Hollifield announces plans to retire as N.C. Baptist leader
CARY, N.C. (BP) -- Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), has announced plans to retire effective Feb. 28, 2021.
Hollifield shared his retirement plans during a regularly scheduled meeting of the BSC executive committee Tuesday (May 19) that was held via Zoom video conference due to COVID-19-related restrictions on public gatherings. Hollifield also made a joint announcement to state convention staff and the full board of directors by email.
"It has been a privilege to work for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina since June 1, 1993," Hollifield said. "North Carolina Baptists honored me 14 years ago when they asked me to lead the work of this great convention of Baptist churches and associations as the 14th executive director-treasurer. Over this span of time, we have seen our majestic and holy God do some amazing things as we have cooperated, labored and prayed together. I give all glory and praise to God for what He has chosen to do through us.
"Just as clearly as I sensed God's leadership in His calling upon my life to accept the position as your executive director in 2006, now I am confident that He is leading me to move toward retirement effective Feb. 28 of next year." Hollifield said. "My desire and prayer has always been to seek God's will and His timing in every area of my life and ministry. As I prayed over a period of several months, searched the Scriptures and waited for God, I became convinced this move is the right decision for Gloria and me. I am not leaving the ministry when I retire from this position, but it will be different."
Hollifield has described his vision for the convention as "seven pillars for ministry" that emphasize prayer, evangelism and discipleship, church strengthening, church planting, reaching North Carolina's international community, embracing unreached and unengaged people groups, and encouraging young church leaders.
Under his leadership, Hollifield oversaw the development, adoption and implementation of an ongoing statewide strategy that is focused on "impacting lostness through disciple-making."
"Milton Hollifield is a man of God who has given himself to serving the churches of North Carolina," said Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. "He has prioritized making disciples of all the nations. His passion and vision has been to reach people for Jesus Christ. As a Christian leader, I appreciate the partnership in the Gospel that we have shared. He is a friend, an encourager and a warrior in prayer for me."
During Hollifield's tenure, North Carolina Baptists have increased their support of SBC missions and ministry endeavors through the Cooperative Program (CP) and other special offerings. In each of the past 14 years, North Carolina Baptists have increased the percentage allocated to SBC causes through the annual CP budget.
In addition, North Carolina Baptists have ranked at or near the top among all state conventions in annual support of the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions.
"Milton and Gloria Hollifield have been among our chief encouragers and prayer warriors," International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood said. "Michelle and I are deeply grateful for their friendship. Milton is a model leader in the cooperative mission work of Southern Baptists and has served North Carolina Baptists well. He will be missed in his role, and his retirement will be marked with thanksgiving and a celebration for all he has done to serve the Great Commission of our Lord."
Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, added: "When I think of the definition of 'godly leader,' I cannot think of a better example than Brother Milton. I have always benefited from his advice and counsel. Whenever I have the opportunity to spend time with him, I am always better for it. I'm happy for him as he makes this transition and will be praying all the best for him, but I will greatly miss his leadership, wisdom and compassion."
Prior to being named executive director-treasurer, Hollifield served as director of the BSC's Evangelism Division beginning in 1993, and he later became executive leader of the Mission Growth Evangelism Group. During his overall tenure with the convention, Hollifield has played a direct role in hiring almost all of the current staff members.
"I am especially proud of each and every staff member of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as they seek to assist the churches in their divinely appointed mission to fulfill the Great Commission," Hollifield said. "It has been such a privilege to work with so many talented and gifted people who love the Lord, believe the Bible and carry out their respective ministry assignments in a Christ-honoring manner."
Before joining the state convention, Hollifield served as the executive director of missions for the Gaston Baptist Association in Gastonia, N.C. He also served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Stanley, N.C., and as associate pastor of West Asheville Baptist Church.
Board President Melanie Wallace will appoint a special search committee to seek God's will regarding Hollifield's successor.
Wallace said N.C. Baptists will have the opportunity to recommend individuals to serve on the search committee through a dedicated email account at NCsearchteam@ncbaptist.org. Recommendations may be made through Monday, June 15.
Wallace asked for prayer as she begins the process of naming a search committee for the BSC's next executive director-treasurer.
"I take this responsibility seriously and covet the prayers of all N.C. Baptists," Wallace said. "We aren't replacing a person. Milton Hollifield simply cannot be replaced. What we are beginning is a search for God's man who will bring his own God-given calling and God-given vision to lead us into the future."