by Robert Earl Houston
A tall cedar has fallen on the preaching landscape of the United States, as the Lord has called home his servant, the Rev. Dr. Gardner Calvin Taylor on Easter Sunday, April 6, 2015. He was 96 years old.
Dr. Taylor was world-reknown for his preaching gifts and was dubbed “The Dean of American preaching” by Time Magazine. He was born June 18, 1918 and graduated from Leland College and Oberlin Graduate School of Theology.
He was called a “National Visionary” by the National Visionary Leadership Project for “his use of metaphor, dramatic timing and biblical truths to weave a seamless narrative in his sermons exhibit(ed) his mastery of the technical aspects of preaching that have inspired both laymen and clergy alike. Many have been entranced and transformed by Taylor’s oratorical gift.”
Dr. Taylor was the only child born to Reverend Washington and Selina Taylor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His father died when he was 13, however, he influenced his son’s preaching style. As a young man, he had hopes of becoming a lawyer and it wasn’t until he survived a serious car accident that he experienced his call to ministry and realized God’s claim on his life.
Instead of attending the University of Michigan Law School, he went to Oberlin in 1937 where he met his wife Laurabelle Scott. They married in 1940 and had one daughter. While in school, he pastored Bethany Baptist Church in Oberlin from 1938 to 1941; the Beulah Baptist Church, New Orleans, LA, 1941-1943; the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Baton Rouge, LA, 1943-1947. In 1948 he became pastor of Concord Baptist Church at the age of 30, which at the time had 5,000 members. By the end of his tenure, church membership exceeded 14,000. Under his leadership, the church build a home for the aged, organized a fully-accredited grade school and developed the Christ Fund, a million-dollar endowment for investing in the Brooklyn community.
As a denominational leader he sought the presidency of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. He ran against the incumbent president, Dr. J.H. Jackson, who had differing views about the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his supporters, of which Dr. Taylor was one. Following very controversial proceedings, Dr. Jackson was declared president and in Cincinnati, the other faction organized that Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. Several years later, Dr. Taylor became President of the Convention and was honored as the President Emeritus unto the time of his passing.
He received numerous awards and honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to his by President William Jefferson Clinton.
He served as the senior pastor of Concord for 42 years and retired 25 years ago in 1990. He was in demand as a preacher world-wide and authored several books, include the six-volume series, “The Words of Gardner Taylor.” HIs wife Laura Bell passed away on February 5, 1995. He later married Phillis Strong. His daughter is Martha Taylor Lacroix.
I had the privilege to serve as the Webmaster of the Progressive National Baptist Convention during the 50th Anniversary of the Convention in Washington, DC, and Dr. Taylor was present at the Convention. He gave words of wisdom and I stood there in awe as he sat in his wheelchair and dispensed wisdom to a crowd that was completely in awe and in silence, soaking up his wisdom. He shared a great line: “Some young pastor asked me Dr. Taylor what should be my goal as a young pastor? I looked at him and said, live to be an old pastor.”
At the time of his passing he was residing in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Phillis. I wrote this on Twitter: “Dr. Gardner Taylor was to preaching what paint was to Picasso, what a needle was to a record album, and what a lyric was to a song.”
HOMEGOING ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED AS FOLLOWS:
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Christian Faith Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina
Viewing 6 – 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Concord Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York
Wake 5 – 8 p.m.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Concord Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York
Viewing 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Homegoing Service 11:30 a.m.
– Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
– National Ministries.org
– National Visionary Leadership Project
St. John Missionary Baptist Church is presently accepting applications of the position of Senior Pastor. St. John is a multi-cultural family focused body of believers with 1000 plus members who gather with a purpose to both glorify God and to reach the redeemable. Please select link below with instructions:
Please see the link below:
Metropolitan Baptist Church – Detroit, MI
|We are seeking a pastor who meets the following minimum requirements:
Duties of the Pastor (are included but not limited to the following:
Interested candidates should return:
All materials must be included to make up complete packet. Incomplete packets will not be accepted.
Submit completed packet only to:
Deadline for Application Packet: April 30, 2015
Final candidates must consent to reference checks, educational credential verification, a criminal history background check, a drug test, and may be subject to a credit check or a financial history review. All information will be treated as confidential. (Background checks will be performed by an outside agency to ensure complete confidentiality.)
