Hollifield to assist NAMB in state convention partnerships

By Mike Ebert

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Milton Hollifield, the longtime executive director of the North Carolina Baptist Convention who retired in February, will be working with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in a part-time role that will focus on strategic planning and strengthening partnerships between NAMB and Southern Baptist state conventions.

Milton Hollifield retired as executive director of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina on February 28, 2021. Hollifield agreed to serve the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in a part-time role to assist with NAMB’s strategic partnerships with state conventions.

“I have appreciated Milton’s wisdom and advice over the years as he served as a state exec,” NAMB president Kevin Ezell said. “He’s one of the great statesmen in Southern Baptist life. After he announced his retirement last year, I asked him to pray about the possibility of lending his gifts to NAMB on a part-time basis. I wanted him to be available to consult with state convention leaders and mentor newer ones if they request it.”

For Hollifield, the NAMB role is an opportunity to continue something he feels deeply passionate about.

“This is all about NAMB and its state partners working together to strengthen and increase the spread of the gospel across North America and to the nations living here,” Hollifield said. “If I can be of benefit in helping accomplish that, I am ready to serve.”

Hollifield will assist Ezell in relating to and communicating with the 41 state leaders throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. Each autonomous state convention has its own leadership, strategy and budget.

“Both NAMB and state conventions exist to serve churches and to help Southern Baptists share the gospel,” Ezell said. “NAMB has its strategies just as all of the state conventions have theirs. When it comes to our strategy, NAMB wants to communicate, collaborate and contextualize with our partners in the most effective way possible. Where we can come alongside and work together, we want to do that.”

Hollifield’s role will focus on working with state convention leaders to help NAMB carry out its “Three C” commitment—communicate, collaborate and contextualize. Given the longevity of his service as an executive director, Hollifield will also be available as a resource to state leaders who wish to take advantage of his experience.

“I have had the privilege of serving in state convention ministry for more than 27 years,” Hollifield said, “and I appreciate the value and distinctive differences between our state conventions. Just as I gained insight and benefitted from my relationships with others who journeyed this way before me, I will be available to be used by God as a resource for help and encouragement to others who are on a similar path in their role of leadership.”

Other state convention leaders expressed support for Hollifield’s new assignment.

“I am incredibly excited about this new role for Milton,” said Sonny Tucker, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. “I have worked closely with Milton for 20 years. He is passionate about evangelism, committed to extraordinary prayer, zealous for Southern Baptists to work together in Great Commission work, and a statesman and peacemaker. His wonderful wife Gloria is an encourager and a delight to be around. This is a great move for NAMB and Southern Baptists.”

Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board echoed Tucker’s words of affirmation.

“Milton has a strategist’s mind, a shepherd’s heart and the demeanor of a spirit-filled Ambassador of Christ,” Davis said. “Like never before, Great Commission advance is calling on Southern Baptists to have an unshakable and obvious unity around the task of making Christ-following disciples. Milton will be a tremendous asset to Kevin Ezell as NAMB strengthens relationships with state conventions and other strategic partners. I am excited that Kevin has asked Milton Hollifield to join his team as a trusted advisor at NAMB.”

Todd Unzicker, who was recently announced as the nominee to replace Hollifield as executive director of the North Carolina state convention, also shared enthusiasm for the news.

“Milton will be an incredible asset in this new role,” Unzicker said. “He has a deep knowledge of state convention life, great relationships across a broad range of Southern Baptists, and a missional heart to see the Great Commission go forward. He represents the best of us, and I pray the Lord will bless this new ministry.”

Hollifield’s service with NAMB began April 1.

This story has been updated to include a quote from Todd Unzicker.

Published April 6, 2021

Mike Ebert

Mike Ebert is executive director of public relations at the North American Mission Board.