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Telling Our Stories

There is something significant about sharing our stories. They help us to build meaningful relationships with others and they testify to the goodness of God in our lives. Stories bring understanding and hope. They help us to give voice to our experiences and can encourage us to move forward toward an envisioned future plan that God has in store for us.

As we mark 2013, with the Season of Jubilee, our 2013 Calendar of Activities highlights our stories so that we might learn or be reminded from whence we came. We are writing the future story of the D.C. Baptist Convention and God is not through with us yet!


 

December: Corporate Worship and Fellowship

DCBC has provided financial and other support to member congregations from early in its history, including assisting new congregations in getting started. The Annual Meeting and other opportunities for fellowship and Convention-wide services allow D.C. Baptists to experience the richness of corporate worship.


 

November: Emergency Response

The Emergency Response Team ministry has made it possible for DCBC to respond to crisis situations that occur throughout our region and beyond. With chainsaw, debris removal, flood and winter response units, DCBC is able to have a positive impact on those affected by disasters.


 

October: A Home for Baptists

baptist building circa 50s or 60s

DCBC has more than 150 member churches in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia that work cooperatively to advance the emerging work of God in the national capital region. Our ministry efforts have had national and international impact as we have sought to provide a Baptist witness in the nation’s capital and beyond. Since it was purchased in 1947 by DCBC and the Baptist World Alliance, 1628 16th Street, NW, the Baptist Building, has been a gathering place for D.C. Baptists and others to meet and fellowship as well as to coordinate ministry and missions projects.


 

September: Diversity

diversity

Diversity was a hallmark of D.C. Baptists and is still evident today. As the most diverse Convention in the U.S. and the only one that is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, American Baptist Churches USA and the Progressive National Baptist Convention in addition to being a member of the Baptist World Alliance; DCBC has established and participated in ministry programs that support immigrants, encourage international understanding and involvement, and served as a bridge between Baptists who come from different cultural, racial, ethnic, economic and theological backgrounds. Pictured is a worship service during DCBC’s 135th Annual Meeting at Mt. Jezreel Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Md. The photo was taken by Charles F. Lee.


August: Partnerships

DCBC has collaborated and developed partnerships with many Baptist and other faith-based organizations. D.C. Baptists worked with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes in response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast of our nation in 2005. And, DCBC also has ongoing partnerships with the D.C. Baptist Convention Foundation, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, The Preservation Trust, Inc. and the National Center for Children and Families, among others. Pictured above is an archive photo of DCBC volunteers partnering with Habitat for Humanity to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.


July: U.S. Presidents

U.S. presidents

U.S. Presidents have frequented DCBC churches. Most notably, President Jimmy Carter was a Sunday school teacher and faithful member of First Baptist Church of the City of Washington. Harry S Truman also attended services at FBC-DC regularly and Warren G. Harding was a member of Calvary Baptist Church. Recently, President Barak Obama has attended services at Nineteenth Street, Shiloh and Zion Baptist churches. President Ronald Reagan, his wife, Nancy, and future President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, are shown here enjoying worship services at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.


June: Evangelism and Missions

Evangelism and missions have always been an important part of the Baptist witness in America and in the nation’s capital region. Ministry on the Mall, Prayer for the Poor services, mission trips, sending international delegations abroad and financial support of our denominational partners’ missions efforts are just a few of the ways D.C. Baptists have spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The above photo is from DCBC's archives. A member church is handing out water and tracts one summer on the National Mall.


May: Education

Nannie Helen Burroughs

Education has always been an important part of Baptist life in the Washington metropolitan area. It is no wonder then that two pioneers in education were a part of the D.C. Baptist Convention family. Nannie Helen Burroughs (pictured) was a member of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and established the National Training School for Women and Girls, which was renamed in her honor in 1964. It is a private, coeducational Christian school located on the same campus as the Progressive National Baptist Convention headquarters in the District. Luther Rice, who is revered for his missionary work and commitment to education, established (at First Baptist DC) the first local Baptist Sunday school which taught literacy through reading the Bible. He is considered one of the most important figures in Baptist life and went on to found Columbian College, now George Washington University, in 1821.

The above photo of Nannie Helen Burroughs is in the public domain.


April: Caring for Orphaned Children

nccf

Caring for orphaned children was the impetus for Baptist women to work toward founding the Baptist Home for Children, which is now the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Md. It opened its doors in 1915 in Northwest Washington but later moved to its current location. First Lady Lou Henry Hoover attended the facility's dedication in 1931. Today, NCCF's residential programs serve homeless families, victims of domestic violence and vulnerable adolescents with a wide range of programs to meet their needs. The Borad of Church Represenatives is one way that DCBC churches remain engaged in this work.

The above photo is from DCBC's archives. It is an early photo (circa 1930) of the Baptist Home for Children (NCCF).


March: Baptist Women

women's suffrage

Women have been actively involved in DCBC for more than a century. DCBC was the first Southern Baptist state convention to elect a woman as president. Furthermore, with dedicated Baptist women like Anna B. Johenning, who devoted her life to helping children and fighting poverty, D.C. Baptists have been able to positively impact families in the Washington metropolitan region. It was said of her, “No child is really underprivileged who has ever been taught by Mrs. Johenning.” The Johenning Baptist Community Center is named in her honor.

The above photo of women marching during the Suffrage Movement is from DCBC's files.


February: African-American Churches and Leaders

slaves

In 1865, slaves were freed with D.C. Baptists participating in the abolition movement. The Baptist witness in the D.C. area fueled the establishment of African-American churches and the growth of African- American leaders in the community. DCBC churches and leaders participated in the Civil Rights Movement and continue their work in racial reconciliation and healing ministries today. DCBC was also the first Southern Baptist state convention to elect an African-American president. In addition, DCBC established a racial reconciliation resolution that was approved by the Convention and later adopted by the SBC.

