Several weeks ago after preaching in one of our local N.C. Baptist churches, one of the senior adult ladies in that congregation approached me to introduce herself.
“I’ve liked the things I’ve heard about you, and it’s good to finally meet you,” she said. “But there’s one thing I hope you never do.”
“What’s that?” I asked, not knowing what to expect.
“If the convention ever sold Caswell, I don’t think I could ever forgive you,” she said.
I reassured her that Caswell and the rest of our camps and conference centers play an important part in reaching the next generation for Christ. And while some other state conventions have made the difficult decision to sell their camp facilities, our three N.C. Baptist camps across the state remain a viable and valuable part of our ministry to churches.
God has blessed N.C. Baptists with Fort Caswell at the coast, Caraway Conference Center and Camp in the Piedmont, and Truett Conference Center and Camp in the mountains. Hundreds of children, youth and even adults make life-changing decisions for Christ at our camps each year. Many reading these words trusted Christ as Savior, felt called to ministry or answered a call to ministry at one of our camps.
Camps are just one vehicle that God is using here in North Carolina to reach the next generation, which includes kids, youth, college students and young professionals.
Our Ministry Strategies group works with churches to help them foster safe environments where children can hear and respond to the gospel while partnering with families to equip them to be the primary disciple-makers in the home.
Under the leadership of Richard Brunson, the goal of N.C. Baptists on Mission is to involve men, women and youth in missions. They offer a host of opportunities to involve students of all ages in missions. Each year, they offer Deep Impact and Deep Impact Kids events which provide prepackaged missions experiences for students all the way from first through 12th grade.
N.C. Baptists’ College Ministry seeks to empower churches to reach and disciple students on college campuses. Earlier this spring, we hosted “The Call” conference, where approximately 200 students came together for worship and teaching geared toward helping them understand and discern God’s call on their lives.
It’s not a matter of if God has called you to serve Him, it’s only a question of where and how. I like to say that we are all called to do what we are gifted to do for the glory of God, and we are to do it strategically for the mission of God.
That’s one of the reasons I’m excited about our “Go2” initiative, which encourages college students to spend their first two years after college on mission for God. As college graduates embark on their careers, why not start it in a strategic position in a strategic place for the sake of the gospel?
Part of intentionally dedicating two years to the mission of God might include being a part of a new church plant in a strategic city. Through SendNC, N.C. Baptists are training up the next generation of church planting pastors who are taking the gospel to those who desperately need to hear it in North Carolina and beyond.
We are also thankful for the ministry of N.C. Baptists’ own Fruitland Baptist Bible College, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the other national seminaries that are training those who feel called to full-time vocational ministry. It is through N.C. Baptists’ faithful and generous missions giving that makes all of this possible.
All of these endeavors are a reflection of how we are a movement of churches on mission together. God is on the move, and He is moving in the lives of the next generation.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article first appeared in the May 2023 edition of the Biblical Recorder magazine.