Unity celebrated in West Florida

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The West Florida region is celebrating Black and Multicultural pastors and churches with two key events this month designed to bless, encourage and help them get plugged into Florida Baptist life and connected to each other.

West regional catalyst Lewis Miller said the events are born out of a desire to be one family as Florida Baptists.

On Friday, April 20, pastors and their wives will gather at Family of God Church in Panama City for the second annual Black Multicultural Church Pastors and Wives Appreciation Banquet.

At last year’s event dozens of pastors and their wives were blessed with a message of love and encouragement from Florida Baptist Convention Executive Director-Treasurer Tommy Green, who is happy to get the chance to fellowship with the group again this year.

“The night will honor our pastors and wives for their faithful service to the Lord,” Green said. “It is a small way to say thank you for effective Gospel ministry through the local church.”

Black and multicultural congregations will then gather on April 27-28 for a mini-retreat, featuring keynote speaker C. Dwight Woods, pastor of Family of God Church in Panama City, and breakout sessions focusing on various ministry areas, such as effective guest follow-up, deacon ministry training, Sunday school, worship and more.

Lonnie Wesley, pastor of Greater Little Rock Baptist Church in Pensacola, will lead the breakout session on deacon ministry. He said staying on top of training is key for effective ministry.

“We cannot continue to work out of a mentality that is 30 years old,” Wesley said. “The method may change and should change but the message of the cross stays the same. We’re learning to communicate the message by new methods.”

Other speakers include:

Beyond training and fellowship these events allow black and multicultural congregations to make new ministry connections, further strengthening churches and advancing the Kingdom. Wesley said that the focus on black and multicultural churches is important because those congregations, for various reasons, tend to be farther behind.

“We serve one God and one Lord through one faith and one baptism,” he said. We need to put aside every excuse we’ve used in the past and be thankful for the opportunities we have today.”

Patrick Coats, Black Multicultural catalyst for the Florida Baptist Convention, has been doing trainings like this around the state and is excited for the chance to connect with pastors and churches in the Panhandle, letting them know in a very real way that the Florida Baptist Convention is right beside them.

“The goal is to bring pastors in the region together who didn’t know each other and create fellowships within the tribe and get them engaged in Florida Baptist Convention life,” he said.

Tommy Green believes the cooperation only makes Florida Baptist churches stronger.

“The fellowship builds Kingdom relationships for the continued unity and oneness of our churches in Christ,” he said. “We are better together!”

There’s still time for you to be a part of these great events! For more information or to register for the Pastors and Wives Appreciation Banquet, contact Lewis Miller by clicking here. And to find out more about or to register for the Black Multicultural Mini-Retreat, click here.

By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, April 17, 2018

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