The above photo, which is available in the public domain, is of slaves who labored to build the White House.


January: Religious Freedom

religiousfreedom

Religious freedom provided a backdrop for Baptists to grow and thrive in the nation's capital and surrounding areas. Dating back to 1801, principles of local church autonomy, believers' baptism and the prieshood of all believers as well as a commitment o missions and evangelism, unified Baptists, strengthened local churches and laid the foundation for the important ministry work of what is now the D.C. Baptist Convention.

The photo above is from DCBC's archives. It depicts a snapshot of life in the District during the early part of the 20th century.


How We Worship...

Rev. Donald Kelly

Pastor
Olive Branch Community Church
Sandy Spring, MD

What is your favorite scripture?Why?

Romans 12:1-2 because I truly believe that the Lord is calling for each believer through God’s mercies each and everyday that we present ourselves as walking breathing sacrifice, that we daily walk in holiness. This is only our reasonable service for His grace and mercy.  I also believe that in my daily walk in this world in which I live is a daily transformation and a renewal of my mind.  Throughout the day, I do a spiritual inventory of my transformational renewal, at the close of the day I recalibrate and make room for the spirit to do His work.

How would you define worship?

Worship is a state of mind. Worship is both restful and revitalizing. My definition of worship is in the presenting my body, my mind and heart to the Lord as a living sacrifice daily. That comes in several forms for me my quiet time of meditation of letting the Lord through the Holy Spirit speak into my being, a quiet time on the beach to observe the vastness of God. Worship is  that time I spend in the presence of my family each Christmas morning before anything is done just praising God for the birth of His Son. It’s a tradition that we established when we first got married and have instilled in our children and grandchildren (Let us come before him with thanksgiving…” Psalm 95:2).  Moreover, there are times when I long to worship with other Saints of the church. Jesus said that those who worship God must worship in Spirit and in truth. Worship happens when I hear the Spirit. I am worshipping right now as I am writing this answer. Worship is not something you go somewhere to do; it is what you pay attention as do everything else.

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

I believe the church plays an important role in worship; Psalm 95 gives us a clear picture of worship in the church. Worship does not happen when you walk in the doors of the church, you must center down, and you must make a choice to be in the atmosphere of praise and worship.

 How would you describe worship at your church?

Here at Olive Branch worship is described as follows: Worship a time of community in fellowship, learning the word and listening to the spirit. Our theme for 2011 was “Hear the Spirit” it meant that every person in Olive Branch was to be intentional about hearing the Lord speak. Worship takes place in the common reading of the word of the Lord, our common prayer, and the celebrations of ordinance and sacraments. 

In our new members handbook we describe our expression of worship as:
-Singing
-Commitment
-Praying
-Hearing
-Giving
-Baptism
-Meditating
-Lord’s Supper

Each Sunday we have Celebration “I was glad when they said to me Let go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1)
Inspiration: “but they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
Preparation: “And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building the body of Christ.”(Eph. 4:11-12)

What do you most enjoy about worship?

The most enjoyable time about worship is the time spent with God. It is refreshing and renewing everyday. I see the new mercies every day.


Rev. Carl Jones
Rev. Jones
Co-Pastor
Georgetown Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

What is your favorite scripture? Why?

Isaiah 40: 28-31 (NIV): "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow weary, and young men stumble and fail; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."

Over the years, this scripture has provided strength for me. When I face problems, I find power to accomplish His purposes.

How would you define worship?

Giving praise, honor and respect to God; seeking Him face to face. Genuine worship involves both fact and faith. Truth means we are to worship the right God–the one revealed in Jesus Christ. It also demands inner submission of oneself to God.

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

True worship – giving reverence to God – is life-changing! Thus, it is key to the vitality of the church as a whole, but must be an individual experience. The quality of our worship is not based on our activities but on our individual character. Churches often mistakenly assume that the more stimulating the preaching, the better the music, the more lavish the building, the greater the pageantry, the more worshipful the experience. Genuine worship begins within our hearts — God is a spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth, (John 4:24, NIV). If our relationship with God is not healthy, our worship experience will just be a sham.

How would you describe worship at your church?

Georgetown’s worship has blended music but basically a traditional style. Members particularly get involved in the music.

What do you most enjoy about worship?

As Co-Pastor, one of my roles is the worship leader. Music has always been a critical element of my own worship experience. Music is a way that each person can participate actively in the worship experience.


Rev. Joel Ojelade
ojelade
Pastor
Alafia Baptist Church
Mt. Rainier, MD

What is your favorite scripture? Why?

Ephesians 2:5b, 8-9, which says, "by grace you have been saved...For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast." (NKJV) It shows that we are all saved by the grace of God. No one can boast of being pure or holier than others. God’s infinite mercy is sufficient for us.

How would you define worship?

Worship, like grace or love, is hard to define, but I will give it a shot. It is total awe before the sacred. It means to be reverent or pay homage to a superior being. Man ought to worship God. It is like “the overflow of a grateful heart, under a sense of Divine favor”as in Psalm 23:5 (my cup runs over). Worship is the occupation of the heart, not with its needs, or even with its blessings, but with God Himself (2 Samuel 7:18-22). The first mention of worship in the Bible is in Genesis 22:5, Abraham says to the men, "I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come back again to you."

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

Worship plays a pivotal role in the life of the church. Besides, it is the first commandment of the law, Exodus 20:1,2 and Exodus 34:14, “For thou shall worship no other god; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Worship keeps the church alive and well-focused.

