Page 1

gathering the

January/February 2018

of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina

Vol. 23 Issue 1

D I V E R S I T Y : Holy in the uncomfortable at Chowan University.


grading diversity by Larry Hovis, CBFNC Executive Coordinator

Strategic planning has been a critical aspect of CBFNC’s organizational life since our beginning. In our first dozen years, we developed a new plan every three years. Since then, our staff and councils have developed an annual ministry plan and periodically conducted wider planning dealing with more long-term issues. An important shift in our planning process took place with the development of our 2007-2008 plan. That year’s plan consisted of three main sections: a statement of our identity, mission, principles, and values; an annual ministry plan; and a section entitled, “Initiatives Shaping Future Ministries.” The third section contained nine items that CBFNC leadership believed were important to our future. We were unsure exactly what shape they would take or how long would be required to implement them. The first of these initiatives was entitled, “Diversity,” and read as follows: Need – CBF Christians and churches value ethnic, generational and gender diversity in our fellowship. Unfortunately, we are almost exclusively Anglo, women are still under-represented in leadership, especially pastoral leadership, and most adults who are active in our fellowship are middle-aged and older. Action – The Coordinating Council will appoint a task force to make recommendations for increasing the diversity of our fellowship. Note that this goal named three aspects of diversity that leaders at the time believed we needed to address: race, gender, and generation. Our first step was to appoint a “Diversity Task Force.” That group began its work and soon determined that it could not effectively address all three aspects of diversity named in the goal. Therefore, it would focus on race, specifically the relationship between our predominantly white Fellowship and African-American brothers and sisters, and was renamed the “Racial Reconciliation Ministry Team.” A separate task force was developed to pursue ministries with our Hispanic brothers and sisters. It is now ten years later. Look to the right to see what progress we have made and what challenges remain. Not specifically addressed in the benchmarks is our churchstarting efforts beyond the Hispanic community, which include a multicultural church in Fayetteville, African churches in Charlotte and Raleigh, and a Chinese church in Kannapolis, among others. When it comes to diversity, we are definitely a work in progress. We have come far in ten years, thank God, but we have much farther to go. May our work in the next decade be inspired by the heavenly vision of Revelation 7:9-10: After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 2 • The Gathering – January/February 2018

PROGRESS SINCE 2007 Race Racial Reconciliation – The Racial Reconciliation Ministry Team has pursued its calling in a variety of ways: holding regional meetings to highlight the issues and bring Baptists of difference races together; leading numerous workshops at the CBFNC Annual Gathering; production of an excellent study course, The Body of Christ (; and placing divinity student interns at historically black colleges and universities. n

Hispanic Ministry – Our Fellowship hired Hispanic LeaderCoach Javier Benitez who developed CBFNC’s Hispanic Network. This Network plants churches, trains leaders, and holds equipping retreats for youth, men, women, and families. Several white CBFNC congregations host and partner with Hispanic congregations. Gender – According to Baptist Women in Ministry, ordinations of women and women receiving calls as senior pastors are rising across the South, including in NC. In fact, our state leads the way on most of these measures. The number of women serving as staff ministers continues to grow, as do women enrolled in partner divinity schools. In most of our partner schools, women comprise at least half of the enrollment. Women also comprise over half of the CBFNC staff. n

Generation – Though partner divinity schools attract persons of all ages, many are under 35 and have engaged deeply in CBFNC life. CBFNC has also grown an impactful collegiate ministry, partnering with historic Baptist universities and starting campus ministries on non-Baptist campuses. Our gatherings continue to grow younger and more ethnically diverse. n

CHALLENGES THAT REMAIN Race Racial Reconciliation – Our congregations are still predominantly, almost exclusively, white. Far too many of us fail to see the advantages we inherently receive as white persons and we are reluctant to take responsibility for the racial inequities that exist in our communities. n

