After a historic year in support of missions in 2023, members of the N.C. Baptist board of directors gathered together to celebrate achievements and look ahead to the upcoming year.
Members of the N.C. Baptist board of directors celebrated several significant milestones from 2023 and looked ahead to 2024 during the board’s first meeting of the new year, which was held Jan. 29-30 at Caraway Conference Center.
New and returning board members celebrated a historic year in support of missions in 2023, which saw N.C. Baptist churches make record contributions to three special offerings and increase Cooperative Program giving by more than $1 million from 2022.
In 2023, N.C. Baptists gave more than $15.7 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, nearly $7.4 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions and more than $2.3 million to the North Carolina Missions Offering, which all reflected record highs in gifts to each of those offerings.
In addition, N.C. Baptist churches collectively gave nearly $29.3 million to support missions and ministry through the Cooperative Program in 2023, an increase of more than $1.1 million from 2022.
More than 1,000 N.C. Baptists also committed to regularly pray for missionaries and unreached people groups all of last year through the “Praying for the Nations” emphasis.
N.C. Baptist churches also reported nearly 1,600 baptisms as part of last year’s “Fill the Tank” baptism emphasis following Easter.
“(Humanly speaking), it is because of your generosity that more people are being reached with the gospel and being baptized,” said N.C. Baptist Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker.
In his address to the board, Unzicker used four words to describe the framework through which the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina seeks to fulfill its mandate to assist churches in their divinely appointed mission – reach, train, send and serve.
Unzicker said N.C. Baptists will have numerous opportunities in the coming year to reach the lost, receive training, send missionaries and church planters, and serve churches and their communities.
For example, N.C. Baptists can once again pray for unreached people groups through “Praying for the Nations” and participate in “Fill the Tank” in 2024. More information on those initiatives can be found at prayNC.org and fillthetankNC.org, respectively.
Unzicker also reminded the board of the new “ServeNC” initiative scheduled for the week of Aug. 3-10 in which he is encouraging every N.C. Baptist church to spend part of that week serving the community in Jesus’ name. More details are available at servenc.com.
“ServeNC is a rallying cry for N.C. Baptists to come together to demonstrate that we are here to Serve NC for the sake of the gospel,” Unzicker said.
Unzicker also shared plans with board members about a forthcoming pilot project that will benefit pastors, church staff and their families who are facing challenges in ministry by providing up to six counseling sessions with licensed Christian counselors at no cost.
The “Faith-Based Counseling” initiative is a joint pilot project being coordinated between N.C. Baptists, GuideStone Financial Resources and the Global Counseling Network, an online service that offers counseling from licensed clinical therapists or pastoral counselors with a Christian worldview.
The initiative is scheduled to begin March 1, and Unzicker said more information and details would be forthcoming.
“We understand the intense pressures and increasing challenges you face,” Unzicker said. “We want to serve pastors through this pilot program.”
Through all of its efforts and endeavors, Unzicker said N.C. Baptists’ main goal is to ultimately glorify God.
“We are going to be a convention that’s going to reach, train, send and serve,” Unzicker said. “And we’re going to do it for the name and fame of Jesus.”
In other business, the board approved several nominations to a pair of convention committees, elected new at-large members to the N.C. Baptist Executive Committee and more.
Committee nominations approved
Board members unanimously approved nominations made by the state convention president and vice presidents to the Committee on Nominations and the Committee on Convention Meetings, based on parameters set forth in the N.C. Baptist bylaws.
Nominees approved by the board to serve on the Committee on Nominations were: David Blalock of Immanuel Baptist Church in Albemarle; Ed Davis of Missio Dei Church in Raleigh; Sue Fairless of Cashie Baptist Church in Windsor; Lori Frank of Biltmore Church in Arden; Tim Jernigan of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Conover; Alan Sprinkle of Mission Oak Church in Black Mountain; and Collin Terenzini of Shaws Creek Baptist Church Hendersonville. Chandler Donegan of Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville will serve as the committee chair.
Nominees approved by the board to serve on the Committee on Convention Meetings were: C.J. Cauble of Southside Baptist Church in Elm City; Noah Crowe of Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church in Murphy; Stephen Grubbs of Ogden Baptist Church in Wilmington; Anna Hopper of Mercy Hill Church in Greensboro; Brandy Johnson of Newfound Baptist Church in Leicester; Ron Skinner of Mountain View Baptist Church in Hickory; and Michelle Williamson of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville. Bob Lowman of the Metrolina Baptist Association in Charlotte will serve as the committee chair.
New EC at-large members
The board also approved the nominations of four new at-large members to the N.C. Baptist Executive Committee. They were: Betsy Bolick of Perkinsville Baptist Church in Boone; Justin Alexander of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville; Janet Demeny of Peninsula Baptist Church in Mooresville; and Denise O’Donoghue of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh.
Board committee chairs elected
Members of each board committee also elected a new slate of committee chairs for 2024. They were: Justin Deeter of Redemption Church at New Hope in Wilson (Christian Life and Public Affairs); Jeff Dowdy of First Baptist Church of Swannanoa (Communications Committee); Aaron Swain of Freedom Church in Lincolnton (Convention Relations Special Committee); Matt Brogli of Eagle Springs Baptist Church in Eagle Springs (Ministry Strategies Committee); Lee Callicutt of Grace Hill Church in Pittsboro (Mission Catalysts Committee); and Andrew Clark of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville (Operations Special Committee).
Each board committee chair also serves as a member of the N.C. Baptist Executive Committee.
Staff positions approved
The Executive Committee also approved two new full-time state convention staff positions. One was for a ministry assistant in the Ministry Strategies Group, and the other was for a grants assistant to serve in the Operations Group.
According to state convention bylaws, the Executive Committee also serves as the personnel committee and must approve requests for new full-time N.C. Baptist staff positions.
The next meeting of the N.C. Baptist board of directors is scheduled for May 20-21 at the Fort Caswell Coastal Retreat Center on Oak Island.