WACO—The annual gathering of the African American Fellowship Conference (AAFC) took place July 8-11 at First Woodway Baptist Church in Waco. The week, which included worship, more than 30 seminars, special luncheons, and officer elections, centered around working together with fellow pastors, WMU Sisters Who Care, and AAF members.
The conference began with a Sweet Hour of Prayer (SHOP), that gave attendees a time to thank God for all that He has done. The event was led by Rev. Louis Rosenthal, pastor of The McKinney First Baptist Church, who led the group in prayer. Dr. Patrick Bradley, minister of music of Westside Baptist Church in Lewisville, led worship.
Dr. Roy Cotton, director of Texas Baptists African American Ministries, prayed during the event, reminding those in attendance that nothing is possible without the Lord. “It’s not how much we know… it’s not how good we are,” Cotton prayed. “Anything that happens this week is just [God].”
Throughout the conference, speakers talked about the importance of working together and overcoming hardships in ministry.
Dr. Michael A. Evans, Sr., pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, spoke to the importance of community.
He said, “One of the greatest benefits of being at the AAFC is learning that you are not alone. Ministry can be lonesome. It can be hard allowing yourself to be mentored… but you’ll learn [here] that you’re not by yourself and that there are people here who can really help you.”
On Tuesday, pastors were invited to a luncheon highlighting some of the AAFC ministries.
The election of 2019-2020 African American Fellowship of Texas officers included: Rev. Kenneth O. Jackson, pastor of New Light Baptist Church in Lubbock, as president; Dr. Edward Wagner, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Killeen/Harker Heights, as vice president; Rev. Samuel J. Doyle, Pastor of Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church in Waco, as secretary; Rev. Gregory Trotter, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony in Denton County, as assistant secretary; Rev. Leonard Hornsby, executive pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, re-elected as treasurer; and Rev. Michael Joseph, pastor of Marvelous Light Church in Houston, as assistant treasurer.
Jackson, the newly elected president, emphasized the importance of AAF in the lives and ministries of Baptist African American churches across Texas. “They need to be connected,” he said. “Because a lot of these churches are in need of basic services, and they don’t know where to go, and they don’t have the resources… and we [want to] to support them.”
The 26th Annual James W. Culp, Sr. Banquet was held on Tuesday night. The first seven presidents of AAF were honored for their years of service. Evans gave the message, where he preached from 2 Corinthians 10 about connecting the dots in Texas Baptists.
Dr. Dennis Young, Sr., pastor of Missouri City Baptist Church and a former AAF president, said during the banquet, “I thank God that He moved me to Texas and that I was involved and am still involved in the building of God’s kingdom and being able to work with these tremendous guys, men of God that love the Lord.”
Seven churches were also honored for their contributions to the Texas Baptists Cooperative program, including: Cornerstone Baptist Church in Killeen; The Fort Bend Church in Sugar Land; Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield; Community Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto; New Beginnings Baptist Church in Lewisville; The Church Without Walls in Houston; and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in San Antonio.
An additional seven churches were honored as small strong congregations. These included: Minnehulla Baptist Church in Goliad; The Cross Baptist Church in Tyler; Berean Baptist Bible Fellowship in San Antonio; A Safe Place Church in Houston; Cornerstone Community of Faith in Houston; Open Door Baptist Worship Center in Center; and Centerpointe Church for the Communities in Red Oak.
Sisters Who Care (SWC) also hosted a luncheon, where Michelle Fergus, a member of the SWC Advisory Council, spoke. She talked about the disciples being full of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts, and challenged those in attendance to reflect on what they were filled with. Diane Bowman of Faithway Fellowship Baptist Church led the worship.
Attendees of the conference had the opportunity to participate in workshops designed to strengthen and inform churches about various ministries, technologies, and opportunities.
Worship services on Wednesday and Thursday featured sermons by Dr. Breonus M. Mitchell, Sr., who is the senior pastor at Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, TN.
Wednesday night Pastor Mitchell spoke to the congregation about moving on when people hurt you. “God does not want us to herald what’s been done to hurt us,” he said, “but He wants us to herald how He has helped us. Speak more about what He has done for you, than what they’ve done to you.”