N.C. Baptists’ giving to missions through the Cooperative Program (CP) exceeded budget expectations for the second consecutive year, marking the first time in decades that state CP giving has eclipsed the budget two years in a row.
In 2022, N.C. Baptists gave more than $28.15 million in CP gifts, eclipsing last year’s $28 million budget by more than $150,000. The increased giving means that nearly $77,000 in additional funds from North Carolina will go to support worldwide missions in keeping with a challenge budget which stipulated that funds received in excess of the budget allocation would be divided evenly between global ministry partners and state convention ministries.
Based on the 2022 CP budget designation and the challenge budget allocation, N.C. Baptists sent more than $12.5 million to support global ministry partners in 2022, which is the highest dollar amount in state convention history.
N.C. Baptist officials and members of the board of directors celebrated missions giving highlights during the first regularly scheduled board meeting of 2023, which was held Jan. 30-31 at Caraway Conference Center.
In addition to CP gifts, giving to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) topped $2.3 million, which was the highest total in 16 years. NCMO gifts eclipsed the $2.1 million offering goal by more than $218,000, and the offering reflected a 7% increase from 2021.
N.C. Baptists also gave more than $14.4 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, which led all state conventions for the 18th consecutive year.
N.C. Baptists’ giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering topped $6.7 million in 2022, ranking North Carolina second among all state conventions.
“This is something to praise God for,” said N.C. Baptist Executive Director-Treasurer (EDT) Todd Unzicker. “I thank God for the generosity of His people and of His church. It really shows that ‘On Mission Together’ is not simply a slogan. It is what we are beginning to do.”
The board took action on several business items, heard various ministry reports and spent time praying for missionaries.
Motion on EDT search process
The board passed a motion requesting that the Articles and Bylaws special committee re-examine potential changes to the executive director-treasurer selection process as outlined in the state convention’s bylaws. Stephen Robbins, associate pastor at Elkin Valley Baptist Church in Elkin, made the motion.
Last year’s Articles and Bylaws committee recommended changes to the selection process as part of a series of bylaw changes presented to messengers at November’s annual meeting. While messengers voted to approve many of the bylaw changes presented, they did not take action on the proposed changes to the EDT search process.
State convention bylaws currently stipulate that the executive director-treasurer must be elected at an annual meeting or special meeting based upon the nomination of a candidate by the board of directors for consideration. The bylaws also state that additional nominations may be made from the floor of the meeting.
“I still believe there is value in relooking at that process,” Robbins said.
The state convention’s bylaws stipulate that the Articles and Bylaws committee is responsible for studying the convention’s articles and bylaws and making recommendations for amendments to the board, and if approved, to messengers at an annual meeting or special meeting.
Biblical Recorder study committee
The board also approved a motion to appoint a study committee to examine the long-term relationship between the Biblical Recorder (BR) and the state convention. Last summer, the BR and the state convention entered into a temporary management agreement that maintained the Biblical Recorder’s presence as a news source while integrating workflow between the BR staff and the N.C. Baptist Marketing and Communications group. The management agreement runs through the end of 2023.
The motion authorizes board president Casey Norkett and board vice president Zeb Cook to appoint members to the committee, which would report back to the N.C. Baptist board of directors at its September meeting along with any recommendations.
The Biblical Recorder is a related entity of the state convention. The appointment of the study committee is in keeping with the bylaw requirement that any proposed change in relationship between a related entity and the state convention be subject to detailed study lasting at least six months. The BR’s board of directors requested the appointment of the study committee through the Convention Relations special committee.
In other business, board committees elected new committee chairs for 2023. They were: Chris Aiken of Englewood Baptist Church in Nashville (Historical Committee); Chris Baucom of Benton’s Cross Roads Baptist Church in Monroe (Convention Relations Special Committee); Lee Callicutt of Grace Hill Church in Pittsboro (Mission Catalysts Committee); Dimas Castillo of Living Hope Community Church in Jacksonville (Communications Committee); Andrew Clark of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville (Operations Special Committee); Luke Lunceford of First Baptist Church of Rocky Mount (Articles and Bylaws Special Committee); Steven Wade of Faith Baptist Church of Youngsville (Christian Life & Public Affairs Special Committee); Aaron Wallace of Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell (Budget Special Committee); and James Weddington of Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Charlotte (Ministry Strategies Committee)
Committee chairs also serve on the board of directors’ executive committee.
The board also elected four at-large members of the executive committee. They were: Betsy Bolick of Perkinsville Baptist Church in Monroe; Janet Demeny of Peninsula Baptist Church in Mooresville; Denise O’Donoghue of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh; and Jennifer Rushing of Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe.
The board approved seven appointees to the Committee on Nominations and four appointees to the Committee on Convention Meetings.
Individuals named to the Committee on Nominations were: Chandler Donegan of Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville; Vicki Etheridge of Riverview Baptist Church in Washington; Chris Gravning of Macedonia Baptist Church in Edenton; Zac Lyons of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh; Darrick Smith of First Baptist Church of Charlotte; and Eleanor Sun of First Baptist Church of Cary. Dennis Thurman of Crestview Baptist Church in Canton will serve as the committee chair.
Individuals named to the Committee on Convention Meetings were: Jody Clark of Shiloh Baptist Church in Monroe; Derik Davis of Winton Baptist Church in Winton; Alvin Summers of First Baptist Church of Indian Trail; and Shawn Walden of Apex Baptist Church in Apex. Bob Lowman of Idlewild Baptist Church in Matthews will serve as the committee chair.
During a meeting held in conjunction with the full board meeting, the executive committee voted to approve the nomination of Allen Huffman of Christ United Baptist Church in Hickory to fill an unexpired term on the Fruitland Baptist Bible College Board of Directors.
Praying for the Nations
Board members concluded the meeting with a time of focused prayer for missionaries and unreached people groups. Selected prayer points were taken from the “Praying for the Nations” resource, a prayer guide and devotional aimed at encouraging N.C. Baptists to pray for missionaries and unreached people groups throughout 2023.
The resource puts a special emphasis on praying for unreached people groups in North Carolina, as well as missionaries and church planters from North Carolina. The prayer guide and other resources are available at no cost at praync.org.