Hispanic Ministry – Though our Hispanic brothers are visibly present at our gatherings, we have not yet learned to relate to them on a routine basis. Our ministries remain mostly separate. Gender – While the number of women in divinity schools, church staffs, lay leadership, and CBFNC leadership has risen, women are still a minority in pastoral leadership, and many congregations still won’t consider calling a woman pastor. Too often we hear search committees say, “We don’t think our congregation is ready.” n

Generation – While young Baptist leaders are attracted to CBFNC, most of our congregations are growing older. In many places, we are “old churches with young ministers.” Next year, as a follow-up to the 2017 Leadership Institute, CBFNC will be launching the Growing Young Initiative, in partnership with Fuller Youth Institute, to address this challenge. n

nurturing the


by Seth Hix, CBFNC Church Engagement Coordinator

One of the best parts of my job at CBFNC is getting to know the exceptional clergy across our state. I count it an absolute privilege to sit across the table from ministers as they share their faith story and how God has led them through their vocational journey. Amidst the inevitable doubts and struggles of discernment, I always catch a glimpse of God’s assuring presence encased in the steadfast faith of our ministers. It is a real gift to hear about the personal and professional journey that has led a particular minister to a particular congregation. These inspiring stories give me great hope for the future of God’s church in North Carolina. During a recent conversation with an experienced CBFNC female associate minister, I was struck by a statement she made. She shared that she has always felt called to be a senior pastor. Yet, until recently, she had never submitted her resume for a Senior Pastor position. Her newfound motivation stemmed Here’s why: primarily from reading the names of so many women in the “Ministers on the Move” section of As ministry paradigms shift, more congregations are open to The Gathering magazine. She was encouraged by how considering women for senior pastor positions. In fact, congremany women were answering God’s call, and how gations who have recently called women as Senior Pastors include many CBFNC congregations were hiring them. First, Huntersville; First, Hamlet; Providence, Hendersonville; Her statement caught me off guard. On one Greenwood Forest, Cary; West Side, Winston-Salem; and First, hand, I was proud of CBFNC. On the other hand, I Winston-Salem. Nobles Chapel, Sims, recently called a husband was uncomfortably aware of the tangible inequality and wife as co-pastors. that exists in vocational ministry. First, this minister had been forced to hide her true calling simply The enrollment at many of our CBFNC partner divinity schools because she was a woman. I was reminded anew of and seminaries shows more than half of the student population the remarkable self-confidence and courage women is female. It is not uncommon to walk into a seminary classroom in CBF life must possess in order to pursue their and see more women than men. God is undoubtedly calling God-given vocational calling. Second, I realized women into vocational ministry! the importance of community in nurturing a call to vocational ministry. No one does ministry alone There has been a dramatic increase in resources and visibility of or in a vacuum. We all need the support of a faith women in ministry. This is, in large part, due to the outstanding community (congregational or personal) to live into work of organizations such as BWIM and their state organization our calling. Part of CBFNC’s role is to create an here in NC. Events like Martha Sterns Marshall Month of Preaching environment in which all people feel empowered to have encouraged hundreds of congregations to invite women fill share their vocational calling. pulpits for the past 10 years. While these congregations are not This conversation caused me to look more closely all in NC, the young women in the pews of those out-of-state at how many of our churches have recently called congregations often end up in one of our partner divinity schools. women into ministry positions. As it turns out, her Within many of our partner congregations, we have had a perception was correct. In two of the past three generation of young people grow up with women in vocational years, 40% of ministerial positions filled in CBFNC ministry positions. So, for many of our young people, women congregations have been filled by women. in ministry is a cultural norm. This certainly contributes to the Perhaps there was a time in our history when inspiration of more young women who will listen for and 40% of ministerial hires in CBFNC congregations answer God’s call into ministry. would have been shockingly high. I give thanks that today is not that day! While there are some Baptists across our state who are proud of the journey that has led us to 40%, I am also glad that there are people reading this article who are disappointed in how low that number is! I hope and believe that this number will continue to increase in the days ahead.