How would you describe worship at your church?

Worship in my church is a moment of joy and happiness, when people forget about anything else and focus on the Holy One. Also, the moment makes a difference in the life of the worshippers. We blend the African tradition of worship with shouts of joy, singing and dancing before the throne of grace.

What do you most enjoy about worship?

What I enjoy most is the moment of quietness before the throne of grace. “Be ye still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). The moment of united kindred hearts in worship. It is an awesome feeling when the church worships God in spirit and in truth.


Rev. Carlos Mendes

Pastor
Brazilian Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

* Photo taken at prior location in Wheaton, MD

What is your favorite scripture? Why?

Matthew 22: 37. "Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’" This is my favorite scripture because it defines the main reason for the existence of mankind.

How would you define worship?

God is the essence of worhsip.  Worship is a style of life in response to God’s love.

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

Worship manifests the presence and the power of God in the life of a church.

How would you describe worship at your church?

Worship is to see the people surrendered, thankful and happy for the love of God in their lives.

What do you most enjoy about worship?

When my heart is broken in God’s presence.

 


Rev. Dr. Genevieve Garnett
Dr Genevieve Garnett
Pastor
United Baptist Church
Silver Spring, MD

What is your favorite scripture? Why?
My favorite scripture is Psalm 27. It is a psalm of deliverance for me.
In 1955, my father who was a political figure in Liberia West Africa was targeted for assassination by the President. I was with my father and mother and most of the family at our farm home in the outskirts of the city of Clay Ashland, when 300 or more government soldiers and police officers that had been dispatched to capture or kill my father and deliver him to the President dead or alive surrounded the farm house and opened fire with automatic weapons. There were a total of 17 of us in the house when the assault began. The Lord put the 27th Psalm on my heart and I began to recite that psalm throughout the entire ordeal, and miraculously the Lord delivered all 17 of us out of that farm house initially without tragedy. My father and oldest brother were later found and assassinated, but the Lord delivered the rest of us from the jaws of hell as I repetitiously recited the 27th Psalm. How would you define worship?

Worship is honoring God by giving praise and thanksgiving to Him in a very unrestrained, but respectful manner. To reverence God with great respect, honor or devotion, as I exalt Him and glorify Him because He has set His love upon me. What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

True worship serves to establish or set the mood for service to God and regulate or tune our hearts and souls to be in oneness with the purpose of God concerning us. This oneness of purpose helps us to be more focused on the business and purpose of the church as we conduct Sunday Worship Services, Bible Study, Evangelistic Services, Community Outreach Services, Mission Services or any other service(s) that we provide in an effort to reach God’s people.

How would you describe worship at your church?
Worship at the United Baptist Church is a time of joy as represented in the first seven verses of the 95th Psalm:
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord;
Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving,
And make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God,
And a great King above all gods.
In his hands are the deep places of the earth:
The strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it:
And his hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down:
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
For he is our God;
And we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

What do you most enjoy about worship?
When we enter church on Sunday and start our Devotion Service, we allow our members and guests who have burning testimonies to share the goodness and the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon them and their families.

They usually raise their favorite songs or hymns prior the testimonies, or may even choose their favorite hymn as their testimony, if they feel that the lyrics are sufficient to communicate their sentiments. The entire congregation chime in, and we sing to the glory of God.

After we conclude the testimonies, we are led by the Diaconate and choir in 15 minutes of praise and worship. This is the time we break out the drums, tambourines, sasas, keyboard, guitars and congas and truly make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Praise and Worship is uplifting, and brings life to our day of service. I would venture to say that our moment of worship here is commensurate with "Psalm 96," and is very intense as we usher in the Father, Son & Holy Ghost to dwell with us throughout the service.


Rev. Dr. R. Mark Jordon
Dr. Jordon
Pastor
First Baptist Church/Front Royal
Front Royal, VA

What is your favorite scripture? Why?
My favorite scripture passage is the story of the Prodigal Son. It speaks of the depth of God’s love for us and our need for God’s love while at the same time speaks of our difficulty in comprehending and living out of God’s grace and love. The most important thing we ever have to come to grips with is the reality that we are the beloved children of God.

How would you define worship?
Worship is the mystery of God’s revelation and our human response. It is what orders, shapes, challenges, comforts and empowers life as a beloved child of God.

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?
It provides the spirit and vision for the church. It empowers the church to fulfill its calling. It is the very heart of everything the church does.

How would you describe worship at your church?
We have an older and traditional church that is trying to negotiate a transition to engage more young adults. In order to preserve the quality of our music program and worship, I like to think of our worship style as a dynamic blended worship.

What do you most enjoy about worship?
There is something powerful about gathering together in our church in the name of Christ. It encourages me, challenges me, inspires me, ministers to me and empowers me. I think a great deal of the power of our worship is found in the connections we celebrate together.

 


Rev. Dr. Michael Bledsoe
Dr. Bledsoe

Pastor
Riverside Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

What is your favorite scripture? Why?

Jesus’ inclusive call to the entirety of humanity bent beneath loads of grief work, exhausted for the relentless days of eking out an existence, to the sinned-against: “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” [MT 11:28].  That poetic reassurance of the Son of Man is also the great leveler as it rakes to rubble the hierarchies and pyramid schemes of religion and ideology.  You may enter into his rest.  Be done then with religion as burden or privilege.

How would you define worship?

Worship is our grateful response to the Holy One.   It ranges from smearing ash on one’s forehead to holding one’s hands in the shape of a cup during prayer; from kneeling in silence to standing and waving a hand in the air.  Sometimes it is organized. Often it is not. 

