Category Archives: Progressive National Baptist Convention

Vacant Pulpit: New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan


Denomination: Baptist

Weekly Attendance: 700

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Vanderbloemen is honored to present this role.

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.

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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.

General Duties

  • 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.

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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.

Personal Characteristics

  • 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: First Baptist Church, Frankfort, Kentucky (deadline: 02/28/2020)


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: or by requesting it by email to 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

    Deadline for submission of application packets February 28, 2020 at 11:59p.m. Eastern Time.


    Applicants should submit the following documents to be considered for this position:

    • Completed application
    • Cover letter
    • Resume/vitae
    • Copies of degrees, ministerial licenses, and certifications
    • Current photograph

      Please include your email address and telephone number in your cover letter or resume.

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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



100 Clinton St. Frankfort, KY 40601 502.223.5152

Please download application at

Homegoing of a Saint – Dr. Fred W. Johnson, Myrtle Beach, SC

Screenshot 2019-06-24 17.29.21

Courtesy: Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

A Brief Word on the Results of the National Convention Elections


Congratulations to the new National Baptist Conventions Presidents



by Robert Earl Houston

After months of campaigning across the nation in various conventions, the Presidential offices of the four major conventions has been filled after spirited campaigning.

Elected to serve are:

Dr. James C. Perkins, pastor of the Greater Christ Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan was elected as the President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. in their annual session in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Perkins previously served as the First Vice President and succeeds Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr.

Dr. Samuel Tolbert, pastor of the Greater St. Mary Baptist Church of Lake Charles, Louisiana was elected as the President of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. International in their annual Family Fest session in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Tolbert previously served as General Secretary and succeeds Dr. Stephen John Thurston.

Dr. Nehemiah Davis, pastor of the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas was re-elected as the President of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America in their annual session in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Jerry Young, pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church of Jackson, Mississippi was elected President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. in their annual session in New Orleans, Louisiana.




Give Somebody Else a Chance

by Robert Earl Houston

IMG_0510In this wonderful nation of ours there are over 300,000,000 people who live here. There are 50 states, over 3,100 counties, over 30,000 cities. There are four major traditional baptist conventions, each claiming over 1,000,000 members. There are easily at least one state baptist convention in each state, some have as many as 4 or more. There are hundreds of district associations, state conventions, district congresses, state congresses, general associations, national conventions, local/state/national fellowships, and on and on and on.

So why is it that we only utilize a handful of preachers to speak at these events?

No one will dare say it, but in the hallway of most of our conventions, the same faces and names appear on the program year after year after year. Surely by now there should be some new faces and voices emerging from the diaspora of the African-American church experience. However, it’s the same people preaching conventions all over the nation – basically utilizing the same five sermons – and frankly, it’s tiring.

Our General Association of Baptists in Kentucky had invited a minister to be our guest speaker this year and he fell ill and was unable to be here. Our State Moderator and his wife were on the way to Cancun, Mexico when he received the news – a little less than 3 weeks away from the annual session. After consulting with a friend and praying over it, he selected Reverend Cory Ramont Morris. A minister that most of us in Kentucky had never heard before. However, by the end of the week, he became the talk of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Great theological mind. Young but seasoned. A rare ability to connect with the old, the middle aged, and the young. Tremendous delivery. Friendly and approachable. Not haughty and not stuck up. And yes, a close that could easily be construed as one of the best I’ve heard in recent memory. Outstanding scriptural approach and exegesis. Teaching while preaching.

And we LOVED it. 

IMG_0503Maybe our problem is that we look to the stars of the church rather than to the Hills (from whence cometh our help) – and instead of considering those who are solid in the faith, upcoming, and striving pastors – we get the same old soup in a new bowl with all gravy and no meat. My former pastor, Bishop Darryl S. Brister used to say “all you need is one moment of exposure to change your life.” There are a plethora of ministers who if just given the opportunity to be programmed, you may discover what all the fuss is about in their local communities.

