WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (ABP) — Milton Hollifield became the 14th executive director-treasurer of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention during a special called convention April 11 — the first in the convention's history.
An announced total of 1,066 messengers attended the historic meeting, approving Hollifield's election with no apparent opposition.
A member of the convention staff since 1993, Hollifield had been serving as executive leader for the evangelism group. He was nominated by a search committee looking for a successor to former executive Jim Royston, who resigned last May to return to the pastorate.
The North Carolina convention has been divided in recent years as conservatives and moderates have battled over the election of officers and how church contributions should be handled. Several churches have been expelled over homosexuality and other issues, and some statewide board members have resigned over SBC policies, like the exclusion of women from pastoral roles. There has been some recent talk of a potential split in the convention, such as was experienced in Texas, Virginia and Missouri.
Hollifield said during his installation that North Carolina Baptists work in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and other mission sending groups “to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of hurting people.”
“I acknowledge there are significant differences among us,” Hollifield said, “but I am challenging you to focus on our points of agreement. I believe we will accomplish more united than we will as separate entities.”
Hollifield's nomination was endorsed Jan. 24 by the N.C. convention's executive committee and board of directors.
During the special convention session, Don Warren, chair of the board of directors, officially nominated Hollifield for the position. There were no other nominations, and Hollifield was elected on a show of ballots.
“The driving desire of my being, as your leader, is to help North Carolina Baptist churches achieve what God is calling each of them to accomplish in their respective fields of ministry,” Hollifield said, as he expressed gratitude for the confidence placed in him.
The son of a pastor, Hollifield worked in the funeral industry and for Duke Power before entering full-time ministry. He graduated from Mars Hill College and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was associate pastor of West Asheville (N.C.) Baptist Church from 1980-82, pastor of First Baptist Church of Stanley, N.C., from 1982-91, and director of missions for Gaston Baptist Association from 1991-93.
Hollifield and his wife, Gloria, have one son, Judson, an attorney who lives in Asheville.