by Robert Earl Houston
I want to share a few thoughts on the passing of the Rev. Dr. Clay Evans, pastor emeritus/founder of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago, IL, at the age of 94.
1) Dr. Evans inspired generations of churches, pastors, and musicians from his one pulpit via the mediums that are common place now – albums, recordings, TV, Radio . . . He proved that these mediums were nothing to fear but to be embraced. As a result, Fellowship’s pulpit was much larger and influential and he proved that gospel music – with authentic, meaningful lyrics – will never go out of style.
2) Dr. Evans was a mover and shaker in Chicago and beyond. His influence as a supporter of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. was admirable. He was often in settings where he represented the largest church, with the largest choir, often times with the largest budget – but his humility was something to behold. He didn’t walk with entourages – but he walked with the dignity of a great man of God. Doors opened to him as a result.
3) Dr. Evans was part of a family musical legacy – his brother, Pharis, preached revivals in my home town of Portland, Oregon; his sister, Lou Della, was one of the best choral arrangers and directors in her generation; his nephew, Wayne, is a fixture at GMWA and been a friend of mine well over 30 years. All of them espoused gospel music and each of them wrote it, sang it, played it, and never showed an ounce of jealousy or professional rivalry. He was cool enough that if you saw him in the hallway and said hello, he was polite enough to stop and engage you in a brief conversation.
4) Dr. Evans was a visionary. He brought in Rev. Charles Jenkins to succeed him and brought a new dimension to his beloved Fellowship. Rev. Jenkins, without a doubt, loved his pastor and that kind of father and son relationship is a model for pastors and those who follow after or currently follow their pastors today. Dr. Evans was WAY AHEAD of his time in crossing denominational and religious boundaries that others would not cross.
5) Finally, Dr. Evans was the quiet general. I think he understood that being a loud general was meaningless if you had nothing to back it up with. Dr. Evans was a multiple threat way before his time – a singer, a pray-er, a preacher, a writer, an arranger, a teacher, a lecturer, and on and on.
Mercy Seat and I are praying for Pastor Jenkins, Pastor-Elect Sharpe, the Evans Family, and his beloved Fellowship family. May his memory live on in our hearts.
Weekly Attendance: 700
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Vanderbloemen is honored to present this role. www.Vanderbloemen.com/jobs
The role: The Senior Pastor for New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church will be a visionary individual with a proven track record of high capacity leadership with ever increasing responsibility. They will be highly relational and able to work with church leadership, ministerial staff, and the congregation at large.
Meet New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church
In June of 1924, a few officers and members of Mount Beulah banded together and organized a church which they named Mount Lebanon Baptist Church. Two ministers worked together in the organization of the church. This small, faithful group of people purchased a lot at 20470 Wisconsin in Detroit. More people moved into the area, joined Mount Lebanon Baptist Church and the name was changed to First Baptist Church.
Reverend Charles B. Heath was called as pastor in the spring of 1939. Much was accomplished under Reverend Heath’s administration. Due to the fact that there were two churches in Detroit with the same name, Reverend Heath had the church change its name from First Baptist to New Prospect Baptist Church.
In early 1960, the church purchased the church at 6330 Pembroke. Reverend Heath pastored the church for 28 years until his death in 1967.
In early 1968, Reverend Dr. S. Leon Whitney from Jackson, Mississippi was called to lead New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church. Under his leadership, more property at the Pembroke location was obtained, and the facilities were expanded. There was much growth under Reverend Whitney until his death in 1989. Two other pastors served until March 1999.
On March 1, 1999, history was made in Detroit. Reverend Wilma Robena Johnson, a female Assistant Pastor at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, was elected Senior Pastor of New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church. Under Reverend Johnson’s leadership, the old sanctuary was remodeled and converted to administrative offices and multipurpose rooms. In 2009, construction was completed on a $7.5 million Light Center that included a worship chapel, library, bookstore, nursery, fine arts center, and classrooms. In addition to the physical footprint, the ministry footprint was broadened; the church partnered with a local elementary school to establish an afterschool program to provide tutoring and enrichment activities, provide monthly worship services and meals to residents at a low income housing complex; minister to senior citizens in three different nursing homes, and provide a monthly distribution of food to members of the community from the church’s food pantry. Other active ministries include Sunday School, Christian Education, Prison/Correction, Cancer Support, Bereavement and Hope Support, Children and Youth, Evangelism Outreach, Married Couples, and Seasoned Senior Citizens.