I give thanks to God for the significant impact women ministers have made in my life. And I hope that as CBFNC looks toward the next 25 years of ministry, we will continue to find new ways to encourage and cultivate God’s call in the lives women across our state.

The Gathering – January/February 2018 • 3

As CBFNC’s Campus Minister at Western Carolina University (WCU) and alumnus from the class of ’95, I know the risk-taking mindset of those who thrive at this school. For most, home is way over the mountains to the east. If you’re going to succeed, you’re going to study and you’re going to build a new community. Around four o’clock on Thursday afternoons, I’m usually heading from UNC-Asheville to WCU with a car full of food for our meal before worship. As I drive along, I can picture what some of my students are doing. I can see Bryson Shannon and Darren Beebe, the two students who lead our cook team and men’s discipleship group, playing Foosball next to the kitchen. They are hoping I’ll be a little late so they have time for just one more game. Bryson, an Engineering major, also serves as President of the National Society of Black Engineers. Darren, a History major, has served as President of our Baptist Student Fellowship (BSF) and recently affirmed a call to ministry after serving as a intern this past summer. Bryson will soon begin his master’s program at UNC-Charlotte, while Darren starts at Gardner-Webb’s School of Divinity. They are graduating in December, so who can fault them for this small diversion? I could name several other friendships among students of diverse ethnic backgrounds–students who met during one of our meetings, at a local church, or in their residence by David Stone, CBFNC Campus Minister for UNC-Asheville and Western Carolina University halls. WCU’s BSF is one of the more diverse campus ministry groups in Baptist life. Native-American, African-American, HispanicAmerican, Hmong-American, and Indian-American students are building community alongside those whose ancestry can be traced back to the British Isles. In the past few years, I have seen diversity grow within the BSF community as well as in the leadership at UNC-Asheville and WCU. What I read in the news about race relations in our country and the world does not encourage me. What does encourage me, however, is the community among college students in our CBFNC-affiliated college ministries and their willingness to take the Bible to heart, believing Peter’s testimony in Acts where he declares, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34-35). Our students are getting the heart of the Gospel when it comes to acceptance and looking outside their own culture. The Christian community I see displayed through them, I believe, is what the New Testament was trying to convey concerning the growth of the early church. How freeing it must have been during the formation of the early church to hear the words like those written in the letter to the Galatians, “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26,27). How freeing it can be to choose to live those words today, adhering to the promise that in Christ all racial barriers, all class barriers, and gender barriers are broken. Baptists have a great history of ministry on college campuses in North Carolina, not only as a mission field to reach students but also as a mission field to promote the spiritual growth. For decades, Baptist efforts have been guiding college students as they build a new faith community on their campus, encouraging them to risk and see that God’s Kingdom is bigger than they imagined, addressing their hot topics and issues, and preparing young adults to better lead the future of the church. Your support of CBFNC Collegiate Ministry helps carry out this great work. Thank you!

the heart of the Gospel

4 • The Gathering – January/February 2018

holy in the uncomfortable by Mari Wiles, Minister to the University and Associate Dean of Students at Chowan University, and Drew Phillips, Associate Minister to the University at Chowan University

Mari Wiles relates this tale: “I used to say that I am ‘color blind’ and that I just see students. One of our students told me that was a shame because she is a beautiful shade of brown and I am missing out. I no longer say that. Lesson learned.” Chowan has had an exciting educational mission for the past 169 years: educate the students of eastern North Carolina in a Christian environment. Campus Ministry is given the freedom to pastor the university in this endeavor. With a radically diverse student body, we approach campus ministry and service in ways to meet the needs of our students. We have ministry options six nights a week and we offer 3-4 mission trips a year. We pray and believe that our students will do their best leading when they leave Chowan and give them the opportunity to lead here. Our ministries are student-led which means they are sometimes messy, constantly changing, and many times uncomfortable. There is holy in the uncomfortable. Our communities are begging for truth, groaning due to the pervasive lies of division. The blessed ministry of forced interaction with others (racially other, sexually other, internationally other) that is reflected on our campus and in our ministries points us all toward the truths that we are infinitely more alike than we are different and that we are all image bearers of God. We get to learn that together. When we wrestle with the emotional and hard topics of race, gender equality, and sexual identity, we are sharing together in the ancient Christian practice of hospitality. We encourage and invite any who will come to participate in worship, prayer, service, study, advocacy, and ministry under the Lordship of Jesus. We believe that Jesus’ table is larger than we can imagine—we aren’t gatekeepers to his invitation, rather hosts at the feast. That he feeds us all in spite of ourselves is a blessing. We do it together. The commitment to work through it together makes it hard and messy and true and holy.

