this year, as part of the Operation Inasmuch initiative that N.C. Baptist Men promoted, Baptist church groups and others built more than 300 wheelchair ramps in a single day for senior adults.
 
North Carolina Baptists are blessed to have such faithful, godly servants providing leadership to this ministry. Michael Blackwell, Sandy Gregory and the NCBAM team work diligently to care for senior adults as they help church groups and others find creative and practical ways of serving aging people who are still living in their home or with relatives.
 
When I think about many people who have influenced me the most throughout my life, whether Sunday School teachers, youth leaders or pastors, most are now senior adults. Please remember that senior adults are the people who taught us about God and who helped mold us into the people we are today. To serve them now is truly a privilege and great blessing.
 
If you would like to learn more about NCBAM please visit www.ncbam.org.
9/10/2012 1:44:48 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments