Vacant Pulpits – Kentucky (Various Closure Dates)


The Park Ridge Baptist Church, Sparta, Kentucky (a small rural congregation) is now accepting resumes to fill the position of Pastor. A successful candidate must meet the following qualifications: Be a born again believer in Jesus Christ, and must be guided by Biblical principles set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Send resumes to: Pulpit Committee, Park Ridge Baptist Church, c/o 4229 Arbor Court, Independence, KY 41051.  Resumes will be accepted until November 17, 2014.  The church will not be responsible for travel expenses.


Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church is seeking a God-called, ordained baptist pastor to edify through God’s Holy Word and to direct our congregation by divine example, strong leadership abilities, and Scriptural teaching. Submit the candidate package by mail to: Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Pastor Search Committee, PO Box 8496, Paducah, Kentucky 42002.  Deadline for submission is November 30, 2014. Candidate package must contain: (1) Current resume including summary of relevant ministry, professional and educational experience; (2) Copy of Ministerial License, Ordination Certificate and Degrees; (3) Three Recommendation Letters: Two from fellow clergy and one personal.

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Vacant Pulpit: Union Baptist Church, Easton, MD (Deadline: November 30, 2014)

Church Profile

UNION BAPTIST CHURCH 233 Glenwood Avenue Easton, Maryland 21601

Union Baptist Church officially organized itself in 1887. The mission statement is: The Union Baptist Church, in seeking to glorify God in everything it does, will provide a foundation for Christian development and growth, and a foundation for the enhancement of Christian maturity. We therefore, will strive to proclaim the Gospel to all people through Christian teachings and living, planning and training our local congregation as well as the community. We further proclaim to build and maintain reciprocal relationships with other Christian churches and community organizations.

Pastoral Vacancy Announcement *revised*


Candidates must possess at least a Master of Divinity or Theology degree from an accredited theological seminary and have at least six (6) years of pastoral experience or significant related experience which includes experience in church administration (e.g., Assistant Pastor, Executive Pastor, Associate Minister). Candidates must also be licensed and ordained in the Baptist church. Candidates must be Holy Ghost filled and guided by the Biblical principles set forth in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Candidates must have a passion for discipleship and mentoring individuals, families and the congregation as a whole. Candidates’ personal character and financial standing must be above reproach both inside and outside the church.

Candidates must be an effective communicator and demonstrate the ability to prepare and deliver biblically sound, stimulating and spirit-filled sermons. Candidates should also have a demonstrated aptness for Bible-based teaching: have strong interpersonal skills; be approachable; and demonstrate inclusiveness for all demographics of the congregation. In addition, candidates must be able to spiritually counsel members of the congregation; be proficient in the use of technology; and be open to new ideas.

The successful candidate will have a vision for growing church membership that is both educated in the Word of God and strong in relationship with Christ, particularly a vision, commitment and experience for increasing the numbers and spiritual development of youth and young adults in the congregation. The successful candidate will also have a proven record as a skilled administrator and manager of church staff and programs. In addition, the successful candidate will have a proven record of developing leaders. Finally, the successful candidate will have a commitment to Christian Education and a zeal for missions and evangelism.

Application Process

Required Documents

All interested and qualified persons must submit an Application Packet consisting of the following information:

  1. A current resume or curriculum vitae which should include a summary of relevant ministry professional and educational experiences;
  2. Copies of any ministerial licenses;
  3. Copies of any ordination certificates;
  4. Copies of diplomas and degrees
  5. Three (3) current letters of reference
    1. one from clergy
    2. one from a layperson
    3. one from personal friend/acquaintance

Candidates may be asked to submit two videoed sermons at some point during the application process. The Pulpit Committee will formally request videos, if needed.

Application Period

Applications must be postmarked by November 30, 2014. Any application received after this date will not be considered. NOTE: Missing information may result in automatic disqualification. Final candidates must consent to a reference check, a full background check including criminal history, a drug test, and a credit check. The background check will be performed by an outside agency for complete confidentiality. All information submitted will be considered “confidential” and For Official Use Only.


Submit completed application documents to:

Union Baptist Church Attn: Sis. Rose Potter 233 Glenwood Avenue Easton, Maryland 21601

Pastoral Responsibilities

Pastoral responsibilities include duties in the follow: Worship Services

  •   Preaching (Preach the gospel by preparing and delivering relevant, spirit-filled sermons)
  •   Worship Leadership (Plan and conduct worship services)
  •   Administration of the Holy Ordinances (Baptism and Communion)
  •   Officiate at weddings, funerals, baby dedications, etc.

    Teaching Role

  •   Teaching (Bible study, membership classes, seminars, and other Christian Education training)
  •   Training church leaders
  •   Evangelistic, ethical or discipleship concerns and issues
  •   Pre-marital/Marital counseling of church members

    Pastoral Care

  •   Spiritual counseling of church members
  •   Visitation (Evangelism)
  •   Minister to sick/shut in and bereaved church members (homes, hospitals, nursing

    homes) Administration

  •   Serve as the chief officer of the church, carrying out, with church officers, the policies and mandates duly approved by the congregation
  •   Serve as moderator of church business meetings except in meetings where the tenure of the pastor is discussed
  •   Serve as ex-officio member of all ministries, committees, and organizations of the church
  •   Collaborate Church Council with the to lead the congregation in developing a comprehensive business operation plan for the church
  •   Develop and implement a strategic plan for healthy church growth, to include among other things, spiritual growth, membership growth, financial growth and facility growth
  •   Supervise, mentor and prepare written annual evaluations of the paid church staff along with the trustees
  •   Possess a demonstrated commitment to corporate social responsibility

 Demonstrate financial awareness and responsibility Worship

 Leads the congregation with an attitude and lifestyle of worship through o Preaching and teaching God’s Word
o Evangelism outreach
o Music and praise

o Commitment to marriage and family
o Building relationships
o Dedication to prayer
o Integrity in the workplace and in all things for the Glory of God


 Equips the saints for acts of service, evangelism, and discipleship training; recognizes the gifts and talents of the church body; actively promotes opportunities to share the gospel with the unsaved and to grow all believers to maturity in Christ.


 Works with and guides existing church staff; delegates responsibilities appropriately; works collaboratively with and encourages the efforts of the church boards, committees, ministries to successfully function as a church body; does not micromanage; strong and effective communicator; strong organizational skills, embraces and leverages technology as a tool for administration and effective ministry.

Personal Character

 Is a role model; maintains the highest standard for ethical conduct and integrity; transparent; willing to admit failures; a living example; demonstrates good stewardship in managing personal finances.

Pastoral Profile

Experience: A licensed or ordained minister holding to Baptist teachings; six years or more of senior pastoral experience is required; significant related experience which includes experiences in church administration (e.g., Assistant Pastor, Executive Pastor, Associate Minister); the applicant’s education must include at least a Master of Divinity or Theology from an accredited theological seminary.

Preaching: Preaches with an emphasis on exegetical/expository preaching with a sound, unwavering commitment to the Word of God; carefully guards the pulpit entrusted to him from strange doctrines and worldly thinking; preaches the whole counsel of God, not for personal agendas, political correctness, nor fear of man’s opinions.

Teaching: Emphasizing Christian Education has a demonstrated aptness for Bible-based teaching; leads and teaches stimulating Bible studies, classes and seminars.

Leadership: Leads by biblical example and lifestyle, putting God first, family, and church family; eager to serve with humility; has a teachable spirit, and sees oneself as an equal part of the body of Christ under His headship – first among equals.

Shepherding: Considers the needs of the entire church; watches over the flock; guards the church body from false teachings, and secular ideas; encourages and reaches out to all members of the church family regardless of age or gender or race; works to bridge generational gaps; promotes a spirit of unity and of love among all members of the body.

Pastoral Counseling: Gives sound, biblical counsel, advice, and guidance; encourages mature believers in the faith to assist with counseling opportunities through various ministries and outreach opportunities.

Prayer: Prays dedicatedly for the saints and encourages a lifestyle of prayer; is committed to both public prayer (congregational/small group outreach) and private prayer (with spouse and children/personal alone time); leads by example.

Outreach/Evangelism: Is committed to making an impact on the surrounding communities and then throughout all the earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ, with various ministries, missions and outreach opportunities.

Vision: Understands the strengths and weaknesses of the church family; learns from past successes and failures; recognizes the gifts, talents, and faithfulness of its members; builds upon the biblical principles and standards which have endured for generations in order to cast a vision for the future of God’s people at Union Baptist Church.

Fellowship: Actively encourages and promotes both intra-and interchurch fellowship with those of like faith (not necessarily of like denomination).

Vacant Pulpit: Central Baptist Church, Denver, CO (Deadline January 30, 2015)

Central Baptist Church

“The Church Where Everybody Is Somebody”

2400 California Street Denver, CO 80205

Senior Pastor Position Available

Sis. Lois Y. Johnson: Chairperson 2400 California Street
Denver, CO 80205 303-388-1246

Deacon Michael Griffin: Co-Chairperson 2400 California Street
Denver, CO 80205

Congregation Size: 400; Active Members: 200 Denomination: National Baptist USA Participation: Active

About Us: Central Baptist Church is a 123 year old Landmark located in the Historic Five Points Community, Denver’s first predominantly African-American neighborhood. This dynamic neighborhood is currently experiencing a period of resurgence and revitalization, creating new housing and business opportunities which maximize its near downtown Denver location.

Central serves as a Beacon of Hope and Salvation for this immediate community, the city of Denver, the State of Colorado and beyond.

Through the efforts of the Church leadership and the very dedicated and loyal membership, Central embarked upon a long range building project in 2004. This plan included the purchasing of the remaining city block of 2400 to 2500 California Street. In addition, this long range plan includes the retention and renovation of the old Historical Sanctuary. The first phase of the project was completed in September 2006.

Generally, the Church enjoys a dynamic, progressive Sunday School and worship service each Sunday. Our Deacon and Deaconess Ministries capitalize on the Holy Spirit already present in each member, setting the tone for the divine inspired message to come. All of our services are accompanied by a spirit filled melodious Mass Choir, Male Chorus, or Youth\Children Choir on their respective Sundays to serve, under the Direction of a very talented Minister of Music.

Our congregation is comprised of many long time, loyal and committed Christians. It’s a diverse educational, socio-economical membership\audience that includes youth, young adults, singles and many families. They are hardworking, loyal, unique, eager to learn, and determined to serve our extended communities through various ministries.

One of our Associate Ministers currently serves as the Interim Pastor. There is also a part time Administrative Assistant on Staff.

Senior Pastor Qualification:

  •   Spiritually Gifted
  •   Excellent Communicator
  •   Quality People Skills
  •   Called by God (Confirmed from other believers)
  •   Fulfills Scriptural description of qualifications as written in (Timothy 3:1-7 & Titus 1:6-

    9) and other Biblical References.

  •   Ordained
  •   Minimum 5 years of ministerial/pastoral experience
  •   Demonstrates the epitome of moral integrity: models and lives it daily
  •   Agrees with the constitutions and by-laws of Central Baptist Church

    The Senior Pastor shall be instrumental in facilitating the development of Church Ministries and program including but not limited to Youth Ministries.

    The Senior Pastor is mutually accountable to the official boards and serves at the pleasure of the congregation. The Senior Pastor will lead and encourage the execution of God’s vision, mission and goals for the Church. Formal preaching, teaching and personal relations will facilitate the delivery of the Gospel message.

    All interested persons, please respond by: January 30, 2015.

Vacant Pulpit – Second Missionary Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN (Deadline: December 1, 2014)

The Pulpit Committee of Second Missionary Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN is prayerfully seeking a full-time Senior Pastor called by God to serve as the spiritual leader of the congregation. Our Church is committed to fulfill our purpose, which is the enhancement and advancement of the Kingdom of God through worship, preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, evangelism, missionary endeavors, teaching of sound Baptist doctrine, engaging in pastoral care, Christian education, and Church ministries. The church profile, job description and application are located on website under Pulpit Committee.  The requested information must be postmarked by December 1, 2014.  If you have any questions, please send an email to

Vacant Pulpit – New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, Louisville, KY (Deadline November 30, 2014)

New Covenant Baptist Church, P.O. 11147, Louisville, KY 40251

New Covenant Baptist Church now accepting resumes to fill the position of Pastor.

New Covenant Baptist is seeking an ordained preacher / teacher to fill the position of pastor.

All travel and lodging expenses will be the responsibility of the candidate.   

Please send resumes and letter of interest to: New Covenant Baptist Church
Attn: Pastoral Search Committee P.O. Box 11147, Louisville KY 40251.

“Resumes and letter of interest must be postmarked by November 30, 2014”.

The Rubber Band Church

Houston08282013by Robert Earl Houston

One of the greatest frustrations of newly called pastors is what I have termed is the Rubber Band Church.

Often times Pastors come in with different expectations and anticipations than the congregation that has called them. After pastoring over 25 years, I have discovered that churches will adapt to the vision of the Lord through the Pastor with great success or they will snap back and return to their original form which is the Rubber Band Church.

Recently a young pastor reached out to me. He has been at his church 18 months and the church and is frustrated that “they haven’t changed.” He ranted and raved for 30 minutes and then I said to him that churches have a center core. They have certain practices and belief systems that are at their core. You can stretch them or try to stretch them or suggest that they stretch – but at the end of the day (and this is non-denominational), a church will return to it’s center.

That is applicable even during a pastoral change of leadership. How well I remember leaving my former congregation in San Diego. For months, I sat in the audience with my deacons because I was tired of being the focus of attention. I am primarily a worshiper. I wanted  to worship without every eye of support, criticism or ambivalence staring at me. I resigned on a Sunday morning, came down to the office to clear my office on a Monday and peeked into the sanctuary, and those chairs that I had removed miraculously and mysteriously reappeared. Chairs in a pulpit were a part of that church’s center core.

I’m not suggesting it’s always a bad thing because all churches need to have core beliefs. The Word of God should never be compromised; Preaching and Teaching the Gospel should never be rebuked; Serving each other and the community should be resident within a congregation. However, brother and sister pastor, they are some things that will always bounce back to center and become part of the lore of that congregation.

Whether it’s a name change or location change or change of worship or change of structure – some churches will eradicate change made by a leader to “get us back where we belong.” It’s akin to the GOP mantra of “taking back our country.”

Three things to be careful of:

1.  Make sure that you are stretching the congregation because of the Lord and not because of an agenda. Keeping up with the Joneses is a poor excuse for stretching a congregation.

2.  Make sure that you have a firm grip on the process. One of the most painful experiences can occur when you stretch a congregation (rubber band) and then it slips and you get with the force of the rubber band.

3.  Make sure that when you stretch make sure that the vision for it is compatible with the amount of effort you’ll be exercising. Never put out great energy for minute projects.

I pray for that pastors and leaders who are challenging their congregations to go beyond boxes, limits and paradigms. And may the church follow and not grudgingly stay in place like a rubber band that will not yield.


Congratulations to Westwood Baptist Church, University Center!

by Robert Earl Houston

westwoodOn this past Sunday, October 26, 2014, I had the joy of going back to my adopted church home, the Westwood Baptist Church, University Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where Minister Barton Elliott Harris is the senior pastor, as they celebrated their 94th Church Anniversary.

Jessica and I were joined by the people of First Baptist Church, Frankfort, KY, who made the trip from Frankfort to Nashville and what a time we had! In worship, the Men of Praise of FBC sang and the WBCUC Fruit of the Spirit dance ministry performed. The Spirit of the Lord was, as the saints of old used to say, “was high” and from Praise to Worship to Benediction, God’s spirit was moving. The Lord “was kind” to the preaching moment. I preached from Revelation 3:8 with the subject, “The Doors of the Church are Open.” God blessed Westwood with the addition of two new members. God be praised!

I have a very special warm spot in my heart for Pastor Harris and Westwood. After pastoring on the West Coast for over 15 years and experiencing a painful, wounding transition in ministry, it was this pastor and congregation that ministered me back to spiritual health. I became introduced to Westwood by one of their associate ministers, Minister Brian K. Wilkins, who knew me through my internet ministry. At the time he was over the Men’s Ministry and they brought me in to do a Men’s Revival during the summer of 2005. After preaching there for a weekend, Pastor Harris called me to ask me to come back and preach for their Church Anniversary.

IMG_1283During the call he extended to me the idea of becoming his second full-time assistant pastor. My job description was complimentary to the other assistant pastor and he flew me to Nashville to discuss the matter face to face. At the conclusion of our meeting and after prayer, I agreed to accept his gracious offer and as of October 1, 2005, I began my ministry as Assistant Pastor of Westwood Baptist Church, University Center – my first time living somewhere other than the west coast.

Admittedly, it was a culture shock. People from the south take church differently than on the west coast. I had never been a part of what was a literally 7 day a week congregation. Every morning at 6:15 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., prayer was held at the altar. I had never seen such a large Vacation Bible School and seen the kind of planning and investment. I had never witnessed a pastor who was comfortable in his skin to share his pulpit with two assistant pastors and a plethora of associate ministers. It was a teaching and learning environment and I learned more about pastoring in four years than I had ever in my life.

Pastor and First Lady Carolyn Harris modeled what a Christian marriage looks like and it made a tremendous impact upon me and my wife, Jessica. Jessica and I were engaged during the summer of 2005 and while we were making wedding plans, I was candidating at congregations in Richmond, CA, Oakland, CA, and Stockton, CA – however, God had other plans for us and after I had driven/moved across country to Nashville, I flew back to California for the wedding on October 22 and after our honeymoon in Reno, Nevada, we flew to begin our new life in Nashville.

I was faithful at Westwood. Never complained publicly. Never took issue with leadership, because I knew the secret of leadership – a leader follows and then becomes a leader. Pastor Harris gave me tremendous opportunities. He entrusted me with the Mid-Week Adult Bible Study (after 100 students in the class), the Young Adult Sunday School class, VBS (photographer), Graphic Art flyers, leadership of the Men’s Ministry, leadership of the Evangelism Ministry (and we set a record by the help of the Lord and He added 100 new members), and then finally, I became the music director for the Men of Praise Choir, which grew from a handful to a choir stand full. I enjoyed the MOP and we rehearsed every Wednesday evening after Bible Study. I consider these men my dear friends even to this day.

Westwood was organized in 1920 in a small storefront building  on the corner of an alley between Albion and Alameda Streets at 26th Avenue North.  As they grew, they called their first pastor, Rev. James Tunstill in 1920. A succession of pastors followed including Rev. S.M. Wright (1922-1924), Rev. J.H. Lawrence (1925-1928), and then the church proposed under the leadership of Rev. Ambrose Bennett, who was a major religious and civic leader in Nashville.  After his passing two American Baptist Theological Seminary students served – Rev. W.O. Wells (1957-1959) and Rev. Alphonso R. Blake (1959-1960). Rev. George W. Brown (1961-1965), Rev. J.W. Watkins (1965-1969), and Dr. Amos Jones (1969-1986), who led the church in acquiring properties, revolutionaztion of Christian Education and Missions, and building its current edifice.

On December 1, 1987, Pastor Harris returned to Nashville from Boston, MA, to become the current pastor. He was reared, baptized, licensed, ordained and married at Westwood. Under his steady and prayerful leadership, Westwood has grown exponentially. Now Westwood is a major landowner in North Nashville, having purchased 20 different properties and currently rents 22 units inclusive of homes, duplexes, and apartments. The Church has expended its physical plant to include the West (Brick) Annex (where my old office was located), the East (White) Annex and the Youth Annex – each housing offices, classrooms and meeting rooms.

Westwood has completed 94 years. There are continual plans for modernization and what I learned most of all at Westwood was to continually evolve. They taught me that hard times and difficult days should never stunt your growth, but enhance it.

Happy Anniversary Westwood!

Houston, You Really Have a Problem

by Robert Earl Houston

I thought it was a really stupid joke.

Many of us, who first heard of this through the medium of social media (because you only hear about ebola on my major cable news outlets) passed a gem on, initially, that said that the Mayor of Houston, Texas, Annise Parker,  had subpoenaed sermons from four pastors regarding sermons, preached across their respective pulpits, on the subjects of homosexuality, gender identity or on the mayor herself. Further, that any of those ministers who failed to comply could be held in contempt of court.

I thought it was a faux Fox News Story. I look at Fox News like I look at a fun house. Lots of clowns, shooting canons and mirrors, and of course, all anti-Obama all the time news coverage. When I saw Fox News’ brand on the report, I dismissed it as a gag and joke. But then, more of us started digging into the story and found out – it was true.

The subpoena was the result of a lawsuit filed by Pastors Jared Woodfill, Steven F. Hotze, F.N. Williams, Sr. and Max Miller against the Mayor, the City Secretary (Anna Russell) and the City of Houston. The subpoenas target five pastors in Houston – Pastors David Welch, Steve Riggle, Khan Huynh, Magda Hermida, and Hernan Castano. The lawsuit was filed due to their opposition to an ordinance known as HERO (Houston for Equal Rights Ordinance” which bans discrimination among businesses that serve the public, private employers, in housing and in city employment and city contracting. A petition drive was enacted (17,269 signatures were required for ballot approval and 50,000 signatures were submitted) and the city ruled thousands of signatures ineligible and did not place the contesting item on the ballot, triggering the suit by the ministers.

Oddly, the law firm representing the mayor, in preparation for the January 2015 court case, issued a subpoena requesting all types of items (see the link), but it is item # 12 that has created a firestorm:

“12.  All speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

This is wrong on so many levels. First off, there is no precedent in American Jurisprudence that allows a municipality to sue or contest a congregation or a pastor on the basis of their speech. I will agree that some pastors are loose canons or suffer from preaching a gospel that is not in print – HOWEVER, even dumb speech in this country is protected speech. Even speech that I may not agree with still is protected by our U.S. Constitution, which gives no authority to a Mayor to subpoena SERMONS.

This seems, to me, to be extra-constitutional. The outcry from Pastors and Ministers across the country is defeaning (oddly, I’m yet to hear or read of any official statements from any of African-American Christian conventions, although at least two of the suing ministers are black and baptist).

The right to preach is sacred in this country. This nation which has produced orators, revivalists, prophets, and encouragers has also produced crazies, idiots, flimflam artists, bigots in robes, as well. However, it is all protected free-speech. I may not agree with what you have to say, but I have to understand that you have the right, if it’s your pulpit, to espouse it. It may not be pretty, but it’s how things are done in this nation.

The Mayor has been doing spin control. But this may be too little, too late. She began to blame her opponents for the broad original language to “deliberately misinterpret the city’s intent.” City Attorney David Feldman called it “a media circus.” But in this case, the circus did not come to town, the city by subpoena, brought the town to the circus.

This post is not to comment upon the HERO ordinance. (I don’t live in Houston, I live in Kentucky) No, my goal is to enlighten and condemn the city of Houston for coming after ministers and demanding their sermons. Religious beliefs are protected beliefs, even when they are considered anti-government. Our own Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Dr. William Augustus Jones, and other ministers rallied against policies of the government including war, poverty, racism, etc., but not once was a city municipality so stupid to request copies of their sermons, as if to send out a “warning shot” to other ministers, don’t try this in your pulpits. It may not be the intent, but it is the appearance.

On Friday, Mayor Parked announced that the city (these are attorneys that are contracted) had refiled its subpoenas. On twitter she wrote: “City just refiled subpoenas in #HERO. Clarified our intent. No mention of sermons. All about petition process instructions. Never intended to interfere w/pastors & their sermons or an intrusion on religion. Our discovery motion now clearly focused on petition.”

Too much.
Too little.
Too late.


The Case of the Missing Associate Minister

by Robert Earl Houston

I have had the joy of having one or two associate ministers to over 15 at one time. It’s like being a coach, advisor, and air traffic controller at the same time. Right now I have four active associate ministers and one of them is preaching at several churches this month, with my blessing, because I know that over the past five years, he has been faithful in his attendance at the church where I serve and he’s traveling with my prayers and spiritual support.

There is something amiss with an associate minister who is gone all of the time – especially in those crucial developmental years – the first three. Let me relay a story to you. I had just finished my first sermon in April 1978 and saw my “grandfather in the ministry” (my pastor’s pastor) the late Dr. C.E. Williams, pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church of Seattle, in Tacoma, Washington at our General Baptist Convention of the Northwest Spring Board Meeting. He asked me how my first sermon went and I told him, and then I pulled out a sheet of paper showing all of the churches I planned to visit and fellowship with since “I’s a preacher now.”

I had on that list I was going to visit several churches in the city, churches in Seattle, Tacoma, Walla Walla, Boise, Spokane, Pastor, and of course, his church. Dr. Williams, who I deeply respected and loved dearly, stood there gnawing on a toothpick, as was his custom. I gave him the grand presentation of the list and he looked up (he was about 5’8″ and I’m 6’2″) and said “are you done?” I said “yes sir.” He proceeded to share a few choice, harsh words with me and basically said, “You need to keep your crazy behind at home.” He walked away. My pastor was sitting in the car and I was riding with him. I came to the car in tears running down my face. He looked at me and said “Doc gave you the speech didn’t he?” I said “Excuse me?” He said, “He gave me the same speech years ago.”

My pastor was a gifted singer. He was young in his 20s and Rev. A. Bernard Devers had joined the Electrifying Mighty Warriors of Seattle. He quickly became one of the lead singers and even produced and was featured on two albums. He came to church one Sunday after being gone for several weeks and Pastor Williams kicked him out of the office. His words to my pastor were chilling – “when you decide if you were called to preach, you can come back.”

That’s when I learned the value of staying home.

One of the best things that ever happened to me was that encounter with Dr. Williams. I had to have someone who cared for me to tell me, straight up, that an associate minister is in the incubator of ministry. You haven’t arrived and you really don’t know your way around the pulpit or preaching ministry just because you preached one sermon. That first sermon is that – it’s first, but if you intend to preach again, it takes the humility of submission to a pastor to validate the learning process.

I saw my pastor deal with a multiplicity of issues, events and actions that I would have never learned on the road. Sometimes, I admit, I was chomping at the bit to preach, but my first ministry as an associate is to be an apprentice. To learn, to hear, to accept, to be challenged, to be stretched and to learn by observation.

I’m afraid of this new crop of preachers that preach one sermon and they are out on the road doing something else. Your job is not to go support another associate minister preaching, visit other churches, establish your own ministry, pass out business cards and start networking. You need to develop a Kizzy Spirit (from the Roots series. Kizzy means “stay put”). You can lose valuable insight and preaching opportunities because you’re never at home.

Again, I have a group of associates that I’m very proud of. This current group is consistently there. When they are out, it’s generally for reasons of illness and not “looking around” or “making themselves a name.” That will come with time. I strongly believe that the reason I was candidating for congregations to consider me as Pastor at the age of 18 was because I thought it not robbery to stay under my pastor’s wings and “learn of him.” I learned that I didn’t want to be singer who happens to preach or a musician who happens to preach. I wanted to be a preacher who happens to sing or play an instrument. 

Remember, there is a benefit in staying home.


Homegoing of a Saint – Dr. G. Thomas Turner, Columbus, OH (2nd Updated 10/16/14)

by Robert Earl Houston
Updated October 10, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 10.58.27 AMCOLUMBUS, OHIO – One of Columbus’ senior sages has entered into eternal rest on Tuesday. The Reverend Dr. G. Thomas Turner, pastor of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church went home to be with the Lord on October 7, 2014. He was born on Christmas Day, Friday, December 25, 1936 and passed away at the age of 77.

Dr. Turner was the third pastor of the Friendship church in the 92 year history of the congregation. He pastored there for over 41 years, after being called in September of 1973. His grandparents had served in the church – his grandfather was Deacon John Martin and his grandmother was Sis. Susie Martin, a faithful member of the Missionary Society.

Under his leadership, the congregation experienced tremendous growth, most notable are the souls won to Christ. He led them in erecting a new church edifice in which the Friendship family entered in March of 1984. Just 9 years later, he led the congregation in liquidation of the mortgage.

turner g thomasIn 1995, they expanded the church edifice by adding a balcony, an educational wing, enlarged the parking area, and opened the Friendship Christian Learning Center, a daycare center serving the entire community.