In 2016, God called Reverend Johnson home to her eternal reward after a long battle with cancer. She left a rich legacy of faith, godliness, and perseverance. New Prospect has since been led under the very capable leadership of its ministerial staff. We have now come to a new season of ministry and seek God’s will to find our next Senior Pastor.
The vision for the future is to strengthen our existing ministries and to be a church that provides programs and activities that address the needs of all groups, including baby boomers, Generation Xs, millennials, youth, children, and all others. New Prospect also desires to continue and strengthen their ongoing relationships with local community groups and organizations.
About the Senior Pastor
The ideal candidate will be spiritually mature and possess a passionate love for God, His Church, the community, and reaching the world for Jesus Christ. They must be a creative preacher/teacher, able to powerfully teach God’s Word, and have demonstrated ability to effectively connect people to Christ and the church.
They will develop and cast the mission, vision, and values of New Prospect and work with the ministry leaders to identify and align ministry strategies to fulfill the church’s mission to the community.
The Senior Pastor will:
- Encourage and promote a strong sense of unity and increasing spiritual health.
- Win the trust and respect of leaders and the congregation.
- Gain the trust and respect of the ministerial staff.
- Oversee metrics that will show demonstrated attendance increases.
- Promote and oversee increased financial support in all areas.
- Work with church leadership in developing a strategic plan for the foreseeable future.
- Cast new vision for church ministries, community outreach, numerical and spiritual growth.
- Encourage and assist Trustees, Deacons, Staff, and Congregation in accomplishing the mission.
- Be the spiritual and ecclesiastical leader of the Church responsible for preaching and teaching the gospel, administering the ordinances of baptism and Holy Communion and promoting its spiritual growth.
- Work with the leadership team to guide and direct the church in all other major matters.
- Jointly approve, with the leadership team and the Deacon Ministry, spiritual and doctrinal matters of the church, prior to their presentation to the church body.
- Supervise all church staff, administrative functions, church ministries, and pulpit functions.
- Plan and conduct Sunday worship services, conduct traditional weddings, funerals, memorials, revival services, church business meetings, etc.
- Represent the church at local Council of Baptist Pastors meetings.
- Represent the church at local, state, and national conventions.
- Select and approve the training of members to serve on the Trustee Ministry.
- Select members to serve on the Deacon Ministry.
- Provide training to and ordination of Deacons.
- Be responsible for the training, licensing, and ordination of Ministers as appropriate.
- Provide final approval of all ministry chairpersons.
- Serve as an ex officio member of all ministries and special committees with voting rights and privileges as warranted.
What you bring:
- Must have an undergraduate degree or higher from an accredited college or university, as well as a seminary degree from an- accredited school, college, or university.
- Must be licensed and ordained in accordance with Baptist Church principles and concepts.
- Must have a minimum of five years of experience as a Baptist Pastor, Associate Pastor, or Assistant to the Pastor.
- Possesses strong leadership skills.
- Is highly organizational and able to give guidance to all ministries.
- Is a highly effective communicator of God’s Word.
- Is acutely knowledgeable of doctrine and theology.
- Possesses a heart for the community and City of Detroit.
- Is involved with social justice issues as warranted.
- Possesses a shepherd’s heart for those attending New Prospect.
- Demonstrates high emotional intelligence and is highly relational – loves people.
Required competencies and characteristics for the position of Senior Pastor at New Prospect Baptist Church are as follows:
- Must be able to provide evidence of managing a team as well as proven administrative skills and abilities.
- Must have effective written and verbal communication skills with evidence of planning, teaching, and conducting worship services as well as teaching Bible study.
- Has a defined plan that emphasizes spiritual development, Christian education, and membership retention.
- Evidence of having developed programs and/or initiatives designed to integrate the participation of children, youth, and young adults in the life of the Church.
- Evidence of how you have or how you envision the use of modern technology to enhance the worship experience.
What it’s like to live in Detroit, Michigan:
Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the state of Michigan, the largest city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture, and design. Detroit is also known for Muscle cars, Motown, Techno music, a culture capital, foodie magnet, and trendsetting. Detroit is a tenacious, enduring, and persevering city long associated with industry and automobiles.
