N.C. Baptist officials celebrated recent and forthcoming pro-life actions and heard updates on other business matters during a regularly scheduled meeting of the executive committee of the board of directors on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

The committee met virtually via video conference call.

During the meeting, committee member Steven Wade, chairman of the Christian Life and Public Affairs (CLPA) special committee, highlighted several pro-life items for N.C. Baptists to celebrate, including the recent decision by a federal judge to reinstate a statewide ban on abortion after 20 weeks.

N.C. Baptist officials are also preparing to dedicate the second of two ultrasound machines to local pregnancy resource centers in the state. In March, N.C. Baptist leaders dedicated an ultrasound machine at a pregnancy resource center in Franklin, N.C., and they plan to dedicate another one next week in Elizabeth City, N.C.

N.C. Baptist officials are currently engaged in talks about placing additional ultrasound machines in other parts of the state, as well.

Wade said the recent court ruling and ultrasound machine placements “give us more opportunities to continue to try to impact culture” by advocating for preborn lives, ministering to families, and supporting foster and adoption initiatives like “Every Child” in partnership with the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina.

Wade also said N.C. Baptist leaders are compiling information to present to state lawmakers in efforts to strengthen laws related to churches and clergy sharing information about sexual predators. That work is in response to action taken by the CLPA committee at the May board meeting.

Bylaw recommendations

Allen Murray, chairman of the Articles & Bylaws committee, said his committee met earlier this month to finalize several proposed changes to the state convention’s articles and bylaws. Those recommendations will be presented to the N.C. Baptist board of directors at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting in September.

Based on the actions of the board, the proposed changes will go before messengers attending the N.C. Baptist annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., on Nov. 7-8 for consideration.

Financial update

Through the end of July, Cooperative Program giving from churches totaled more than $16 million, which is about 0.5% behind budget.

“We’re right where we anticipate being this time of year,” said John Butler, N.C. Baptists’ director of operations. “I’m very comfortable with where we are and look forward to God blessing us the remainder of the year.”

Convention officials reminded executive committee members that September marks the beginning of the emphasis month for the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) and encouraged members to promote the NCMO in their churches and local Baptist associations.

The NCMO supports several vital ministries which include disaster relief and the 19 different ministries of N.C. Baptists on Mission, church planting, missions mobilization projects, mission camps and associational projects. This year’s offering goal is $2.1 million.

Promotional information and resources are available at ncmissionsoffering.org.

Other business

In other business, the executive committee authorized N.C. Baptist Executive Director Todd Unzicker to explore ways to expand church planting efforts in North Carolina.

“The church is God’s ‘plan A’ for reaching a lost and dying world,” Unzicker said. “Due to population alone, we need more churches.”

According to 2020 U.S. Census data, North Carolina experienced a significant population increase over the past decade. From 2010 to 2020, the state’s population grew by more than 900,000, going from about 9.5 million to more than 10.4 million. That reflects an increase of 9.5%.

Church planting studies also show that new churches are often effective at reaching people with the gospel. Over the past three years, North Carolina church plants have reported 683 baptisms, according to Mike Pittman, N.C. Baptists’ church planting strategist.

“If you want to be a church that reaches people, you have to plant churches,” Unzicker said.

Next meeting

The next executive committee meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Caraway Conference Center in conjunction with the regularly scheduled meeting of the full board of directors.