Case in point. A West Virginia pentecostal pastor has been attending a Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma for years and gets the opportunity to meet the host. One year, one of the speakers can’t make it, and the host calls him and asks him, at the last minute to fill in. The minister preaches a dynamic sermon and most people had never heard of him. The conference is televised and the owner of the world’s largest Christian television network sees his presentation, picks up the phone, calls him, and brings him to his network studios, and launches him into preaching history. The host was Bishop Carlton Pearson. The event was Azusa. The network owner was Paul Crouch. And that West Virginia minister, who admitted that at one point he was the pastor, musician, usher and janitor, is named Thomas Dexter (T.D.) Jakes.

Because he was given a chance.

I was the recipient of opportunities. Outside of my home church, people like Dr. O.B. Williams, Dr. J.A. Boles,  Dr. S.M. Lockridge, Dr. Ray Williams, Dr. H.F. Dean, Dr. Willie T. Snead, Dr. Melvin Wade, Dr. R.C. Williams, Sr., Dr. Clyde E. Gaines, Dr. A.E. Reid, Dr. A. Russell Awkard, Dr. Bernard Crayton, Dr. C.B. Akins, Dr. Walter Parrish, III, and others GAVE ME A CHANCE.  They took a chance and gave me opportunity to preach or serve in conventions – even when I was pastoring a storefront church and pastoring for free because the church was not in position to pay me; even when I was pastoring a church and I had to make it to the conventions on my own dime; even when I was fighting for my pastoral life and the storms were raging at full blast; and even at the church of my dreams – I have been the recipient of an opportunity.

I’ve preached for state conventions in Oregon/Washington/Idaho; Kentucky; California; North Carolina.
I’ve preached for district associations in Oregon, California, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
I’ve preached for city-wide revivals in Newark, NJ, Gary, IN, Albuquerque, NM and other places.
I’ve preached in Revival or for special occasions literally around the nation.

Because I was given a chance. Maybe before the next leader of a group invites Rev. Dr. So and So or Bishop So and So or the Pastor who is pastoring the large church over in the next state or many the denominational leader who you know really can’t preach, but has a big name.

There are gifted young pastors, middle aged pastors, even elderly pastors who have never been given the opportunity to preach because they didn’t graduate from a certain school or they didn’t have the opportunity to complete college or they had a family to support and sat under the feet of their pastor or college was not for them – and yet they minister faithfully, biblically and with integrity. They are in every state – just waiting for a chance.

I’ve always prayed, Lord, if I ever get in the position to help someone else up, please help me to do so. I wonder what would happen if our conventions do today what they use to do in yesterday and give an opportunity to young preachers like E.V. Hill, Melvin Wade, Stephen Thurston, A.L. Bowman, Sandy Ray, C.L. Franklin, Jasper Williams, E. Edward Jones – and other young pastors who were given the opportunity to preach nationally at a young age.

When our session in Lexington closed after hearing a session that will live in the annals of history of this 149 year old institution. The name of Corey Ramont Morris will stand in the hearts of minds of the delegates that trusted their Moderator to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. We didn’t know him then. But we know and appreciate him now.

Give somebody else a chance.


What Happens If You Lose?

by Robert Earl Houston

Photo on 6-19-13 at 10.01 AMAs previously noted, the election season of most of the traditional National Baptist Conventions is about to converge upon us beginning with the Presidential election of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. International next week in Memphis, Tennessee.

The NBCAI will be first; Then in August, the Progressive National Baptist Convention will meet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to elect a new president for a two year term; Then in September in New Orleans, Louisiana, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. will elect a new president. Then in 2015, (if memory serves me right), the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America will vote.

The campaigns are in full-gear. I have a few observations after listening to some discussions and it boils down to one simple question:

What happens if you lose?

I would love to hear, for once in my lifetime, the losing candidate of a national baptist election to say these words: “I want to congratulate the winner and assure him and the convention of my loyal support.”

Unfortunately, in recent convention history a phenomenon has developed negatively. Let’s walk through it.  I’ll use my name as an example, but remember, I have NEVER ran for National Office (and have no desire to):

Dr. Robert Earl Houston decides to run for national president. I then assemble a campaign team, including a campaign director, meet with various state leaders, raise (or borrow) money, then devote myself to running, showing up in various venues, and then conduct a campaign that may not be holy and always ethical. I may have to utilize some “bulldogs” in the trenches to try to deter, destroy and defeat the integrity of either the sitting president or those who are candidates as well – and yet be at arms’ length enough away that if my campaign gets called on it, I can say “I didn’t say that.”