Detroit was noted as one of the top travel destinations in the world for – 2018, with the New York Times naming it one of the world’s top places to go in 2017, Detroit is capturing worldwide attention. The city’s rich musical and industrial heritage is more alive than ever before, mingling with an ever-expanding array of museums, performing arts, events, and international cuisine as considerable development in the city contributes to its growth and popularity
Vacant Pulpit: West Chestnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky (Deadline: Extended to 12/14/2019)
WEST CHESTNUT STREET BAPTIST CHURCH PASTORAL VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT CLOSING DATE: November 27, 2019
West Chestnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky is prayerfully seeking candidates to apply for the position of full-time Senior Pastor. West Chestnut is a historic church—133 years old—rich in family connections, community values, and the utmost trust and faith in God. We are looking for a pastor called by God and who exemplifies the characteristics outlined in 1Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-9 (NIV). We desire a candidate immersed in Biblical principles, models a strong prayer life, and practices scripture-based preaching.
SCOPE OF THE POSITION
DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
Must have 6-10 years of successful pastoral or church ministry experience.
HOW TO APPLY
Applicants should submit the following documents to be considered for this position:
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH 100 CLINTON STREET FRANKFORT, KY 40601 SEEKING PASTOR
First Baptist Church, Frankfort, KY is seeking to hire the next Pastor of this historic 186 year old African American Church located in the capital of Kentucky. First Baptist is affiliated with the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky. The successful candidate will be an ordained minister with success as a spiritual leader and preacher/teacher of the Word of God, the candidate must also have a minimum of six years of successful pastoral or church ministry experience. Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree from a four year accredited college or university (A master’s degree from an accredited theological seminary is preferred). Must be ordained in the Baptist church.
The Pastor will serve as our spiritual leader and have the primary responsibilities of preaching and teaching the Word of God engaging in Pastoral Core Ministries and providing administrative leadership in all areas of the church:
- Spiritual leader of the church
- Inspiring leader and motivator
- Leadership vision for the future of the church
- Compassionate communicator and listener
- Counselor for persons with personal/spiritual challenges
- Experience growing church membership at all age levels
- Informed decision maker
- Knowledgeable about technology
- Relationship builder inside the church and through community outreach
- Willing to affiliate with the Progressive National Baptist Convention
- Practice scripture based preaching
- Plan and conduct Sunday worship service, Sunday school and bible study
- Implement a vision for leading intergenerational ministries for children,
youth and adults
- Develop a total Christian Education program for all ministries of the Church
- Develop programs and strategies that contribute to the overall financial health of the church
- Supervise the general business of the church and its paid staff
- Preside over church business meetings
- Visit the sick and distressed members of the church
- Officiate weddings and funerals
- Counsel members in need
- Work collaboratively with/supports all church ministries
- Engage with other ministry leaders
- Conduct annual revivals
If you have been led by God to seek this position please complete our application by downloading it from our website: http://www.firstbaptistfrankfortky.com or by requesting it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Completed application with resume and cover letter can be sent by mail to Linda Robinson, Pastoral Search Committee, PO Box 131 Frankfort, KY 40602 or emailed to email@example.com
Deadline for submission of application packets February 28, 2020 at 11:59p.m. Eastern Time.
HOW TO APPLY
Applicants should submit the following documents to be considered for this position:
- Completed application
- Cover letter
- Copies of degrees, ministerial licenses, and certifications
- Current photograph
Please include your email address and telephone number in your cover letter or resume.
Upon request applicants will provide information and consent for:
- Three (3) letters of recommendation (clergy, layperson, and personal)
- Reference checks
- Background checks
- Educational/credential verification
- Sample sermon (CD, DVD, You Tube link, MP4. etc)
- Complete a Predictive Index assessment
All information submitted will be handled in a confidential manner. Questions? Email us to:
Application materials are to be mailed to: Mrs. Linda Robinson
Pastoral Search Committee P.O Box 131
Frankfort, KY 40602
APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
100 Clinton St. Frankfort, KY 40601 502.223.5152
Please download application at http://www.firstbaptistfrankfortky.com
Dear Robert Earl Houston (30 years ago),
Welcome to Pastoring! I’m writing you a letter (and my friends from Facebook and my blog are eavesdropping) in 2019 to share some things with you. These are some things, especially at ministry and relationships that I wish someone had told me. I’m writing this after a personally tough year in saying goodbye to members, friends, colleagues and loved ones:
a. Understand that this calling does not generate a lot of friends. It’s not a popularity poll. It’s not going to make you a popular person. If you have 10 friends in ministry through the years, you will be blessed beyond measure. Some friends are permanent. Some friends are seasonal. Some friends are only here for “a short spell” as the seasoned saints used to say.
