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FROM THE STATES: 1,000+ churches commit to ServeNC; Record year at Tennessee All Nations Camp


1,000+ churches commit to ‘ServeNC’ as part of statewide initiative

By Samuel Heard/NC Baptists

CARY, N.C. (BP) – More than 1,000 churches from across North Carolina have pledged to take part in a statewide initiative in early August that calls on church members to serve their local communities.

The “ServeNC” initiative, scheduled for Aug. 3-10, asks churches to meet the needs of their surrounding neighborhoods throughout that week. As of Monday (July 8), 1,003 churches have committed to participate, the majority of which are churches that partner with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

“ServeNC is an opportunity for churches across the state to partner together to love our neighbors as ourselves,” said Todd Unzicker, who serves as the state convention’s executive director-treasurer. “We want our communities to know that we love them, we’re here for them and we’re ready to serve them as Jesus would.”

The ServeNC initiative was announced in September 2023 at a regularly scheduled meeting of the board of directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, which has facilitated the initiative in partnership with its auxiliary organization Baptists on Mission. Since then, churches have prepared for ServeNC by signing up at servenc.com, where they could receive free resources, training and promotional materials to prepare for the event. 

Participating churches can be found in 89 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. They have been encouraged to participate in service projects that meet specific needs in their local communities. The result has been a diversity of projects planned for the week of Aug. 3-10, including back-to-school distributions, wheelchair ramp builds, free yard sales, food pantry projects and more.

Already, churches are reporting ways that ServeNC is making a positive impact in their communities. In Cumberland County, one pastor shared how it has become a rallying point for churches in the area, allowing churches to unite under a common cause.

“What we’re aiming to see … is unity within our community so that we can better serve and reach our community in Jesus’ name,” said Andrew Clark, pastor of Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville. 

In May, Arran Lake hosted a regional ServeNC rally to give churches the chance to connect with local nonprofit organizations and ministries for opportunities to serve. As attendees heard and interacted with local community leaders, they were encouraged to consider what impact their church could make in the lives of their neighbors.

“If your church ceased to exist, would your community notice? Would they miss you?” Clark said. 

Read the full story here.


Tennessee’s All Nations Camp bigger than ever

LINDEN, Tenn. (BP) – All Nations Camp 2024 will be remembered as a record-breaking, decision-making, spirit-awakening event. 

Held during a two-week stretch in June – with the first week at Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center and the following week at Linden Valley Conference Center – this year’s camp drew a total of 608 campers and counselors, easily surpassing the previous high-water mark of 500 set in 2018. 

For three decades, All Nations Camp has provided international children — ages 7 through 17 – with an opportunity to gather for a week of worship, nature activities, crafts, games, Bible study and more. 

This year was also a record-making year for decisions at the camp, with 118 professions of faith, 36 rededications and nine calls to ministry. 

Those numbers are the ones that bring an immediate smile to the face of William Burton, ethnic church planting specialist and new churches team leader for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. He noted that in the midst of the tether balls swinging and the diving board springing, the Gospel is the focal point of the camp. 

“The emphasis of the camp will always be evangelism and worship,” Burton said. “That’s why we do what we do. It is so wonderful to see these children making decisions that impact the rest of their lives and their eternities.” 

Noting that All Nations Camp is made possible through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, Burton said he was thrilled to see the high numbers at both locations. This year marked the third time that both of the Tennessee Baptist Conference Centers have hosted a week of camp. 

Back again and brand new 

Many of the campers this year were “returnees,” including a large number of children who have become regulars at the camp each and every year. The same is true for the counselors. 

Bradley Vickers, 23, has served as a camp leader since he was a teenager, with this year marking his seventh consecutive summer serving in that role. 

Vickers – who is a school teacher at Cannon County High School and a member of New Vision Baptist Church in Alexandria – said he has enjoyed watching the transformation he has seen from the campers during his time with ANC. 

“My first year as a counselor, I stayed in the cabins with one group of kids, and we had some tiny, tiny kids in that cabin,” he said. “Now those same kids are taller than I am. I saw some of them this year and I was like, ‘What in the world? Where’s time gone?’ But that’s been really cool to see. You love to see that they come back each year.” 

Read the full story here.

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