Of course, I have to have a slogan. Let’s see . . . How about “Robert Earl for Prez” – that’s catching. I need a marketing strategy, website . . . oh yeah, gotta raise more money, because the cost of running for a national office can reach six figures. I have to make sure my wardrobe looks “presidential.” Gotta have a media team – to reach out to the younger pastors and to look hip (even though a national convention has not had a president under 40 since PNBC did so in the EARLY 1980’s) to this newer generation, I need a media coordinator, a “twitter-er,” a web designer, videographer, photographer, and maybe I need to release a “fresh rhema word” everyday to draw in younger preachers, because you know younger preachers value flash over ethics.

Then the day of the election comes and the delegates cast their votes. I make sure that the photographer takes the photo of me emerging from the voting station. I’m going to walk the hallways all day and prepare for the announcement along with my team. Of course, they are going to surround me at the microphone, current leadership be damned. 

The announcement comes. My palms are sweaty, I step out just for a second so I can look great at the announcement. I sit there and then the announcement is made . . . I just lost.

Damn. After all that work, energy – matter of fact, I raised more money in running than the national convention raised in foreign mission giving and home mission combined. My slate of officers, where I promised some of the pastors intricate roles in the Houston administration, is now history. And I am pissed off that the collective convention could not see the vision that I saw for leadership. They’d rather choose the one who won by a legitimate vote instead of the one who had the great campaign, multi-media, twitter, instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube (after all of those commercials I authorized).

So, I get up, and signal for everyone following me to walk out of the hallway and we are not coming back. Let’s see how they do without me and all of the churches and pastors who have committed to me. Let’s see how much money they raise now. Let’s see how many mission projects get funded now. Resurrection of Bishop College? Won’t happen now. Because when we leave, nobody will come to the convention. The convention will be a hollow shell. And the new President and his campaign staff and convention leadership can all go to hell, as far as I’m concerned. I might even meet with my supporters later this week and maybe we’ll form a new convention or call it a conference or fellowship. THE END.

Even though the story is fictional, the reality is that this scenario lurks in the background and histories of all four conventions. Yes, it can happen in National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. Yes, it can happen in the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. Yes, it can happen in the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and yes, it can happen in the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. The truth of the matter is this – it has happened before and God help us if it happens again.

What any losing candidate should do is:

a.  Swallow your pride and congratulate the winner, (shake hands, hug) immediately, on stage. Right now!

b.  Ask to address the audience after the winner speaks and say to the body:

“Brother President elect. I ran for the office because I wanted to see substantive change in our Convention. However, I yield to the will of God, who has spoken through these voting delegates. I am disappointed, but above everything, I am a called man of God who understands that a three-fold cord is not quickly broken. Therefore, I want this convention and this President to know that we are not nor never been enemies. We are brothers who met somewhere at the cross. And I want all my supporters and delegates to stand and as the late Dr. A. Louis Patterson would say “Appreciatively applaud OUR president – I said OUR president. And we aren’t going anywhere. We shall support you and your vision for this convention, to be the best of our abilities.”

c.  And the winner needs to consider utilizing people who supported the losing candidate in positions as well. Winning a convention and going to war with a segment of the convention doesn’t make sense. There are gifted people who supported other candidates – it doesn’t mean that just because they didn’t vote for you that they are less gifted or won’t support you as well.

Otherwise, we will not have to worry about the government or Southern Baptist or Full Gospel or American Baptist or GUF destroying us – we’ll do a fine job all by yourselves.


Split Happens

by Robert Earl Houston

This morning when I rose, thankful to God to see another day, I had an announcement in my e-mail concerning the organization of a new group that was forming.  It is the third such notice I’ve received in the past three weeks and unfortunately, split happens.

