Over 1,000 churches have committed to participate in the upcoming “ServeNC” initiative to meet the needs of local neighborhoods.

More than 1,000 churches from across North Carolina have pledged to take part in a statewide initiative in early August that calls on church members to serve their local communities.

The “ServeNC” initiative, scheduled for Aug. 3-10, asks churches to meet the needs of their surrounding neighborhoods throughout that week. As of Monday, July 8, 1,003 churches have committed to participate, the majority of which are churches that partner with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

“‘ServeNC’ is an opportunity for churches across the state to partner together to love our neighbors as ourselves,” said Todd Unzicker, who serves as the state convention’s executive director-treasurer. “We want our communities to know that we love them, we’re here for them and we’re ready to serve them as Jesus would.”

The “ServeNC” initiative was announced in September 2023 at a regularly scheduled meeting of the board of directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, which has facilitated the initiative in partnership with its auxiliary organization, Baptists on Mission. Since then, churches have prepared for “ServeNC” by signing up at servenc.com, where they could receive free resources, training and promotional materials to prepare for the event. 

Churches participating in “ServeNC” span from Murphy to Manteo and can be found in 89 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. A full list of churches participating in the initiative can be found on this map here.

Churches have been encouraged to participate in service projects that meet specific needs in their local communities. The result has been a diversity of projects planned for the week of Aug. 3-10, including back-to-school distributions, wheelchair ramp builds, free yard sales, food pantry projects and more. Churches continue to report their planned projects for “ServeNC” using this form.

Already, churches are reporting ways that “ServeNC” is making a positive impact in their communities. In Cumberland County, one pastor shared how “ServeNC” is acting as a rallying point for churches in the area, allowing churches to unite under a common cause.

“What we’re aiming to see … is unity within our community so that we can better serve and reach our community in Jesus’ name,” said Andrew Clark, pastor of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville. 

In May, Arran Lake hosted a regional “ServeNC” rally to give churches the chance to connect with local nonprofit organizations and ministries for opportunities to serve. As attendees heard and interacted with local community leaders, they were encouraged to consider what impact their church could make in the lives of their neighbors.

“If your church ceased to exist, would your community notice? Would they miss you?” Clark asked. 

Other churches have found ways to partner through financial generosity. In the eastern part of the state, a church in Moyock partnered with its association, the Chowan Baptist Association, to commit more than $60,000 to churches in the region that needed support for “ServeNC.” 

According to James Harrington, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Moyock, a season of financial blessing enabled his church to give $1,000 to any neighboring church needing financial assistance to complete service projects for the initiative. 

“With a little more money than we’ve had in the past, and being in pretty good shape, I don’t think the Lord would be pleased with us … to just sit and not utilize that money for some kind of ministry,” Harrington said.

Churches that plan to participate in “ServeNC” have been encouraged to share their stories on social media using the hashtag #ServeNC. They can also share their stories with N.C. Baptists by emailing [email protected]. Churches can continue to sign up for the initiative by visiting servenc.com.

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina was established in 1830 as a way for churches to accomplish more for God’s kingdom by working on mission together. The state convention’s purpose is “to assist the churches in their divinely appointed mission,” according to its articles of incorporation. The state convention works in partnership with its auxiliary ministry, Baptists on Mission, which exists “to glorify God by involving churches and Christians in meeting human needs in Jesus’ name.” 

For more information about “ServeNC,” visit servenc.com.

By Samuel Heard, editor/content coordinator, N.C. Baptists