Convention staff to restructure in order to fulfill new five-year strategy

by BSCNC Communications
Friday, April 12, 2013 | 7 yrs old

The Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) approved this week a new structure for the Convention staff to more effectively implement a five-year strategy focused on impacting lostness through disciple-making.

Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSCNC executive director-treasurer, presented proposed structural changes to the Executive Committee during a regularly scheduled meeting April 11 at the Baptist Building in Cary.

“Structure follows strategy, and the strategy is driving staff reassignments,” Hollifield said. “The new structure is streamlined as a result of the strategy. This structure is necessary for our Convention staff to support and effectively implement the new five-year strategy.”

The majority of structural changes are the result of staff reassignments, retirements and current unfilled staff position vacancies.

“The strategy work has been ongoing and was not based on current financial realities. We expect that we will see reduced expenses in the new structure, as that is the natural outgrowth of an effective, efficient restructuring process,” said John Butler, BSCNC business services executive leader.

Staff with new assignments will continue serving in their current roles through the remainder of the year, but will also begin preparations to start these new assignments when the strategy takes full effect January 2014.

The new Convention staff structure will not impact the work of the Convention’s affiliated agencies and institutions.

Strategic Focus Team

As the strategy calls for the Convention to be more strategic and intentional in engaging people in the most concentrated areas of lostness, a new Strategic Focus Team will lead the work in eight population areas across the state: Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greenville, Hickory, Wilmington, the Triad area (Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point) and the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill).

The population in North Carolina increased 18 percent from 2000 to 2010. During this same period, the population in these eight areas increased 22 percent, comprising nearly 75 percent of the state population.

A coordinator will serve in each of the eight areas with Russ Conley, current BSCNC senior consultant for leadership ministries, serving as team leader.

Those already named as full-time area coordinators, to be known as strategy coordinators, include Michael Sowers (currently serving as BSCNC Great Commission Partnerships senior consultant), Triad; and Frank White (currently serving as a BSCNC church planting consultant), Charlotte. Larry Phillips (retired BSCNC Congregational Services consultant) will serve as Hickory area coordinator on a contract basis.

These individuals are tasked with collaborating with local leadership to develop a strategy for the population center, and to foster local ownership of the strategy. These strategy coordinators will work with directors of missions/associational missionaries, local pastors, lay leaders, leaders from ethnic and cultural people groups and others to develop the strategy for the local area. Strategy coordinators will help existing churches and new church plants partner together to develop strategies for making disciples and pushing back lostness. 

Evangelism and discipleship

In the new staff structure a new group is being formed called the evangelism and discipleship group, and the current evangelization group and congregational services group will no longer exist.

Lynn Sasser, executive leader for congregational services, will serve as group leader of the evangelism and discipleship group. Don McCutcheon, executive leader for evangelization group, announced last month that he will retire June 1 in order to care for his aging parents.

“This is not simply a merger of two groups; it is a new group. This group will help us move toward a more collaborative approach of ministry, instead of viewing discipleship and evangelism as two silos that are separate and disconnected in ministry,” Hollifield said.

The new group includes two teams: disciple-making and church strengthening. Brian Upshaw, BSCNC church ministry team leader, will serve as team leader for disciple-making and Antonio Santos, BSCNC Hispanic ministries consultant, will serve as team leader for church strengthening.

Both teams will utilize contract workers to help facilitate evangelism, discipleship and leadership development efforts different ethnic groups throughout the state.

“We must move from viewing ethnics as only recipients of ministry to our partners in ministry,” Hollifield said. 

Church planting and missions partnerships

The current church planting and missions development group, led by executive leader Chuck Register, is being renamed church planting and missions partnerships and will include collegiate partnerships, part of the former evangelization group.

Under the new structure nine campus minister positions are eliminated; interim/part time individuals fill three of these positions. One campus ministry assistant position is also eliminated.

The BSCNC will continue serving and supporting collegiate ministries through regional campus ministry consultants who will work with local churches to develop partnerships and strategies for reaching college students.

Rick Trexler, BSCNC campus ministry team leader, will serve as team leader for the new collegiate partnerships team and also serve as central region consultant. Individuals will also be hired to fill the positions of western and eastern regional campus ministry consultants.

Sammy Joo, international campus ministry consultant for the Triangle area, and Tom Knight, international campus ministry consultant for Charlotte, will continue serving in these roles.  

In addition to the current four full-time church planting consultants, church planting and missions partnerships will also utilize church planting contract workers to assist in areas such as Vietnamese, Anglo and African-American church planting.


Overall, the new structure eliminates 16 positions and adds 11 new positions. In addition to the 9 campus minister positions, and additional support staff, the full-time chaplaincy ministry consultant, a church planting consultant and leadership ministries consultant positions are also eliminated. 

Current vacancies for a creative team leader, PR director and ministry assistant in the area of Information Technology/Information Services will not be filled in the new structure.

The most recent Convention reorganization was in 2009, when six positions were eliminated, three of which were vacant at the time.