The Gathering – January/February 2018 • 5



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Leadership Institute | March 15

Friday Gathering | March 16

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2018 CBFNC Annual Gathering Schedule Thursday, March 15th 1:00 – 5:00pm 7:30 – 9:30pm

Leadership Institute – Mat Bloom Tunes and Tales – David Holt & Josh Goforth

Friday, March 16th Three questions for Prince Rivers, our Friday evening speaker: Our annual theme is Fit Church. How does your ministry emphasize fitness? Union Baptist Church emphasizes fitness in a few key ways. First, we have a strong ministry of congregational care and counseling.  We have three professional counselors who are available to see members for a variety of mental health needs. We recently implemented a strategy team to focus on organizational health. We also have an active intercessory prayer team to focus on spiritual health.

8:00 – 9:00am 8:30 – 11:00am 9:00 – 10:30am 9:00am 11:00am 11:45 – 1:45pm 1:45 – 2:45 3:00 – 4:00 4:15 – 5:00 5:15 – 6:45 7:00 – 8:30 8:30pm 9:00pm

Peer Learning Group Breakfast Registration BWIM Convocation Living Water Café + Exhibit Hall Open Opening Session Food Truck Lunch / Exhibit Hall /Fellowship time Workshop Session One Workshop Session Two Ministry Celebration and Business Session Fellowship Dinner Worship Fellowship & Refreshments Following Worship Divinity Student Gathering

Saturday, March 17th 9:00am – 12:00pm 9:00 – 9:30am 9:45 – 11:15am 11:25am – 12:00pm

Divinity Student Experience Opening Session Focus Groups Closing Session

What do you do to maintain fitness? (physical, spiritual, mental, etc.) Personally, I practice the disciplines of prayer and devotional reading (almost) daily. I try to maintain an active lifestyle and exercise routine that includes high intensity interval training (HIIT).  

From an Annual Gathering first timer (laity):

What is your history or connections with CBFNC?

Warm and welcoming described our time there. Quickly we recognized fellowship is a relationship and not an activity. Christian life was never meant to be solitary as we are reminded in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Instead, this was a time of worshipful edification, promoting the gospel, and building up of spiritual strength.

Much of my involvement with CBFNC has been through personal relationships with people like Larry Hovis, Bill Leonard, and Curtis Freeman. Currently, I serve on the board of the Baptist House at Duke Divinity School, which has strong ties to CBFNC. I have also enjoyed being the conference presenter for Church Works.

There is a multiplied strength when the faith of Christians combine together. That was evident from the start as we were part of a group from First Baptist of New Bern, on a bus trip to attend the 2017 CBFNC Annual Gathering in Hickory. We were ready to share and communicate God’s truth with one another. We were not disappointed.

We look forward to the 2018 CBFNC Annual Gathering at Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston Salem March 15-17 knowing we will gain spiritual strength through motivation, fellowship, and encouragement. After all, there is a multiplied strength when the faith of Christians combine together. Glory be to God! -Linda Williams from First, New Bern

A sample of workshops at the Friday Gathering The Changing Face of Family Ministry n Moving Casual Conversations into Christ-Focused ‘Conversions’ Creating a Community Culture Where Every Story Matters n God, Evolution, the Big Bang: Why I Believe in All Three Disaster Preparedness for Aging Adults--How Churches Can Help n Multiple Religious Belonging and the Church Clergy/LayLeaders as First Responders to the Military and Veteran Population n The Seven Money Types Welcoming and Nurturing Both Visitors and New Members n The Alphabet of Errors: How to Teach the Bible Better Making Shifts Without Making Waves n Archaeology and the Bible: Friend or Foe? Conflict and Communication: Opportunities for Growth n Redefining Success Virtues, Vices, and the Quest for the Good Life n Religious Liberty for All Y’all

The Gathering – January/February 2018 • 7

cross-cultural friendship

by Stuart Lamkin, Pastor, Hickory Rock, Louisburg

Our church, Hickory Rock, Louisburg, always enjoys using They have much to teach us about strength, struggle, resilience, CBF’s Offering for Global Missions (OGM) curriculum. This year and faith. Before he escaped the Congo, Pastor Felix’s parents and I was delighted to see that some of the featured missionaries are siblings were killed, forcing him to run through the wilderness for in our very own backyard. Or rather, we’re in their backyard, since days without food. He made it to Nigeria and received asylum, they work in the big city of Raleigh and all around the Triangle staying there 12 years before the U.S. let him resettle here as a area, while our church is in a rural county an hour north. We’re refugee. All that hardship and loss, yet he laughs and smiles all the nestled between farm fields and horse pastures, while the Wyatts time. He is a man of joy, and he has much to teach me. help refugees find homes, food, supplies, community, and support Counting his current church, Pastor Felix has helped plant in Raleigh. They welcome people who have been through untold 15 churches, which is fourteen more than I have. He preaches hardship and tragedy. with fervor and excitement; I preach Instead of just learning softly and use a manuscript. His about them from the sermons are pointed and bold; mine curriculum and videos, are thoughtful and clever. He is always we invited them to speak busy ministering in the trenches of in person. his community; I enjoy watching the I was glad the Wyatts breeze blow through the trees outside agreed to visit, but my quiet church office window. He that night there was a has much to teach me. problem. The Food Bank During our first meeting, we where we get food to learned that their church people love serve our area had come to eat fish. Coincidentally, our church with an unexpected people love to catch fish. So for our and huge shipment next visit, we delivered actual loaves of produce. I, always and fishes, and it seemed like we gave susceptible to both guilt out more than we brought. and a desire to help, But I didn’t want our relationship Lunch in the Fellowship Hall at Hickory Rock. agreed to take far too to be based on food deliveries, so I much food—more than asked if we could visit their church we could distribute before sometime. “Of course!” they said. So it went bad. We needed to more plans were made. find people to give it to. The first thing you notice when That gave Marc an you visit Shiloh Restoration Church idea. In one of the OGM is the music. As you walk up, you videos, we learned about don’t just hear it; you feel it. You can the work of Pastor almost see it emanating from the Felix Iyoko and his building in visible waves. As you enter wife Nicole. They had the room you also enter the sound Our first meeting (left to right): Roger, Shiloh Restoration Church deacon; Felix Iyoko; and Stuart Lamkin. escaped violence in the itself as it engulfs you, enveloping you Democratic Republic of with voices and rhythms. It pulsates Congo and were called to start a church in north Raleigh for other through your chest, pushing your heart to beat with the beat. It’s Congolese immigrants and Swahili-speaking people. Marc said louder than any worship you’ve experienced. But it’s brighter too, that their congregation, Shiloh Restoration Baptist Church, would with singing like angels. And it must be what heaven sounds like. enjoy getting the fresh produce that I had accepted. (Although hopefully the volume in heaven isn’t quite as pounding.) So we made plans. After worship one Sunday, some of us The words were not in English, but that didn’t matter. Some Hickory Rockers hauled the produce to Raleigh and met the people stood, some people sat, some people clapped, and some Restoration folks at the apartment complex where many of them people danced. So we didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves. live. They were quite a joyful welcoming committee, already in the This wasn’t the calm, orderly, straightforward worship we were parking lot waving at us when we arrived. Marc was there to make used to, but that was why we went. We got to worship God in a the introductions. There were smiles all around. Many helping different language, in a different style, and with a different culture. hands carried boxes up flights of stairs. And it was exciting. After, we spoke words of welcome and said prayers of thanks. After their rousing worship, I returned the invitation and said While I was thankful to distribute all that food before it spoiled, I they were welcome at our church anytime. They accepted. More was more thankful for the honor of meeting such inspiring people. plans were made. 8 • The Gathering – January/February 2018

