N.C. plan aims to plant, strengthen churches

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Executive Committee has approved a plan to “tear down silos,” streamline the organization and better assist churches in making disciples, evangelism and church planting among people groups of every ethnicity and cultural context in the state.

The plan includes equipping churches to take ownership of collegiate ministries. It would send BSC strategy coordinators to work with churches and associations to penetrate “concentrated areas of lostness” through eight “population centers” around the state.

The new structure would eliminate 16 BSC positions — 10 of which would come from campus ministries. But the convention also would add 11 positions, leaving a net loss of five positions. While Cooperative Program giving in North Carolina is off to a slow start — nearly 20 percent below budget — Milton Hollifield, BSC executive director-treasurer, said the restructuring plan is not a result of economic challenges but a genuine desire “to stop the bleeding of the loss of people [who are] being led to the Lord, but they’re not being discipled.”

“There’s been a disconnect between evangelism and discipleship,” Hollifield said in an interview.

“[Discipleship] is the mandate for every church member. In the large degree, we’ve missed it.”

“We’ve been satisfied with some programs and some efforts,” said Brian Davis, BSC executive leader, “but there’s a philosophy of disciple-making that’s got to pervade what we’re doing.”

The Executive Committee approved the restructuring April 11. It will now go before the BSC board of directors in May. If approved by the board, the strategy will be presented to North Carolina Baptist messengers at their annual meeting in November. The new structure would go into effect in January 2014.