Salary – Contractor under $50K
Vacant Pulpit: Christian Fellowship of Love Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan (Deadline: May 29, 2015)
Christian Fellowship of Love Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan, established in 2006, is seeking a spirit filled licensed ordained Baptist Minister to serve as a full time Pastor for our congregation. Please refer to the link below for the application package.
Please see the Pastoral Announcement and Application below:
by Robert Earl Houston
We are asking members, partners and supporters of this ministry to assist in the undertaking of an initiative called Project G650. The mission of Project G650 is to acquire a Gulfstream G650 airplane so that Pastors Creflo and Taffi and World Changers Church International can continue to blanket the globe with the Gospel of grace. We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality–and allow us to retire the aircraft that served us well for many years. (The Huffington Post)
I have been watching the discussion, jokes, and expert opinions about Dr. Creflo Dollar’s (Pastor of the World Changers Church International in the Atlanta area) request for money to buy a top of the line jet. I think that the problem that many have with it is not necessarily the need for a plane – it’s a plane of that order and that type. What was probably a great idea in a planning and creative session (which mega ministries have) backfired because somebody either didn’t say or was overruled in the wisdom of putting this down on video and letter to ask for a first class jet that only the super-rich possess.
The downside of this has become all of the chatter, criticism and last night during The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, one of the ministers of the television reality show, “The Preachers of Detroit” greatly rebuked Dollar and the panel basically made it sound like the poor was being pressured into giving – when the truth is that poor folk aren’t the only ones who give to his (or any other mega ministry) because he clearly said it was sent to his congregation AND his worldwide donors list, which meant these were the people who had already been giving.
This debacle has made the words “those preachers” become inclusive of most of us who don’t drive or own luxury cars, live in fancy homes or have congregations that pay us six or seven figure salaries. Most of us struggle, to be honest. Those of us who went to school haven’t gotten the appropriate amount of pay for school nor experience. Most of us deal with established boards who come to the table not with the spirit of the pastor’s vision, but their own brand of division. Not to mention a spirit of suicide that erupted in the Body of Christ last year which saw several pastors (none of those who pastored megachurches) end their lives tragically.
I’m saddened by all of this, without a doubt. It’s been a long time since Jim and Tammy Bakker and other financial excesses have been public fodder. So, please forgive me if I don’t join in the chorus of those who are joyfully exploiting this situation with suspect glee – it’s saddening and disappointing on many, many levels. Since the public outcry, the campaign has been cancelled.
A friend of mine, Bishop Victor Couzens of Cincinnati, Ohio recently went on a missions trip. Packed his bags and shared the gospel with those who are struggling in life. Upon his preparation to return to the States, he heard the voice of the Lord, and all of the clothing and possessions he brought with him to Kenya – and to leave it all to those in the village and he literally returned home with nothing but the clothes on his back. The people of that area gave him a Maasai name: “Lemaylan” – which means “the one who is blessed to be blessed.”
I choose to serve so that I too will be called “Lemayla.”
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED
Vacant Position: General Secretary of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., Washington, DC
The Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. has opened a search for a full-time General Secretary.
Interested parties are invited to apply by submitting a cover letter, resume and a completed application.
The search will be open from March 16, 2015 until April 30, 2015. Applications may be submitted electronically or by mail.
Please email your cover letter and completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or mail to:
C/O Girton-Mitchell Associates P.O. Box 4992
Silver Spring, MD 20914
Applications will be screened by the search committee and finalists will be invited to an interview by the search committee.
The search committee plans to hold interviews during the month of June. The application packet is available online at http://www.PNBC.org
Instructions for completing the application
In order to complete the 2015 PNBC Application Packet:
A) Print it and fill it out by hand, or
B) Complete it electronically by using a version of Adobe Acrobat or a compatible program that allows the PDF to be fillable. Most versions of Adobe Reader (or equivalent software) are not sufficient to complete the PDF form, but only to read the form. Additionally, most iPad’s and mobile devices are not customized for PDF Filler software (such as Adobe Acrobat), so if you plan to complete the form electronically, it may be more feasible to do so on a laptop or desktop computer.