10-year celebration

On the day of the visit, what I assumed would be a small group turned out to be a great majority of Shiloh Restoration’s membership who caravaned up to our neck of the woods. It practically doubled our attendance that day, but there wasn’t time to by Linda Jones, CBFNC Missions Coordinator count. I was whooshing up and down the church halls helping their kids get to Sunday School classes, helping their band get plugged On November 7, 2007, at 4:30 pm, Iglesia Cristiana into the speakers, and helping encourage our amazing cooks who Sin Fronteras held their inaugural worship service. In an were preparing lunch. Everything that day was wild, chaotic, and invitational letter to area pastors and leaders, Daniel Sostaita wonderful. Unlike usual, nobody was falling asleep in worship that wrote, “I am convinced that together we can work for the day. There was too much excitement, and you didn’t want to miss Kingdom of God ‘so that at the name of Jesus every knee anything. I’ll have to check with our older members, but I’m pretty should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and sure that was the first time the Bible’s been read in Swahili at our every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of little country church. God the father.’” All the many languages in our worship that day—English, I first met Daniel and his daughter, Barbara, ten years ago French, Swahili, Lingala—reminded me of Revelation 7, when at a little coffee shop in King where he was planting a new God is worshiped by “every nation, tribe, people and language.” church start. Barbara, 16 years old, was there to translate the So I noted that the day was a preview of heaven. And one thing’s discussion of connecting his work with CBFNC. Daniel was for sure, heaven includes a covered dish lunch with sweet tea and smart, passionate about ministry, and dedicated to sharing the chocolate cake, so our day did too. During lunch, the children love of Jesus with his community. played outside—on swingsets in the breeze and shooting basketballs Over the years, Iglesia Cristiana Sin Fronteras has grown– as the fall leaves blew by. It was a beautiful day, inside and out. more people, more ministry to the community, and deeper Before they left, our guests asked to see the horses that live next spiritual roots. My friendship with Daniel, his wife Irene, and door. Fortunately, the neighbors were outside and were fine with a their three daughters has also grown; we are family. horde of bouncing Congolese kids coming into Much has their yard to pet the horses and take selfies. changed over the So now the next visit is our turn. We’re last ten years, but planning to go back during Christmas to say hello. not his commitment We want to deliver some Christmas presents to to God, to his the kids in their church. Instead of our usual family, congregation, practice of giving shoeboxes of random items to and community. He an organization that sends them to faraway places took a step of faith in the world, now we’ll know exactly who needs three years ago and what and where. Instead of mailing a present transitioned from and never seeing a face, we can exchange gifts as bi-vocational to a part of a real relationship with a child, a family, a full-time pastor. church. They will be gifts between friends. Daniel graduated I look forward to many more times of from seminary. friendship and fellowship with our new sister Irene, his wife, is church of Congolese immigrants. We might speak always a support different languages, but smiles and hugs transcend Iglesia Cristiana Sin Fronteras’ anniversary celebration. by his side. Barbara language barriers. With more visits in the future, has been busy, I’ll need to keep the Wyatts on retainer as international ministry graduating from Salem College, then a master’s degree from consultants. I know that’s not as important as their refugee ministry Yale University, and now pursuing a Ph.D. at UNC-Chapel at Welcome House, which provides a safe home and good food, Hill. Their second daughter, Daniela, graduated from Elon but we certainly appreciate their guidance and their ministry of College last May and is working. Their third daughter, Vicky, introduction. That was another reason we decided it was high time is graduating high school and will enter college in the fall. Sin to put the Offering for Global Missions in our church budget. Fronteras continues its long-standing outreach focus to their We’ve supported CBF’s mission work for decades, but now we’re community, working with Faith Action and Faith Health, delighted to find ourselves the recipients of that mission work. providing music lessons, gathering back-to-school supplies, Through the Wyatts’ ministry, Pastor Felix and his wife Nicole were hosting soccer camp and “neighbor days,” and on and on! commissioned last summer as field personnel who build Christ’s Iglesia Cristiana Sin Fronteras’ tenth anniversary was beloved community around Raleigh. We now realize that they have celebrated November 12th. It was a joyous occasion with ministered to us, opening the arms of their heart and welcoming meaningful worship, great music, many guests, and delicious us in, letting the love of Christ break down barriers and divisions. food at their celebratory lunch. Congratulations and “well Their mission work brought them all the way to Louisburg as they done faithful servants” at Sin Fronteras! I’m looking forward to extended the beloved community to us, and we are thankful. We are what the next ten years will bring. excited for that community and these new friendships to grow.