Dr. Turner was active in denominational work. He supported the Ohio Baptist General Association, the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, and was a stalwart and one of the original founders of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. Under the administration of Dr. Melvin Von Wade’s presidency, the trend-setting Early Morning Prayer Service was created and Dr. Turner was appointed to lead the entire convention in prayer and praise. His model endures to this day and has spread to various national, state and district levels.

During his leadership of that hour, it was not unusual to see people standing in the outer hallways because they could not fit inside of the service. He introduced the Convention to songs that had been forgotten in the modern era with pep and energy. His signature song became, “It Could Have Been The Other Way.”

Dr. Turner was a supporter and former board member of the National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress and during the Parade Day it was not unusual to see him dressed in all white with a matching straw hat.

Most of all he was a worshipper. He was bapticostal before the name became popular. He was old school but he was a praiser and a dancer before the Lord. A very strong theologian and yet in the hallway he had a wry sense of humor. Many of us remember him walking away from a discussion, waving his hands and saying, “shoot . . .”  He didn’t just go to a convention and hang out. He was in every session and encouraging others to do so as well. He was beloved in the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America.

He leaves to mourn his homegoing his beloved wife, Dr. Robert Turner, his son, George, Jr. and his daughter, Patrice.

We regret to inform you that Pastor G. Thomas Turner, Sr., B Th., L.H.D., D.D., the esteemed pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church for 41 years, passed away this morning.

Pastor Turner was a spiritual icon recognized globally for his dedicated work in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Arrangements are pending. Please continue to pray for his wife Dr. Roberta Turner, their son George, Jr., their daughter, Dr. Patrice Turner, grandson, Seth and the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church family.

For further information, please contact Marcia Brown, Church Secretary at 614-279-0008, fax # 614-279-0424, email address,

1775 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43223

Moody Dubenion, Chairman, Deacon Board

Preston Stearns, Chairman, Trustee Board

Dr. Turner’s own words speak volumes: Click Here (from his church website).





Dr. G. Thomas Turner, Sr., pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church
Born: December 25, 1936
Died: October 8, 2014

Note regarding service: Remains will be in sanctuary and no public viewing is planned.


Pastor G. Thomas Turner, Sr., age 77, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, passed on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at Mount Carmel East Hospital. He was born in Columbus, Ohio on December 25, 1936. He received his formal education from the Columbus Public School System and was a graduate of the East High School January class of 1955. During his high school years, he was a member of the track team and held records in the mile relay and 880 relay where the team won District and City championships. Pastor Turner earned his Bachelor of Theology degree from Virginia Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Virginia; an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Baltimore College of the Bible, Baltimore, Maryland; and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Seminary. Also, he attended Capital University, Columbus, Ohio and Shenandoah Bible College, Roanoke, Virginia. He was a former President and Board Member of Isabelle Ridgeway Nursing Center; an instructor in the National Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress; Board Member of the Lott Carey Foreign Missions Convention; a former Moderator of the Eastern Union Missionary Baptist Association and Auxiliaries, Inc.; a former Member of the Board of Directors of the R.H. Boyd Corporation and National Baptist Publishing Board; a founding member of The Brothers of the Common Life where he was referred to as “Dean”; and he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia in February 1992. His pastoral experiences included: Macedonia Baptist Church, Cambridge, Ohio; Ebenezer Baptist Church, Kingston, Virginia; Mount Shiloh Baptist Church, Monroe, Virginia; First Baptist Church, Hollins, Virginia; and Maple Street Baptist Church, Roanoke, Virginia. His last pastorate was the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Columbus, Ohio for 41 years. Pastor Turner was an avid sports fan and financial supporter of The Ohio State University Athletics Program. He was also a fan of the Cleveland Browns, the Boston Celtics, and the New York Yankees. Pastor Turner is survived by his loving and devoted wife of almost 53 years, Roberta F. Turner, Ph.D.; son, George T. Turner, Jr.; daughter, Patrice E. Turner, Ed.D.; grandson, Seth; sister, Martha (Richard) Harmon; niece,Trina (John) Branham; nephew, Gary (Tracy) Harmon; many cousins; “special” children: Pat Dawkins and the Rev. Dr. Alyn (Dr. Ellyn) Waller; and the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church family.



by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.


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