b. Understand that you’re going to need some friends who are mentors, some friends who are colleagues, and some friends who are just starting out in ministry that you can be a mentor to. It will enrich your life and remember – those before you have already arrived where you’re trying to go.
c. Understand that sometimes friendships end prematurely. Not always because of an argument or falling out. Sometimes it occurs because of death – and that sting of death can even run deeper than the death of a blood relative. Robert, as you get older, your mentors will begin transitioning. That’s just a fact of life. While you’re in your late 20s, the pastors that you look up to will be (like you) older by the time you arrive to your late 50s. Some will be called home by the Lord and will leave you in tears.
d. Understand that there will be some tough days. And there will be some great, glorious days. On those tough days, God will send someone to let you know how you have ministered to them. Cherish those moments.
And lastly, e., Be of good courage. Never assume that God has forgotten your plight. He is able to make moves in your life that others will never understand nor comprehend. God will never leave you and He’ll never forsake you. Trust Him in the process and watch Him provide.
Use your gifts that God has given you. Teaching the Word is just as important as Preaching the Word. Love People. And Love God!
+Pastor Robert Earl Houston
Mercy Seat Missionary Baptist Church, St. Louis, MO
By Robert Earl Houston
My heart aches for the family of Pastor Jarrid Wilson, who tragically committed suicide. Ironically, he was known for being a suicide prevention pastor, who advocated for the same malady that took his life.
Whenever a pastor commits suicide (and it’s happening more now than ever) it gives one pause. When I first started preaching in 1978, I cannot recall hearing about suicide among clergy. My instincts tell me that it must have occurred, but people were way very less transparent than they are today.
Being a pastor is not an easy job. That is for sure. We get box seats to great days in peoples lives and we get front row seat to the worst days in the lives of people. We get the opportunity to serve God’s people while at the same time receive some of our most painful wounds at the hands of God’s people. We get to worship God with amazingly gifted people and at the same time are held to standards that people don’t enforce for themselves.
I’ll never forget that in a previous pastorate that I had decided to stay away from local high school sporting events. There were no professional or minor league teams in that town. But I decided, why not? So my wife and I went to a high school football game and one of my members walked up to me and said, “When my son was playing you didn’t come. I guess he’s not on your favorites list.” I immediately got my wife and we left. I went back to my original plan and it showed me that you can’t even attend as sporting event without receiving undue criticism.
The truth of the matter is that when people look at pastors they automatically view them of the lens of Sunday mornings. Not in the view of having to juggle professional duties, home duties, and in some cases secular jobs if you are multiple streams of income and/or bi-vocational. In my first church I was bi-vocational and I found out this truth: You can take your church work to work but you can’t take your work to the church.
Not to mention the stress and strains that you have to absorb on behalf of your family. When the stage lights are turned off, the instruments hushed, and the building is cleared, you have to go home. Sometimes the person that you are married to has been a casualty of collateral damage. Some people will go through your spouse or your children to get to you. In some cases, it makes a child refute the church and they no longer believe in your Jesus because of the actions of people. I’m one of those parents who have watched a child walk away from the church.
What’s being discussed in recent years is the mental health of pastors. I have no shame in saying that because of the stress in a previous pastorate that I sought out (and still undergo) therapy with a mental health professional. He’s on the “Pastor’s Team” along with my general physician, my dentist, my barber, my foot specialist, my banker, my friends, my mentors, my Computer salesperson – all that help keep me together. Sadly, I was one of the many, who looked at life and said “this is not worth it” and contemplated suicide. But thank God for the Holy Spirit and those around me who made it an option and not a final answer.