When I began in ministry in the 1970s, there were just (for Baptists) three major baptist conventions – the National Baptist Convention, USA., Inc. (NBCUSA), the National Baptist Convention of America (called “The Boyd Convention” or NBCA) and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Incorporated (PNBC). Each convention was distinctive – the NBCUSA was the largest and numerically a powerhouse with members throughout the nation, especially strong in the east and north. The NBCA was strong in the south and was making strides in missions and evangelism.  The PNBC was “the thinking man’s convention” where many of the baptist educators and social crusaders made their denominational home.

Churches and Pastors identified rapidly with one of the three. NBCUSA and NBCA met the first week of September, religiously and PNBC met in August, although there was a sizeable percentage that were “dually aligned” with PNBC and one of the other two conventions. Convention halls were packed. Schools were benefitted (although in retrospect it wasn’t strong as it should have been). Properties were purchased or developed in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and other parts of the country.

However, today there is a plethora of “national bodies” or fellowships or partnerships or ecclesiastical groups that have been borne out of conflict, burden, personal vendettas, election fall outs – and the end result is that we are in a time of where conventions increasingly no longer matter, enthusiasm for said conventions is waning and it’s becoming a game of political leapfrog (hopping from one group to the next) for a generation of preachers – which leads to the next generation of pastors and preachers rebuking all of it because of all the disunity.

State bodies are not exempt. District or City bodies are not exempt. It is a spirit of division that has taken hold in the black baptist community and if you tick off the wrong person, a “reformation” will be formed with cassocks and titular hats to replace cooperation, trust and team building.

When NBCA split in 1988-1989, I had just been called to my first church in Portland, Oregon and I remember the pain of not being able to see my friends that I “grew up with” in the conventions since my teenage years. It was an ugly, needless split and the division lines were not blurred, they were sharp. I remember saying to my pastor “why does the convention have to split?” He simply said, “split happens.”  In those two words, they were both analytical and prophetic.

What can stop the hemorrhaging?  I believe three things:

a.  It’s going to take a meeting of the minds and some acceptance of either other’s differences.  To tell the truth, we all complained, rightly so, about the divisiveness of the Tea Party, but they may have gotten some of their training from watching how we as baptists operate. We need common goals – saving Bishop College should have been the clarion call that kept three bodies together. We missed a golden moment.

b.  A Moses. The Black Baptist Church needs a Moses. Someone who can, by the strength of the Lord and a strong personality, to pull us together. The patron saints of the Church are resting in the couch of nature’s night. Who will be the next generation of leaders that want to see Pastors and Churches come together as a tool for good and social justice, instead of being pacified with a Conference that meets in a Super 8 Hotel conference room that holds 50 people and declaring “we’re worldwide.”

c.  It’s going to take some failure. Some of these groups, honestly need to fail. There needs to be some serious assessment and then foreclosure of some of these groups who have started out so that the Baptist Church can come home. Is being a Bishop worth tearing up a group that was feeding the hungry?  Is being an Adjutant to the Ninth Presiding Elder of a 40 church “International and World Wide” fellowship worth destroying years of fellowship on the local level?

I am 53. Most of my years are now behind me and I’m starting to feel like Dr. Gardner Taylor used to feel. Dr. Taylor had the desire to see all the of the Baptist Conventions meet jointly one time before his death (thank God it did happen and Dr. Taylor is still alive).  My desire is greater, I don’t want us just to come together. I want us to stay together, to break a spiritual curse.

The Passing of the Torches

by Robert Earl Houston

It is customary at the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. that when the Nominating Committee comes forth, they always present the prognosis of elections.  “Next year, 55% of our elected officers will change.” It helps the convention to prepare for the turnover. I’ve come to say that within the next year, it is possible that all four of our traditional national baptist conventions AND the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship will change leadership.

Dr. Julius Scruggs of Alabama was elected President in 2009 and several ministers have declared or exploring runs to challenge him in 2013, if he decides to seek re-election.  The election will be held at their annual session in New Orleans in 2014.

The NMBCA has actually been operating without a President since the death of Dr. C.C. Robertson of Dallas. In a controversial move, the Executive Board decided to postpone the election until the annual session next month in San Antonio. The current Vice President, Dr. Nehemiah Davis, is acting president and is being challenged for the post by Rev. Dale Jay Sanders, Sr. and Dr. Samuel H. Smith, Sr. of Louisiana and Texas, respectively.

Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr. is the current, tenured President and will complete his two terms in 2014. As of this writing, the only declared candidate is Dr. James C. Perkins of Detroit. At least four men are running for the office of 2nd Vice President including a layman. Their election will be in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Dr. Stephen John Thurston of Chicago, IL has served since 2003 and will lead the convention into Memphis for the 2014 annual session. At present there is at least several declared candidates: Dr. Samuel Tolbert of Louisiana, which means that for the first time in NBCA history, a President will seek re-election against a Vice President; and Dr. George Brooks of Nashville, who has served as Congress President.

Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr., who is now the leader with more tenure than all four of the traditional convention presidents combined, has lead FGBCF since 1994, meaning that he has 19 years of leadership. He recently announced the name of his successor – Bishop Joseph Warren Walker of Nashville, who will begin his tenure in 2015.

It will be interesting watching developments of this passing of the torches.


The Virtue of Knowing When To Let Go

by Robert Earl Houston

DETROIT, MI – Today I am at the 52nd Annual Session of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., which has served as my denominational home since I began pastoring the Historic First Baptist Church of Frankfort, Kentucky. Our church is one of the congregations that united with those who were disaffected by the decisions made by the leadership of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. in 1960, and in 1961, by one vote, created this convention.

I’ve been received warmly in this convention. I’ve had the opportunity to play musical instruments (piano and organ), lead congregation/praise singing, lectured in South Carolina, preached for the Region just outside of Cincinnati, and serve as State President of the Kentucky State Convention.

Since 2010, I’ve been serving as the Webmaster/Internet Ministry director and it’s been a grand enterprise to transform the web site. I’ve discovered that no matter what changes you make, when it comes to dealing with people – some folk are never completely satisfied and they have visions for the web site that are not congruent with the purposes of a web site. I had the privilege of authoring the first web site of the national baptist conventions – for the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, under the presidency of Dr. Willie T. Snead, Sr. Deadlines have been intense, re-writes are factored in, and it’s always satisfying to hear delegates say “thank you” for the web site.

Today, it will all change.

I’ve prayerfully made the decision that it’s time for me to step aside (not step down) from the day to day operations of the web site and it’s time to utilize some of the great, young minds. I met today with an outstanding graphic artist/web designer and will be making my transition out at web designer and focusing more so on content, if it meets with the President’s approval.


First off, I’ve been doing this for national conventions since about 1993.  That’s 20 years of doing this type of ministry and it’s time for new ideas, new designs and a new approach.

Secondly, I think that conventions need to shuffle the personnel deck. When I started preaching 35 years ago, I remember seeing the secretaries being wheeled to the desk and taking minutes by trembling hands, because they had been serving in the same position for years and years. I don’t want to be the webmaster of a convention at the ripe old age of 75.

Lastly, this is a season that I want to focus on my local congregation and my health. We are preparing to march into our sanctuary for the first time in weeks after extensive renovation. I recently returned to the church after cancer surgery in May. Our church bus has even been in extended service and repair. And now a convergence of return – the building, the pastor, and the bus is about to take place.

Even though I’m “cancer free” I still have to carefully manage my health and my recovery. The flesh is starting to grow in the transplant area and yet, there are times when I have a stabbing, painful episode or even become so tired that I have to lay down. It’s not over yet.

I can’t begin to fully explain it but I feel the zeal for the work like I just walked in the door as pastor. God is sending new members, we are developing new ministries, we are developing (thanks to Rev. Anna Jones) a unique prayer ministry, and in this season, I hear the Holy Spirit saying even more, “feed the flock.”

Also, I want to spend time developing relationships with Kentucky pastors that have been kind to me as well. I’m also setting in motion a transition in our State Convention – it’s time to begin making that move too.

My greatest position and honor is not at a national convention, nor state convention, nor general association, nor district association. I received it again last Sunday when a young boy came up to me and said, “Pastor, when you leave, I want to be the next pastor.” This Sunday he came up, hugged me and said “I love you Pastor.”

My greatest position in the world is pastor. Thank you Lord.



by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

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