September 2015

Encourage pastors who serve you

September 21 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

Pastors play a significant role in lives of their congregations and their communities. Serving as an under-shepherd to God’s flock in the local church is a calling that brings with it great rewards, but also many challenges. All things considered, I think the stress and pressure many pastors operate under today make it one of the most difficult vocations in our culture.
Proclaiming God’s Word, sharing the love of Christ and ministering to people in Jesus’ name is a wonderful privilege and an awesome responsibility. Many of the responsibilities that make a minister’s calling so rewarding, are the very same things that also present the greatest challenges.
As pastors seek to love and shepherd God’s flock faithfully, they can never feel that their work is done. It is a 24/7 responsibility because there always seems to be one more program to be planned, one more person to call, one more visit to make or a little more time that could be spent in sermon and Bible teaching preparation. Pastors gladly do it all ultimately because of their love and commitment to Jesus Christ.
October is designated as pastor appreciation month. This provides you with a great opportunity to encourage and affirm those who serve and encourage you and your family throughout the year in your church. There are many different ways that your church family can honor and express appreciation to the pastors and staff at your church.
I still treasure fond memories that were made many years ago when I was pastor of First Baptist Church in Stanley, N.C. Those good people would plan creative ways to design a pastor appreciation Sunday. Sunday School classes and other groups would work together in determining how they could best express their love and support for their pastors. Sometimes, special guests would be invited to drop in for this time of celebration.
One of the great things that you can do for your pastor is to pray for him on a regular basis and let him know that you do.
This is a great source of encouragement. It means much to me when I receive cards or emails from individuals or groups in churches telling me how they pray for me and the work of this convention.
When one of your pastors preaches a message that God uses to encourage or challenge you, let him know. When you or a member of your family are the recipients of his time, words of encouragement, or admonition and prayer support, tell him how much his words or actions helped.
Proverbs 25:11 reminds us that “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pitchers of silver.” Even gestures that may seem simple or small can go a long way toward encouraging your pastors. Remember that pastors and their families have the same spiritual, physical and emotional needs as everyone else.
I am thankful for the many wonderful and godly pastors and staff members who serve the churches of our state convention. Let’s be sure to let them know how much we honor and appreciate them, not just in October, but all throughout the year. Get busy now and lead your church to plan a great and memorable pastor appreciation Sunday.
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” – Romans 10:15b (KJV)

9/21/2015 1:10:02 PM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments

Local associations vital to impacting lostness

September 8 2015 by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer

One of the things that Gloria and I enjoy hearing and learning about as we travel across our great state are the many different missions and ministry activities that our Baptist associations are engaged in.
The 78 Baptist associations here in North Carolina have the opportunity and responsibility to play a vital role in reaching people with the gospel and helping them grow in their faith as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful for those directors of missions and associational missionaries who lead and challenge pastors and church leaders to have a greater impact in their communities for Kingdom advancement.              
The variety of ministries that our associations are involved with are important because no two areas of our state are exactly alike. These local missions and ministry opportunities within their local context include: strengthening existing congregations, planting new churches, ministering to military families, working with college students, feeding hungry people, helping families in crisis situations and numerous other projects.
One unique ministry that some associations engage in annually is an outreach to carnival workers at our state’s local and regional fairs. Several of our associations come together each year to share the love of Christ at the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, the Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh and several other fairs in communities all across our state.
One of our promotional videos for this year’s North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) shares the story of Dori Deddo, who grew up traveling from town to town as the daughter and granddaughter of carnival workers. Now Dori is a registered nurse who volunteers her time on board the N.C. Baptist Men’s mobile medical unit at the N.C. Mountain State Fair. Through this outreach ministry, which is organized and coordinated by associations in the western part of the state, Dori gets to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the carnival workers whose lifestyles she understands so well. And ministries like these are made possible in part through the faithful and generous financial gifts given by North Carolina Baptists to local missions through the NCMO.
Ten percent of the funds that churches in a local association contribute to the NCMO will be returned to that association to help fund local missions projects. Associations across the state use these NCMO funds in a variety of ways to further existing missions endeavors or to help launch new works.
As churches continue to promote this year’s NCMO throughout the month of September, I ask that you prayerfully consider making a financial gift to support the many local ministries that are taking place in your own communities through local associations and churches.
Your prayers and gifts for the mission works supported by the NCMO are making a difference in pushing back spiritual darkness, reaching new people with the gospel and making disciples for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” – Luke 9:6 (NKJV)

NCMO supports associational missions

Ten percent of the gifts that churches in each local association contribute to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) are returned to that local association to be used in funding local projects. Associations maximize NCMO funds to launch new ministries and expand their reach to people who need to know Christ. The following reports are examples of how your gifts are used by local associations. The name of the association and the associational missionary (or director of missions) are listed at the beginning of each report.

  • Johnston, Kelton Hinton – The association purchased Bible correspondence materials for new believers. Bible courses were offered in English, Spanish and French to students that enrolled through the flea market ministry, Spanish missions and personal contacts. They hope to expand the teaching into the county jail. NCMO gifts were also used to buy Spanish language Bibles for their newest Spanish mission. The mission has a very active outreach to the migrants in Johnston County. Some funds were used to purchase and install grab bars in senior adult bathrooms.

  • Blue Ridge, Jim Brewer – Funds were used to continue a ministry at a nearby rest area. This outreach involves providing free coffee, tracts and literature to travelers along a busy highway on holiday weekends. An annual men’s rally was launched as an evangelistic tool, and an annual youth rally gives teenagers the opportunity to invite their friends to hear the gospel. Some NCMO gifts helped churches minister to the homeless. Other funds assisted with the start of a Good News Club through Child Evangelism Fellowship in eight elementary schools in the county. The Club meets once a week for a Bible study. The association is in the process of helping to begin a biblical counseling center, so financial support is needed for this new project. Also partially funded by NCMO gifts is Freedom Life Ministries, a ministry to paroled prisoners that assists with job placement and housing.

  • Stanly and Montgomery, Hal Bilbo – Gifts are funding an associational intern for evangelism and disciple-making. The position was created to assist churches with understanding their community, including the demographics, and developing strategies to reach unchurched people. Churches are encouraged to conduct events and activities to proclaim the gospel in their community, plan personal evangelism/discipleship training opportunities and use T4T (Training for Trainers) to multiply disciples.

  • Tar River, Dougald W. McLaurin Jr. – The NCMO has assisted churches and ministries in ways that could not be done without this offering. Two years ago the association was able to support a summer youth minister and upgrade equipment the association needed to do ministry. The gifts allowed the association to set up mission partnerships with church planters in New England and engage North Carolina churches in the partnership. Some of the funding provided encouragement to local pastors through marriage enrichment weekends for pastors and wives. Some gift cards were provided to bless pastors’ families with a meal at a local restaurant.

  • West Chowan, Terry Stockman – NCMO gifts were used to reach local international students at Chowan University, to support the campus ministry and to assist churches involved in the student ministry. The ministry is having an impact on students from all over the world. Gifts also supported retreats at Caswell that local churches conduct each year where the gospel is presented to the students.

9/8/2015 11:39:22 AM by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer | with 0 comments