The Gathering – January/February 2018 • 9

Check out our blog!

CBFNC Honorary and Memorial Gifts

CBFNC by Bill and Crystal Leathers, Winston-Salem in honor of Don and Carol VonCannon CBFNC by Lou Gardner Kline, Raleigh in honor of Larry and Kim Hovis Collegiate Ministry by Gail and Larry McAlister, Winston-Salem in memory of Amy Hardee Wyatt Ministry by Ann Wall, Raleigh in honor of Judy Johnson CBFNC by Jim and Jan Hylton, Winston-Salem in honor of Clay Setzer

To contribute, e-mail

CBFNC Financial Report October 2017 Contributions Undesignated: $90,284 Designated: $156,867 November 2017 Contributions Undesignated: $96,625 Designated: $152,772 April 2017 - March 2018 Monthly Undesignated Goal: $110,269

Donate to CBFNC today!

Coordinators’ Visits October - November 2017

Ardmore, Winston Salem Benson, Benson Crabtree, Raleigh Fair Bluff, Fair Bluff

Ministers on the Move Our encouragement and support go to the following ministers who have recently moved: Kadeisha Bonsu to Greenwood Forest, Cary, as Director of Children’s Ministry Carol Cloer to First, Sylva, as Youth Minister

First, Ahoskie First, Boone First, Greensboro First, Kernersville First, Monroe First, Mount Airy First, Mount Olive First, New Bern First, Statesville

Tommy Cook to Pullen Memorial, Raleigh, as Minister with Children and Families

First, Weaverville

Ronnie Hayes to Oak Grove, Boone, as Pastor

Hope Valley/Iglesia Bautista Valle De Esperanza,

Kerry Peeler to First, New Bern, as Associate Pastor of Christian Education Jacob Waldrip to First, Albemarle, as Associate Pastor of Family Ministries When you make a move or know of someone who has changed places of ministry, let us know by e-mailing us at For assistance to search committees and ministers seeking vocational discernment, visit our reference and referral page on our website at or call (336) 759-3456 or (888) 822-1944.

10 • The Gathering – January/February 2018

Forest Hills, Raleigh Durham Iglesia Bautista Misionera Roca Fuerte, Pittsboro Iglesia Cristiana Sin Fronteras, Winston-Salem Littleton, Littleton Mosaic, Raleigh Oakmont, Greenville Peace Haven, Winston-Salem Pfafftown, Pfafftown Zebulon, Zebulon CBFNC ministry coordinators are available to visit your church to speak, preach, teach, consult, lead, and minister. Contact the CBFNC office for more information.