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

Worship is the Opus Dei, the work of God.  Worship is the central work of the church.  Unfortunately the church in America is so thoroughly assimilated to its prevailing culture of entertainment and materialistic hedonism that some show up in church expecting to be entertained or plugged into a program.  The one thing you must do is find your way to the Holy One like a thirsty person finds a way to water.  Worship is a path to the well.

How would you describe worship at your church?

Worship at Riverside Baptist Church is depicted in our Sunday morning bulletin as a series of gates through which the worshipper passes.  We enter through a gate of prayer (we begin in silent contemplation), rejoice as we pass through a gate of praise, open the gate of peace, bring offerings across the threshold of the gate of thanksgiving and as is quite traditional in a Baptist church, we push open the gate of proclamation and receive by hearing the sacrament of faith.  It is not typical to speak of the proclamation moment as a sacrament but that is how it operates in Baptist theology and life.  So our worship ebbs and flows from moments of complete silence to warm praise and culminates in a confrontation with and by the Word of God. We conclude by opening the one gate that can only be opened from the inside, the gate that stands at the precipice of our souls:  the gate of consecration.  Ours is a blended worship of various music and forms, reverent, contemplative, intelligent, warm and soulful.

What do you most enjoy about worship?

I most enjoy the liminal experience of stepping out of the profane world-in-love-with-death and into our sanctuary: blue light glows from stained glass windows lined along the outer aisles, great trinitarian windows high above face East and West so that, morning or afternoon, the sunlight shattered by stained glass pours into the sanctuary, a waterfall of soft photons, the table and pulpit beckon the worshipper to Word and Table. Simply entering into that world where Christ calls to us and offers us sanctuary is the great mystery, as mysterious as light revealing a page of print.  In that place and framed within sacred time, it is possible that I—a person looking through a dim mirror—might come face to face; I—who am partially known—might wake up to a greater part of the continent within me.  With John Donne, I awaken to the truth that I am not an island but part of the whole.


Rev. Efrain Lopez
lopez
Pastor
Iglesia Bautista de Washington
Rockville, MD

What is your favorite Scripture and why?

My favorite scripture of the Bible is John 10:28 because it assures me the kind of life I obtained when I received Christ as my personal Savior. Also, it assures me that He will never let me go because I am saved in His hands forever.

How would you define worship?

The best way I define worship is through one scripture in the Bible Romans 12:1, which says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” To me this verse means the total surrender of everything I am and everything I have to God. Worship is, for me, a completely transformed and surrendered life to serve God.

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

Worship is a tool to reach the people who are lost. When they see people whose lives have been transformed and changed by the power of God and His Word, they can be reached by the testimony of the church who are truly worshiping God.

How would you describe worship at your church?

I would define it as simple, without much complication because what I want to see and hear is the congregation surrendered in hearts and spirit praising God. All that they express is what they are living in their daily lives.

What do you enjoy most about worship?

Singing to God with a complete knowledge that I am really worshiping and praising the One and only God and my life is agreeable in His eyes.


Rev. Abby Thornton
Thornton
Pastor
Broadneck Baptist Church
Annapolis, MD

What is your favorite Scripture and why?

I never tire of the prologue to the Gospel of John (John 1:1-18), not just because it is beautiful poetry but because it highlights so many things I love about the way God works—how God has been unfolding God’s plans since the beginning of creation. It reveals the magnificent surprise a God who takes on flesh and dwells among us, giving us a chance to catch a glimpse of a God beyond our imagination.

How would you define worship?

Worship is our opportunity to proclaim what we believe to be true about God and the world God created, even when all evidence points to the contrary. It is where we learn to participate in something much bigger than any one of us, to exist not just for ourselves but for God and one another. It is a celebration of our identity as a body bearing Christ’s image into the world, and a chance to open ourselves to the movement of God’s Spirit that has power to transform us.

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

Worship is absolutely core to who we are and who we are becoming as individuals and as a community. Worship teaches us who we are; reminds us what God is like; leads us into relationship with God and one another; and blesses, strengthens, and commissions us for life beyond the church walls. Worship makes us distinct from a mere social group or a philanthropic organization—it forms us in the ways of God, ways that transform us to move differently through this world.

How would you describe worship at your church?

Worship at Broadneck is beautifully organic and authentic to who we are as a church community. It is deeply participatory—on any given Sunday, more than half of those gathered are helping with worship leadership service in some form. It is a wonderfully intergenerational undertaking, including and involving kids as much as possible. Our worship is grounded in tradition—we follow the lectionary calendar and the seasons of the church year—yet also open to incredible expressions of creativity, weaving art and poetry and the unique gifts of our community into our acts of reflection and praise.

What do you enjoy most about worship?

I love the fact that worship at Broadneck is intimate and relational. It connects us with those around us through the sharing of the deep joys and concerns of our lives, and connects us with God as we listen to and engage in conversation with the narrative of scripture. I also appreciate the fact that as Broadneck’s pastor I not only get to stand up front to preach, but to sit among my people in worship, often with the children of the church scrambling onto my lap and sharing my hymnal as we sing. I get to be not just a worship leader, but a full worship participant, and this is an incredible gift to me as I experience God’s presence in the midst of my people.


 

Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins

Pastor
Nineteenth Street Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

What is your favorite scripture? Why?

Proverbs 3:5-6 because it is a life guiding passage that calls us to be fully engaged in our relationship with God. To “acknowledge Him in all our ways” means we must seek the discernment to see God’s hand in places and people that we might otherwise overlook 

How would you define worship?

