Chuck Register, who has impacted Southern Baptist life for more than 40 years as a local church pastor, seminary professor and state convention leader, will retire from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) early next year.
Register’s retirement announcement was shared with N.C. Baptist employees during a regularly scheduled all-staff meeting held Oct. 12 at the state convention offices in Cary, N.C.
Register’s retirement on Jan. 1, 2023, will mark exactly 14 years of service to N.C. Baptists and 41 years in vocational ministry overall. Register has held a variety of leadership roles with the BSCNC. He currently serves as the director of the mission catalysts group, overseeing a team of regional and affinity-based staff members who assist pastors, churches and local Baptist associations in missions mobilization.
“We are immensely grateful for Chuck’s service to our churches and the kingdom across a life of ministry,” said N.C. Baptist Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker. “His impact has been felt far and wide as he has not only sought to serve our churches but also to mobilize our churches to reach the nations in North Carolina and to the ends of the earth.”
N.C. Baptist Associate Executive Director-Treasurer Brian Upshaw has known or worked with Register for nearly 30 years. In remarks to state convention staff members, Upshaw described Register as someone who has a heart for missions, evangelism, pastors and the local church.
“Chuck may be retiring from N.C. Baptist life, but he’s not retiring from, as he would say, ‘making maximum kingdom impact,’” said Upshaw, who also serves as director of the ministry strategies group. “I know that he’s going to use whatever the next season holds for him as a way to continue to impact the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Upshaw and Register have served together on the N.C. Baptist staff for nearly 14 years. Previously, they served together on staff at First Baptist Church of Gulfport, Miss., for eight years, where Register was the senior pastor and Upshaw held a variety of pastoral roles.
Register served as senior pastor of First Baptist Gulfport from 1999 to 2008, leading the church through the devastation and destruction that Hurricane Katrina brought in 2005. The storm completely destroyed First Baptist Gulfport’s beachfront sanctuary, along with much of the rest of the city.
“So many things that I thought were critical in ministry pre-storm seemed to be really insignificant post-storm,” Register said on the 10th anniversary of Katrina.
In Katrina’s aftermath, Register was introduced to the disaster relief ministry of N.C. Baptist Men, now known as N.C. Baptists on Mission, an auxiliary of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. N.C. Baptist Men deployed to Gulfport to assist with relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts as part of a multiyear partnership with the city.
Register joined the BSCNC staff in January 2009 as executive leader for church planting and missions development. He later served as associate executive director-treasurer beginning in April 2020 until being named to his current role as director of the mission catalysts group in October 2021.
During his tenure with the BSCNC, Register spearheaded efforts to identify unreached and unengaged people groups living in North Carolina while working with churches to develop strategies to reach them with the gospel at home and abroad. His team led a host of short-term mission and vision trips for N.C. Baptists, resulting in a number of ministry partnerships with local churches.
Register also oversaw the work of church planting, which helped facilitate about 100 new church plants in North Carolina per year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. A large number of those church plants were focused on reaching non-English speakers.
“He has mobilized N.C. Baptists to truly be on mission to the nations,” Upshaw said. “That includes those who have come to North Carolina and those living around the world. His heart is for unreached and unengaged people groups, and he wants to see the gospel get to the hardest places.”
Register has been involved in missions and church planting since his early days of seminary. He helped start a church in Iowa as a summer seminary student worker. Churches that Register has pastored have started other churches, which included some international church plants.
Register also served as an evangelism professor at New Orleans Baptist Seminary beginning in 1993 and later became director of the school’s Landrum P. Leavell II Center for Evangelism and Church Growth, a post he held from 1996 to 1999 before becoming senior pastor at First Baptist Gulfport. He has also pastored churches in Florida and Louisiana.
Register has also served as a trustee of the International Mission Board and as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Committee on Committees.
A native of Starke, Fla., Register has been married to his high school sweetheart, the former Charlene Beam, since 1982. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.
Register earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and received his master of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.