Many churches aspire to be open to all. Unfortunately, Doretha Allen visited the church alone two years ago and was when it comes to the nitty-gritty practicalities, the road to overwhelmed by the welcome she received. “I wouldn’t bring decline is paved with good intentions. When intentions turn my grandkids anywhere they are not wanted. But when we come into intentionality, however, something like Grace Crossing, here, I get so many hugs! It really goes to your heart.” Now, Charlotte, happens. “Our church is brave enough to remake when Doretha attends, there are 13 others who join her! “My itself when it needs to. We began as Allen Street Baptist Church, grandchildren love their church, their Sunday School teachers, moved and became Shamrock Drive Baptist Church, moved to a and their pastor. They pray for our pastor by name. Jason is local high school, and now have a new building and minister to a concerned for all of us and he really listens to your questions or developing community in Charlotte. We are an agile church. I say concerns before giving an answer.” that Grace Crossing is a 100-yearWhen Bob Huck moved to old church plant,” says Jason Charlotte, he visited a larger Blanton, pastor since 2010. church but it felt impersonal The church had to make some to him. Bob looked up Grace difficult decisions before making Crossing on the internet and by Rick Jordan, CBFNC Church Resources Coordinator this move. Financially, listened to some of things were very tight. Jason’s sermons. “He Demographically, preaches from the the church was Bible!” Bob says. He made up of about visited the church. sixty older white “The thing that first people. The church impressed me was was moving into a that everyone made community that was eye-contact. That’s very diverse ethnically, very important to economically, and in me.” Bob sees his almost every other diversity not in his way. The church made ethnicity but in the decision to focus his history. He is a on ministering to all recovering alcoholic, persons in their new sober for 40 years community. Since now, and eager to the 2013 move, the church has help others on their recovery doubled in size, with almost all road. “Not a lot of churches of the growth coming from the will let an old drunk be a local community. deacon,” he says. The church’s website states, Jason notes, “We are Grace Crossing is a place that struggling in a society that embraces differences - in politics, forces us to choose camps. It is Left to right: Nathaniel Perez, Doretha Allen, and Bob Huck. theology, and culture. What that a war of division and nonsense. means is that you will worship The church is the only solution alongside people who are liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between.  to our nation’s divide. I believe that God has never looked on a It means you can bring any and all of your questions, and never feel face that he has not loved. If you can get people to start there, ashamed. It also means your questions are just as likely to be met with lots of your problems go easier.” more questions than easy answers. If there is a national debate around Grace Crossing has spent years undergoing this an issue, you can be sure it is being debated in our church, and we believe transformation. “It has been hard for all of us. We are a weird that our differences make us stronger, not weaker. We are people on a Petri dish trying to make it work. We’ve gone through a lot journey of faith - together. of grief, pain, distrust, and financial crisis. Anything that Nathaniel Perez was born and raised for much of his life could go bad, did. But we got back to our roots as a church in the Dominican Republic. He and his family attended when that cooperates with others and actively reaches out into the the church met at the high school but then the church went community.” through “a nasty divorce” with a pastor. That was disillusioning Can Grace Crossing be replicated? Jason says, “Churches to the Parez family, so they dropped out of church for about are like fingerprints. They can’t be replicated but you can see three years. When Grace Crossing finished building in his patterns. We cannot be franchised. A church needs to discern neighborhood, they began visiting again. “We have a patient who it is, be unapologetic about that, and do what it does well. God. I tried to ignore God for a while, but for the sake of my Most importantly, you must mean it when you say, ‘All are children God called us back to this church.” welcome.’”

all are welcome

The Gathering – January/February 2018 • 11


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2018 CBFNC Annual Gathering March 15-17, 2018 Knollwood, Winston-Salem Leadership Institute - Thursday, March 15 Tunes & Tales - Thursday, March 15 Friday Gathering - Friday, March 16 All Are Called Forum - Saturday, March 17

Celtic Spirituality in a Baptist Context WNCBF Gathering January 30, 2018 First, Asheville

Foundations of Christian Coaching (501) April 9-10, 2018 Christmount Conference Center, Black Mountain

2018 Children’s Choir Festival March 3, 2018 First, Greensboro

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The Gathering CBFNC Newsletter - Jan/Feb 2018  

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