Tooting the horn for N.C. Baptists
June 27 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Tooting the horn for N.C. Baptists | Friday, June 27, 2003

Friday, June 27, 2003

Tooting the horn for N.C. Baptists

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

When I was a boy and tempted to brag about my good grades - which was generally all I had to brag about - I would quote Confucius as saying, "He who tooteth not his own horn leaveth so-said horn to remain untooted."

I'm quite confident that Confucius never said half the things attributed to him, and even more certain that he wouldn't have spoken them in the King James' English, but the truism remains - sometimes a horn just cries out for tooting.

It occurred to me recently, as I noticed one item after another, that North Carolina Baptists would need an entire horn section to publicize their denominational and missional leadership.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), for example, would be in a world of hurt if not for churches affiliated with the Baptist State Convention (BSC).

For example, you may have noticed that this year's Southern Baptist Convention - held on the opposite side of the country - had more messengers from North Carolina than from any other state. It's a long haul from the Tar Heel state to Phoenix, Arizona, but 567 of the 7,077 registered messengers came from N.C. Baptist churches.

Presence is backed up by dollars. The BSC's Cooperative Program contributions to the generic SBC budget usually run about 8th among the other states, just slightly behind several others of similar size. Designated gifts, however, are another matter. In fiscal year 2001-02, N.C. churches led the league in designated gifts to SBC causes, primarily missions.

Tar Heel Baptists gave $11.1 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions in 2001-02, more than any other state and 11.4 percent of the total. Through May of this year, N.C. Baptists are again out front, with $10.78 million in gifts for international missions.

The BSC's lead is even more striking with gifts to the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions. Last year's total of $3.49 million was more than $700,000, or 20 percent, ahead of Georgia, which was next in line.

N.C. Baptists are leading again through May of 2003, with gifts of $1.94 million so far.

You'd think that kind of support would get the state a little recognition at the SBC's annual meeting, but for the third consecutive year, there were no Tar Heels on the SBC program except for Paige Patterson, who represented the seminary and not the state.

North Carolina is a big player within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF), as well. The state is a perennial leader among representatives at its annual General Assembly, and had far and away the most participants in Charlotte June 27-29.

CBF also benefits from the generosity and cooperative spirit shown by BSC churches. The state is third in the total number of participating churches and organizations, with 390, just behind Virginia's 408 but well short of Texas' 775.

Financial contributions of $1.99 million from N.C. Baptists also ranked third, close behind Georgia ($2.06 million) and Texas ($2.55 million).

N.C. Baptists ranked second in giving to CBF's Global Missions Offerings with $769,448, trailing only Texas, with $1.14 million.

And when it comes to hands-on missions, Tar Heel Baptists are hands-down leaders.

I can't imagine a stronger or more active partnership missions program than we have through the Baptist State Convention's partnership office and Baptist Men's programs.

Beneficiaries of our partnership ministries in other countries and states routinely confide "other partner states have been helpful, but nobody does it like North Carolina."

When mission leaders recently put out the call for Baptists to prepare and donate food boxes for hungry Iraqis, it should come as no surprise that North Carolina filled more trucks than anybody.

During these days of continued denominational conflict, theological division and uncertainty about the future, it is good to know that N.C. Baptists are continuing to participate, continuing to give, continuing to cooperate.

That's something to feel good about.

Toot! Toot!

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6/27/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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