First and foremost, it is the bringing of ourselves before a gracious and awesome God. Worship should never begin with the premise of what I get out of it, but instead what I bring to it.

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

I believe that everything else we do is validated by the fact that we are a worshipping community. Our commitment to societal impact, good works, and social justice are relevant for us as a church because they are the outgrowth of  our desire to please and honor God, beginning with worship.

How would you describe worship at your church?

A genuine blend of traditional and contemporary elements that continue to evolve. “Amens” and anthems are both part of the fabric of our worship.

What do you most enjoy about worship?

In that more often than not I am leading a significant portion of our worship, I am thankful when a song, testimony, sermon or prayer led by others speaks to my heart. I am also a great lover of the Theology and beauty of the great hymns, and have gathered my own index of Welsh hymn tunes.



Rev. Vincent E. Allen


Pastor
Upper Room Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

What is your favorite scripture? Why?

My favorite scripture is Isaiah 6:1-8. This passage of scripture was the basis of my initial or trial sermon, May 15, 1971 at the Upper Room Baptist Church under the leadership of my father and the URBC family who set me apart for ministry after changing my career objective to be a physician.

My experience is that the best times for worship are sometimes in the middle of crises and disappointments as I was in life…However, here, amid the crisis of King Uzziah’s death, I, like Isaiah, learned something about the impact of worship and holiness in my heart.

Unholiness is revealed by worship. My vision of God’s throne gave me a horrible sense of my own unworthiness and sinfulness…But the Lord meets us at our point of need by purifying us.

How would you define worship?

Worship, properly speaking, is adoration and praise offered to God. The emotion, instinctive in a dedicated Christian, tends to exalt and magnify Him to whom all honor and glory are due. It is offered in response to the glorious excellence of the divine character, and also because of what God has done for men and women, boys and girls, blacks and whites, Jews and Gentiles, both for what He is and for what He does. Worship is an important duty and a gracious privilege.

What do you enjoy most about worship?

Worship through music is a pleasant privilege, which animates the dull and soothes the agitated spirit. While it comforts and inspires the saints, more than any other part of religious service, it attracts the unconverted and the unbelieving. It is the act of worship in which all occupy a common attitude and mutually bear a part. It is not, therefore strange that sacred song has occupied so large a place in the history of Christian worship and that the affections of the renewed hear and cherish it so fondly. Christianity has sung its triumphs throughout the ages and around the world.


 

Rev. Ngoc Quan Ha

Rev. Ha
Pastor
Greenbelt Vietnamese Baptist Church
Silver Spring, MD

What is your favorite scripture? Why?

Romans 5: 8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NKJV) I’m always grateful to be reminded of His love.

How would you define worship?

Worship is meeting and adoring God.

What role do you see worship playing in the life of the church?

Worship brings God’s children to His grace, love, and wisdom.

How would you describe worship at your church?

God’s children respond to Him in praise, adoration, thanksgiving and awe.

What do you most enjoy about worship?

What I enjoy most about worship is to see the transformation of lives by His touch.


Our Pastors...Our Cities

Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith
wcsmith
Pastor
Shiloh Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

"The thing I enjoy most about mnistering in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is ministering within a diverse community, but I am most challenged by the extreme polarities of wealth and poverty."

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

The thing I enjoy most about ministering in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is ministering within a diverse community.
   
What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?
  
I am most challenged by the extreme polarities of wealth and poverty.
   
If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

My favorite place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area is The Smithsonian.

What is your favorite scripture?

Psalm 27


Rev. Dr. Morris Shearin
shearin
Pastor
Israel Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

“One of the greatest joys in ministry is helping others realize the truth of Paul’s declaration: ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.’ There is nothing on the other side of the ‘all’!”

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area? 

The privilege of being able to do it [is what I enjoy most]. I’m honored that God would have chosen me for ministry. It’s a great joy.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?

Ministry for me has never been a burden. The opportunity itself is a challenge that I do not take lightly.

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

I guess my favorite place to be would be 1251 Saratoga Ave. (where Israel Baptist Church is located). I love this place. The King Memorial would be a close second.

What is your favorite scripture?

Matthew 23:12, which reads, “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (NKJV)


Rev. Darin Poullard

poullard
Pastor
Fort Washington Baptist Church
Fort Washington, MD

“I enjoy the people of God, serving with them, meeting them, talking about the goodness of our Lord, just being in their presence.”

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area? 

There are several things I enjoy about doing ministry in Washington D.C.  First, I enjoy planning and participating in ministry events with other pastors and their congregations.  For the past four years I’ve joined with several pastors to have a Community Communion service on Maundy Thursday.  Among the Pastors and churches who have joined in this celebration are Pastor Lyles (Ft. Foote Baptist Church), Pastor Minter (First Rock Baptist Church), Pastor Parker (Central Baptist Church), Pastor Dixon (El-Bethel Baptist Church), Pastor Tilghman (New Hope Baptist Church), Pastor Dugger (First Baptist Church of Capitol Heights), Pastor Thomas (Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church), and Pastor Brown (Kingdom Baptist Church).

Second, I’ve enjoyed fellowship sessions with Pastors and saints at both the Prince George’s Baptist Association and the DCBC annual gatherings.  It has been a joy to unite with the saints in study and worship in both of these gatherings. 

Third, I enjoy the people of God; serving with them, ministering to them, worshipping with them, meeting them, talking about the goodness of our Lord, just being in their presence.  Serving the Lord among the saints at Fort Washington Baptist church and the larger Christian community has been such a blessing to my soul.  I cherish the relationships and each opportunity that God has afforded me to share with the brethren.  I look forward to each occasion with joy and anticipation.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?