I’m in a great season in life. However, there are many pastors who are not. It would help if instead of, out of formality, saying, “hey Rev., what’s up?” That a member or team of members could go to the Pastor and say “Pastor, how are you doing? How’s your mental health?” It may sound insulting, but it’s not.
Encourage your pastor to rest.
Encourage your pastor to take vacations.
Encourage your pastor to enjoy your area.
Encourage your pastor to go to ball games.
Encourage your pastor to take up a hobby.
Encourage your pastor to go to movies.
Encourage your pastor to take time and grieve.
Encourage your pastor to spend time with his family.
People can be cruel. In a previous pastorate, I had served faithfully for years. I hadn’t had an increase in pay or benefits in six years. In a Deacon Board meeting I requested consideration for a raise. The words that came back were chilling to the soul and almost tipped me over the edge: “What have you done to deserve one?” After preaching, teaching, burying, marrying, standing in hospital rooms, offering comfort at funerals, doing bulletins, doing graphic arts, etc. – my heart was crushed. But, God is faithful. However, I could have easily that night become another statistic.
I’m grateful for pastors like my friend, Dr. E. Dewey Smith, and others who have with me, rang the bell as loud as we can . . . Pastor, you do not have to suffer in silence. Please seek the help that you need and deserve to have. It’s better to go to a mental health professional and discover all is well than to not go and be unwell.
You can be saved, sanctified, filled with Holy Ghost . . . And depressed. The spiritual does not always align with the mental/physical. I pray this helps someone.
by Robert Earl Houston
For the record, there is no less Holy Ghost nor Revelation for those who are led to manuscript a sermon than it is for those who do not. You’re not more profound because you don’t use notes and I would never attack anyone for their style of preaching.
I think there is not one style of preaching that fits all. I personally utilize manuscript preaching because I want to be concise, constructive in my preachment, and want to stay on point and on the text.
And yet some of my biggest influences in preaching either used notes, a full-blown manuscript, or memorized their previously written manuscript. You still have to study. You still have to pray. You still have to do research. You still have to hear from God.
Oh, that we could celebrate each other’s gifts rather than to create a non-spiritual litmus test of “preferred preaching styles.” Last I checked, I thought we were all preaching for the same goal – that souls would be saved, edified, and drawn closer to the Lord.
Just a few words from someone who has been preaching for 41 years . . . and found the style that fits me best.
By Robert Earl Houston
All of the National Baptist Conventions have the same problem – REGISTRATION. It doesn’t matter which convention, who the president is, the process has become cumbersome and marked by dramatic lines at all of the conventions. No one asked me, but these are some helpful suggestions from someone who has been on both sides of the table, taking into consideration that this is 2019:
1. Make Online registration available throughout the convention to the close of business on Thursday evening/Friday morning. An area can then be designated for pickup of materials.
2. (Announced in late night last night): Make registration available at the Late Night Services, therefore registration can literally be from 7 a.m. to Midnight (why not???).
3. Partnership with a computer firm (or a partner) and place 10-15 registration kiosks in the registration area, similar to what is in our airports nowadays.
4. Recycle delegate badges – make them generic and at the end of the session, allow delegates to drop them off at various areas for use at the next session.
5. Have more credit card readers or utilize online credit card inputs for processing of credit cards (no one should have to wait in line and then have the person doing the registration wait in another line to use a credit card reader).
6. Use Givelify for Church and Personal registration with an option and link it to the Church registration code.
7. Utilize some of the young people, who are very computer literate and savvy to work the computers. This should not be done by anyone who is not familiar with computers and their functions.
8. Design the registration process and eliminate everything at one station. Why not try three step process – check in at one desk, pay at another, and pick up materials at a third station.
9. Have a separate station for State Conventions and District Associations – and encourage them to register online as well.
10. Partnership with a vendor and offer water and/or juices (or something healthy) to those in line. Also, consider a number system where people can sit down and wait for their number to be called (similar to DMV) – helpful especially when you have a lot of senior delegates.
This is not a knock of anyone’s convention and I regret that when I talked about the registration process I was in yesterday, someone used it as a personal attack against a convention leader (which I swiftly removed when I was made aware of it). Not interested in being negative – I love (and have been a member) of all four of the traditional baptist conventions. I just want to see us do better! I support NBC and President Young; NBCA and President Tolbert; PNBC and President Stewart; and NMBCA and President Sharp.