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African Americans hear call for revival
Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press
June 21, 2011
5 MIN READ TIME

African Americans hear call for revival

African Americans hear call for revival
Karen L. Willoughby, Baptist Press
June 21, 2011

PHOENIX – The

multi-ethnic emphasis of the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2011 annual meeting

has made it “one of the best conventions I’ve ever been to,” James Dixon told

participants at the National African American Fellowship June 14.

Dixon, in his second year as

president of the organization that was founded in the early 1990s, said he

chose 33 years ago to cooperate with the SBC.

The pastor of El-Bethel Baptist

Church in Fort

Washington, Md., said, however,

he had a concern.

There have been many initiatives for multi-ethnic inclusion in the SBC,

“and every time it’s staying on the table,” Dixon

said.

“We really need to repent,” the pastor said. “Sin hinders us from carrying out

the will of God. … I’ve been hearing all day we need revival. No, we need

healing. (Sin) is not going to go away until we deal with it,” Dixon

said in talking about sin that replaces God’s best for the best humans can do

without Him.

“We need to be sure God be glorified in all our efforts,” Dixon

said.

Preaching from Hebrews 12 about men who learned from their mistakes, Dixon

said, “Failing doesn’t make you a failure,” noting, “The cost to quit is

greater than the cost to fail. … The call on your life is an eternal call.

You’ve got to be careful with it.”

Photo by Adam Covington.

Joseph Lyles, left, of Fort Foot Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Md., prays with William H. Smith, center, part of the North Buffalo Community Church in Buffalo, N.Y., and another attendee prior to the National African American Fellowship night of gospel preaching and Christ-centered praise June 12 at Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Mesa, Ariz. The service preceded the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting June 14-15 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The banquet also included greetings from SBC

entities and from Vance Pittman, president of the SBC

Pastors’ Conference.

NAAF’s business session opened with an extended time of prayer and included

greetings from Tom Elliff, president of the International Mission Board. Bob

Loggins, who leads a prayer and spiritual awakening emphasis for the Missouri

Baptist Convention, directed NAAF members through Psalms 121, 51 and 37 to ask

God for cleansing personally and corporately throughout the body of Christ.

Dixon had appointed four ad-hoc

committees earlier in the year, and chairmen of three of the teams reported

during the NAAF business session. The fourth report – on racial reconciliation –

is to be presented during the annual Black Church Leadership Week, July 18-22

at LifeWay Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference

Center.

Michael Pigg, pastor of Philadelphia Baptist

Church in Lithonia,

Ga., reported on the work of the Great

Commission Resurgence team.

The GCR team supported the SBC

Executive Committee’s recommendations regarding ethnic inclusion in SBC

life, which were adopted by the SBC June 14;

determined that NAAF should take a lead responsibility in the continuation of a

multi-ethnic consortium; affirmed the new Send North American church planting

strategy of the North American Mission Board, with a suggestion that the NAAF

president discuss with NAMB the possibility of more ethnic focus; and that NAAF

develop ways of including more black groups such as Caribbean, Puerto Rican,

Haitian and African.

Tyrone Barnette, pastor of Peace Baptist

Church in Decatur,

Ga., reported on the work of the missions

team.

By working with churches engaged in national and international missions,

awareness could be heightened to the point that “mission empowerment

conferences” could take place in each of NAAF’s time zone regions by 2013,

Barnette said. This also would involve pastors experienced in missions trips

mentoring those without experience.

NAAF will assist churches, associations and state conventions in planting 150

new African American churches by December 2012, plus 25 more in 2013, and 25

more in 2014, Barnette added. The missions team suggested a National African

American Fellowship church planting network might need to be organized to keep

the focus strong. In addition, the mission team suggested NAAF churches partner

with non-African American churches to plant 25 non-African American churches in

by 2014.

Barnette identified other suggestions from the team: sponsoring a black student

leaders mission trip by December 2013, providing disaster relief training

opportunities, and recognizing churches that take the lead in promoting and

engaging in missions.

NAAF officers for 2011-12 include Dixon,

president; A.B. Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in Spring Valley, Calif.,

vice president; Mark Croston Sr., pastor of East End Baptist Church in Suffolk,

Va., treasurer; and Byron Day, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Laurel,

Md., secretary.

National vice presidents/regional directors include Brian King, pastor of Ezekiel

Baptist Church

in Philadelphia, Pa.;

Roscoe Belton, pastor of Middlebelt Baptist

Church in Inkster,

Mich.; and Garland Moore, pastor of Immanuel

Baptist Church

in Milan, N.M.

A fourth regional director position is vacant.

Robert Wilson, associate pastor at Elizabeth

Baptist Church

in Atlanta, is the group’s

historian, and K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene

Baptist Church

in Philadelphia, Pa.,

is the parliamentarian.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Louisiana

Baptist Message.)