I would doubt whether these challenges are unique to D.C., however here are some challenges which I have encountered in ministry: One, helping members to become more consistent in serving in a ministry; Two, encouraging saints to ask for help before conditions in a situation deteriorate beyond repair; Three, helping people work through feelings of anger and to understand how forgiveness leads to this end.

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be? 

The White House.  It is awesome to know that the President of the United States, one who has such influence around the world, is our neighbor. 

What is your favorite scripture? 

I have so many that are near to my heart; Phil. 4:8, Ps. 133:1; and John. 10:9-14 are all precious to me.  However, one that is very personal is: “Thy Word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:11).


Rev. Drs. Myrtle & Freddie Jones

The Joneses
Pastors
Word For Life Church Ministries
Temple Hills, MD

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

Freddie:  I enjoy doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area because it is unique.  The area is replete in multicultural diversity and a wonderful blend of ethnicities from across the globe housed in one area. The city is not only the seat of government for the United States, but it is also seen as the symbol of strength and power to the entire world.  This gives a type of energy that cannot easily be explained.  It is where news is a daily way of doing business. We do not merely report the news of the day, but we are the news.  This makes ministering in this area unique because we are addressing the world as Scripture is played out in our own backyard. 

Myrtle:  I most enjoy the diversity and a sense of an international community being right at your doorstep.  Part of the vision of our ministry is to support missions across the world and to share and exchange effective ministry approaches.  In the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area we don’t have to go far to realize just a small portion of that vision. Being a part of an International Fellowship, the International Ministerial Network of Evangel Assembly, which meets once a month, we are regularly joined by persons from India, Africa, the Islands, and various other parts of the world.  It is the appeal of Washington, D.C. that brings people here – the appeal of a world city with much to offer in knowledge, skills, and resources.  At the same time, we are not only willing to share, but also willing to learn from others.  This is a very exciting place to minister because part of the appeal is you feel you are ministering on the world stage – offering Christ to all the world right here at home.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?

Freddie:  There are many challenges to ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area that are by-products of the very things that make it so unique and enjoyable. Because of the pressures found in working for the most powerful government in the world, this pressure and stress are transferred into everyday life.  If the church is to minister to the needs of its people it must be able to balance the challenges of performing in a spirit of excellence with minimum levels of stress.  There is a term used in the military, which says, “No pain, no gain.”  Our challenge in ministry must be “gain without all the pain.”

Myrtle: Some unique challenges to ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area are: One, keeping the ministry focused on the vision God has given and made known where you are planted without surrendering to the draw of opposing views to ministry in the area. Two, keeping youth undergirded and grounded against the pull of the numerous secular world activities available in a cosmopolitan area, which has nothing to do with living a godly life.    

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

Freddie:  I have many favorites among the great landmarks in the D.C. metropolitan area; however, if I had to name one it would be the United States Capitol.  It is the recognized symbol of freedom and democracy in the world.  Although the Capitol symbolizes strength, power, and freedom, few people are aware black slave labor was used to build it under some of the worst conditions.  For our nation to now have an African American President in the person of Barak Obama it is a testament to the Sovereignty of God, who says, “You reap what you sow”    

Myrtle:  If I had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area it would be the Lincoln Monument because this majestic statue to me represents and links endless possibilities and liberty.  It is both breath-taking and inspiring.  I feel a sense of the greatness of our 16th President, who seemed to be a humble man with many short comings and flaws; yet in spite of them became a great man who used what God gave him to advance and embody servant leadership.  

What is your favorite scripture?

Freddie:  My favorite Scripture is John 1:1 and 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Myrtle:  My favorite Scripture is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.” This is my favorite Scripture because it assures me I am not alone in ministry and reassures me that success is not in my hands, but in the hands of the Lord.  I believe God does not call us to be successful, but to be faithful.  And when we understand that we can do nothing without Him then we can truly accept we can do all things through Him.  I believe this makes us more tolerant, more apt to celebrate the accomplishments of others, and less prideful of the use God makes of us in ministry.



Rev. Kasey Jones

Kasey Jones
Senior Pastor
National Baptist Memorial Church
Washington, D.C.

“I enjoy working with diverse people and being stretched to share God’s Word in multifaceted ways.”

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

I enjoy working with diverse people and being stretched to share God’s Word in multifaceted ways.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?

Although I enjoy working with diverse people, it is also a great challenge.  The church I serve sits in the heart of the most diverse part of Washington, D.C.  I am often challenged with how to present the Gospel both in word and deed to people who are ethnically, economically and politically diverse.

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

If I have to choose a favorite landmark in the D.C. metropolitan area, it would be the World War II Memorial.  It is a magnificent sight, particularly at night.

What is your favorite scripture?

The scripture that is currently speaking to me is Philippians 1:4-6: “…always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (NKJV)

This text reminds me that despite the increasing anti-Christian sentiment, with God the work will be completed.  Despite the decline of mainline denominations, with God the work will be completed. Despite the economic struggles and conflicts in the church, with God the work will be completed.


Rev. Dr. Ed Williams

ewilliams
Senior Pastor
Streams of Hope@fbcw
Wheaton, MD

“There are opportunities here that are not found anywhere else, which heightens the sense of both calling and good stewardship for me.”

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

Diversity.  There are all kinds of things going on for all kinds of people!  The sheer number and variety of cultures, ethnicities, languages, viewpoints, and activities makes the greater DC region very stimulating.  There are opportunities here that are not found anywhere else, which heightens the sense of both calling and good stewardship for me.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC metropolitan area?

