Messengers Hear Reports from SCBC Institutions; Elect 2018 Officers
Wednesday Session Report
Messengers to the Wednesday session of the annual meeting heard reports from institution ministry partners from across the state, recognized recipients of special awards, elected new officers, and heard from the 2018 annual meeting president.
Ken Weathersby, vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee, brought greetings to messengers from the SBC. “Thank you, South Carolina Baptists, for your partnership in working across the board to make sure we have missionaries in North America and around the world to share the message of Jesus Christ. Since its inception in 1930, South Carolina Baptists have given over a billion dollars through the Cooperative Program,” Weathersby says.
Reports from Institution Leaders
Executive Director-Treasurer Gary Hollingsworth invited leaders of convention institutions to share updates and ways that messengers can support them in their work. Three new leaders were introduced: Dr. Gene Fant, president of North Greenville University; Danny Nicholson, president of Connie Maxwell Children’s Home; and, Nathan McCarthy, president of the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina.
Leaders from the three educational institutions shared updates from their campuses. Fant plans to build on the strong foundation of relationships North Greenville already has adding, “the heritage of the gospel being relational carries over into everything else we do.” Anderson University’s Wayne Landrith reported that 75 students have accepted Christ already this school year. A summer camp held on the Anderson campus saw 500 junior high and senior high school students make professions of faith, with another 500 answering the call to ministry. Charleston Southern University President Jairy Hunter, who was recognized for celebrating 34 years at the school, shared that over 100 students prayed to receive Christ during the last year. “South Carolina Baptists can be proud of their three higher education institutions. We all have nonbelievers coming to our campus, which is home missions,” Hunter says.
In other news, Tom Turner, president of South Carolina Baptist Ministry for Aging, announced plans to build a new retirement living campus in the midlands area within the next few years. Rudy Gray, editor and president of The Baptist Courier, shared that the publication recently won several awards from a state press association, including ‘top magazine’ for a second year in a row. McCarthy shared about the Foundation’s goal to work more closely with churches moving forward, to help educate and provide resources in financial planning.
CLPA Committee Awards
2017 Public Servant Award
The Christian Life & Public Affairs (CLPA) Committee named Chief Mark Keel, of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), as the recipient of the 2017 Public Servant Award. Chief Keel’s consistent voice in opposition of the legalization of recreational marijuana in South Carolina, and his “professional, eloquent and factual testimony to the policy makers in South Carolina has been valuable in crafting more reasonable public policy.” The committee noted his role in law enforcement has opened doors for him to inform policy makers and citizens of the collateral harms of marijuana use, and the potential dangers of its legalization on South Carolina.
2017 Impact Your World
First Baptist Spartanburg is the recipient of the 2017 Impact Your World Award, for its impact on the city of Spartanburg through local outreach and community support efforts for over 175 years. Its ministries to the homeless, apartment communities, Disaster Relief, food and clothing pantries, Good News Clubs, and elementary school tutoring have shown that First Baptist Spartanburg is a church that cares about its community and beyond.
E. A. McDowell Award
The 2017 E.A. McDowell Award has been given to Mark Hendrick, for his ongoing defense of the faith and continued emphasis on the importance of sustaining a biblical worldview within South Carolina. Hendrick has faithfully served the South Carolina Baptist Convention in many ways, including previously serving as the director of public policy. Hendrick’s relationships with legislators, coupled with his extensive knowledge of public policy, enabled the CLPA committee and the South Carolina Baptist Convention as a whole to make a lasting impact in our state for the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2018 Officer Elections
Messengers elected the following 2018 annual meeting officers:
President Elect – Bryant Sims, First Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Greenwood
First Vice President – Mike Runion, City View First Baptist Church in Greenville
Second Vice President – Josh McClendon, Philippi Baptist Church in Johnston
Recording Secretary – Frances Miller, Hulon Baptist Church in Batesburg
Registration Secretary – David Dinkins, Center Baptist Church in Hemingway
Mark A., associate executive director/chief strategist with the convention, welcomed remaining team leaders to report their work to messengers. Tim Rice, team leader for the missions mobilization team, reported that 457 volunteer messengers participated in projects related to ‘One Day,’ on Tuesday afternoon. “We want every life in South Carolina to be saturated with the gospel, so that we can send people to every part of the state, nation, and around the world,” he says. Rice introduced messengers to former Burmese refugee Kosu, who is now a local missionary.
In his report of new work, Jay Hardwick, team leader for the church planting team, told messengers that conventions don’t plant churches, churches plant churches. He shared updates on church plants reaching the lost in the Beaufort and Greenville communities, which are among 60 new churches planted in the last year. “The reality in South Carolina is that three out of four people you meet each day are nonbelievers. As our state continues to grow, we have an opportunity to reach them through new work so that we see every life saturated with the hope of the gospel,” Hardwick says.
Message from 2018 Annual Meeting President
Messengers heard from 2018 Annual Meeting President Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston, who shared his vision of ‘Building Bridges for the Gospel.’ Reflecting on the 2015 church shooting at neighboring Emmanuel AME in Charleston, Blalock spoke to the excitement he feels about working to build new bridges alongside South Carolina Baptists in the coming year. He spoke to the convention holding its next annual meeting in a primarily African-American church, Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Charleston. “I am looking forward to seeing how God will use us to serve His kingdom and make this place look a lot more like heaven where, around the throne, there will be people of every tribe, race and nation,” he says.
There were 611 registered messengers at the 2017 meeting.