I’ll never forget the request that my late father made of North Carolina Baptists on the day I became the 14th executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
“Please pray for him every day of your life,” my dad urged those who attended the installation service on April 11, 2006, at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.
It’s hard to believe that 14 years have passed since that day, because I remember those events as if they were yesterday. Yet the reality is that my retirement is on the horizon effective at the end of February of next year. And as the search gets underway for my successor, I want to issue an appeal similar to what my father gave to North Carolina Baptists during this period of transition.
First, pray for the search committee that has been appointed to recommend the next executive-director treasurer. The nine-person committee was named during a recent meeting of our board of directors held on July 16. I believe the committee is a good representation of North Carolina Baptists. It includes pastors, church planters and lay people. It includes individuals from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. It includes a good mix of older and younger leaders, and each of them is or has been actively involved in the work of the state convention.
While I am confident that this committee will take their responsibility seriously and serve North Carolina Baptists well, they need our prayers. In fact, committee chairman Noah Crowe has asked each member of the committee to enlist three individuals to pray for them and the committee on a daily basis throughout the search process. Would you commit to pray for them as well?
Pray for wisdom, discernment, unity and oneness of spirit for the committee and its members. Pray for spiritual strength, physical strength and endurance throughout the process. Each member of the committee has an active role in their local church, in addition to other ministry, career and family obligations. Above all, pray for God’s clear direction and guidance as the committee conducts its work.
Second, pray for the next executive-director treasurer. Although the search process is in its early stages and we don’t know who the next executive director will be, God already knows. Ask God to bring the right person to the attention of the team. Pray that the next executive director will have absolute certainty in their sense of calling to the role.
Also, the search committee welcomes and strongly encourages N.C. Baptists and others to prayerfully recommend individuals to be considered as the next executive-director treasurer. Please submit names of individuals for the committee to consider through a special email address that goes directly to committee chairman Noah Crowe. That email address is: [email protected].
Finally, pray for the future of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. I can honestly say that our state convention is one of the best. I am thankful for our churches, their pastors and leaders, and their faithful support of missions and ministry through the Cooperative Program.
We have been blessed to enjoy a season of peaceful years without controversy even though we are not without our differences. The reality is that we are Baptists and all messengers from our member churches have an equal voice, but we must never allow those differences to divide us for the sake of the gospel. I am grateful for the great spirit of cooperation we have enjoyed during our board meetings and annual sessions. I am also thankful to God for the many achievements and accomplishments that have been made as churches have embraced and engaged the “Impacting Lostness through Disciple-making” strategy we launched in 2014.
The next executive director of this state convention will face their own set of unique challenges. For example, just a few months ago, who could have imagined ministering in the midst of a global pandemic? Yet our God is bigger than the challenges we face, and I am still convinced that we can accomplish more together than we ever could apart. Lift up Jesus and give Him the glory for all that He chooses to do through North Carolina Baptists.
“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:13 (NKJV)