Diversity.  It’s really not usual for a powerful positive characteristic to carry along with it a certain level of risk or danger—a “dark side,” so to speak.  The incredible diversity that we so love and enjoy in our church—over 25 nationalities among just a couple of hundred people—makes mincemeat out of us any time we get lazy and “assume” things about everyone thinking or acting or believing the same way.  Whether it’s parenting, finances, communication and expectations about gender roles, respect for pastoral authority, or habits regarding volunteerism, our people have a broad range of experiences that can lead to very different attitudes or actions, even if we all agree we want to do things biblically.

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the DC metropolitan area, what would it be?

The Smithsonian.  Doesn’t matter which museum, to me; when I look back at mankind’s history, our American story, the civil rights movement, flight, art, or anything else, I see God’s generosity and grace and His mercy towards us in our failures and struggles.  It makes me grateful and overwhelmed every time I go.

What is your favorite scripture?

Can’t do just one!  The Great Commission drives me in missions, Isaiah 43:21, “The people whom I formed for Myself will declare my praise” drives me in worship, and 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” drives my vision of discipleship.


 

Rev. Todd Thomason
thomason
Pastor
First Baptist Church, Hyattsville
Hyattsville, MD

"Christ's grace and mercy translates well into many languages and situations because love of God and love of neighbor is rooted in acts and attitudes rather than words or customs."


What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

The diversity. Washington is the capital of our country and in many ways the capital of the world. There are people from so many countries and cultures to be found here. As a white kid who grew up in the American suburbs of the 1980s, I’m always learning something new about God and faith from others whose experience has been different. The diversity around you broadens your horizons. It also makes life (and food!) more interesting and fun.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?

The diversity. Trying to reach out to people of so many different backgrounds and with so many different perspectives on life, faith, politics--and everything in between--is a complicated endeavor. There is a temptation to build our churches around people "like us." Doing so may be more practical (and more comfortable), but that's the way of the world, not the way of Heaven. Fortunately, Christ's grace and mercy translates well into many languages and situations because love of God and love of neighbor is rooted in acts and attitudes rather than words or customs.

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

The National Gallery of Art. Art nourishes my soul and challenges my assumptions. I learn something new every time I go there. And it's FREE!!! (perfect for a pastor's budget).

What is your favorite scripture?

Romans 12:1-2. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

I haven't found any other passage that more completely defines or describes the life Christ calls us to live as His disciples--both as individuals and as congregations.


Chaplain Saul Garcia

garcia
Pastor
Buenas Nuevas de Salvacion, Iglesia Bautista
Washington, D.C.


"I enjoy sharing the Gospel on the streets of Washington, D.C., especially when people listen to the Gospel and they are receptive and open their hearts to receive Jesus Christ by faith."

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

I enjoy sharing the Gospel on the streets of Washington, D.C.; I have done this for many years in my own language, which is Spanish. But the thing I enjoy the most is seeing the responses of the people when they listen to the Gospel and are receptive and open their hearts to receive Jesus Christ by faith.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?

One of the challenges is that D.C. is being transformed. Many buildings where Hispanics used to live have been remodeled and they have moved out of the city. Also, there are undocumented people and many have returned to their countries. Although I have kept in contact with them, they are not here and I can’t minister to them like I did before. But, I have referred them to churches where they live.

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

My favorite place to visit in D.C. is the National Mall because of its rich history, which motivates me to want to know more about American culture. It’s a place where one can admire elegant monuments and museums; architecture that you don’t see in other places. Also, the National Mall is a place where people of many nationalities and races come to visit throughout the year and this gives me an opportunity to share the good news of the gospel. It reminds me of the many people, particularly from South America, that I've reached with the gospel.

What is your favorite scripture?

Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (NKJV)

 


Rev. Dr. W. Henry Green

green
Pastor
Heritage Baptist Church
Annapolis, MD

"We must continue to minister to 'the least of these' while reaching those with the most with the message 'to whom much is given, much is required.'"


What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

I have been the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Annapolis for the past 12 years and each year I discover a new reason why I love ministry in this region of the world.  We are blessed to be surrounded by the rich history of our nation and, in Annapolis, to be close to the Chesapeake Bay, the United States Naval Academy, and the oldest, still functioning, state capital in the country that served as our nations capital for nine months and is where General George Washington resigned his commission to become the first president of the United States.  Naval Academy sports, Maryland sports, golf, the Ocean, the Bay, the Mountains, and the metropolitan opportunities that are simply not available in other places make this region second to none. 

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?

There are no challenges in ministry that are truly unique to any region.  People are the same wherever you go.  The only challenges are their status financially and their access to opportunity.  Annapolis and The District of Columbia are unique in that way.  This is both a blessing and a curse, in that while we are in the seat of power for both Maryland and the United States, we are surrounded with great wealth that follows the quest for power and along side that wealth is great poverty.  Annapolis has the largest per capita public housing community in the United States.  We must continue to minister to “the least of these” while reaching those with the most with the message “to whom much is given, much is required.”  Affordable housing, education for everyone, a clean and healthy environment, jobs that pay a living wage, health care for everyone, and a safe community in which to live is not asking more than we truly are able to do as a society.  The church must speak with a strong prophetic voice to these concerns. 

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

This is a hard one for someone who loves history.  I would have to say the National Archives is my favorite.  The documents that define us as a nation are exciting to see and reflect upon.  It is humbling to remember that Baptists influenced the religious freedom we have and the civil corollary separation of church and state. 

What is your favorite scripture?

“…what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8 (NIV)


Rev. San No Thuan

sanno
Pastor
Falam Baptist Church
Frederick, MD

"The thing that I enjoy most about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is having the opportunity of sowing the seed of faith and watering the emerging faith, hope and love to my own people. When they come to a new land in the USA, they need a person who steadfastly encourages them to have a life based on the life of Christ. That is my ministry and my joy.”


What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

The thing that I enjoy most about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is having the opportunity of sowing the seed of faith, and watering the emerging faith, hope, and love to my own people.  When they come to a new land in the USA, they need a person who steadfastly encourages them to have a life based on the life of Christ. That is my ministry and my joy.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?

The unique challenges of ministering here are first, time. As I am writing my dissertation while ministering  to God’s flock, I have found it difficult to find as much time as I need to care for God’s people. Second, finding jobs for my church members. When Burmese refugees come to the U.S., they have a hard time finding jobs and thus, they need someone who can help them find a job for their survival. Third, producing relevant Sunday School materials. Our youths need better guidebooks and materials that can help them grow systematically in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus and the culture of this country.

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

My favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area is Luray Caverns. I saw the wondrous hand of God when I went there. When I was at this place, I could not help but to sing the song, “How Great Thou Art.” Here is the link: http://www.luraycaverns.com/Home/tabid/437/Default.aspx.

What is your favorite scripture?

My favorite scripture is Joshua 1:8-9, which reads, “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Rev. Elizabeth Hagan

hagan
Pastor
Washington Plaza Baptist Church
Reston, VA

"I love being a part of a community where I'm surrounded by so many who challenge me politically, socially and spiritually on a weekly basis. Ministry is never boring!"

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

I personally enjoy living here, and so I’m pleased to have found a church to ministry in this area too! I love the diversity and vibrancy of life in this region. There are so many smart and innovative people in this region doing such important work. I love being a part of a community where I’m surrounded by so many who challenge me, politically, socially and spiritually on a weekly basis. Thus, ministry is never boring, especially as I am always trying to find new commute patterns to avoid all the traffic as I make hospital runs throughout the city!

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC metropolitan area?

One word describes the most challenging aspect of pastoring in this region: transition. Few people come to the DC area and stay for their entire lives. Most come for a specific job assignment that soon transfers them out of the area once they are settled in. The turnovers of government administrations means you are only one election away from losing some of your most committed church members. As a pastor, then, you are kept on your toes to mobilize people for ministry as soon as you can, not waiting around until next year or the next. And, this also means that the joy of saying “hello” comes as frequent as the sadness of saying “goodbye.”

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the DC metropolitan area, what would it be?

When I first came to DC to live, I worked as an intern at a church in the Chinatown area. I find this one of the most interesting places to watch evolve in DC, especially over the last several years. I love to visit this neighborhood, when I can, to visit friends, dine at one of the wonderful restaurants, catch a game or special event at the Verizon Center or to watch flocks of tourists wonder which way it is to the Capital. It’s a crossroads of community for me and represents some of the best I feel a DC neighborhood has to offer.

What is your favorite scripture?

One of my favorites is I Corinthians 2:9-10: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed it to us by the Spirit.”


Rev. Dr. Steven Hyde

hyde
Senior Pastor
Ravensworth Baptist Church
Annandale, VA

"I don't think ministry would be boring anywhere, but it's certainly not in the D.C. metropolitan area. The diversity, history and proximity to events of global significance bring an edge to ministry and provide an opportunity for relvance."

What do you most enjoy about doing ministry in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?

I don’t think ministry would be boring anywhere, but it’s certainly not in the D.C. metropolitan area. The diversity, history, and proximity to events of global significance bring an edge to ministry and provide an opportunity for relevance. Members of our congregations are on the front-line, and the world is at our doorstep. Any congregation in the D.C area can experience a call to a particular area of ministry and make an impact. One example at Ravensworth is a Holy Land Peacemaking group which formed seven years ago and is deeply engaged in Israeli-Palestinian issues. Thirteen members of our congregation have visited the West Bank and seen the effects of the Israeli occupation on the daily lives of Palestinian families (and Palestinian churches).

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. metropolitan area?                

What makes ministry in our area challenging is also what makes it so interesting. For our congregation, becoming an AWAB church presented intimidating challenges, especially in the earlier years of discussing and voting and losing a few from our membership. But we have received such blessings for having faced the challenges. One practical challenge for me is being pastor to so many highly intelligent people. I have been in the D.C. area now for 30 years, and preaching is a challenge! The needs for ministry in our communities are so overwhelming, and discerning the call of God on where to place our time and resources is a constant challenge.

If you had to name a favorite landmark or place to visit in the D.C. metropolitan area, what would it be?

I never tire of Washington landmarks, and the Capitol building always gives me goose bumps, but I’m particularly drawn to all the places that hold the memory of Abraham Lincoln. However, my sense of awe is muted by knowing that Jesus was not that impressed with the grandeur of Herod’s Temple in first century Jerusalem.

What is your favorite scripture?

My favorite Scripture is the first nine chapters of Mark’s Gospel. During my sabbatical last year, it was my privilege to stay a full month on the northwest shores of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus lived and did his Kingdom-work. I read Mark 1-9 there many times, and it came to life for me in a way I will never forget.  


My Passion Is...Caring for God's People

Ingram
Rev. Kip Ingram
Twinbrook Baptist Church
Rockville, MD


"I cherish those moments when I can help to foster a meaningful connection between someone and a larger sense of God's caring purposes in life."

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

My passion is to be a person given to a thoughtful, gentle caring of God’s people. As a pastor, I embrace the call to reflect God’s creative love and sustaining care among those identified with Twinbrook Baptist Church and beyond them into the larger community.

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

My passion is reflected in the weekly rhythm of planning and leading vital, challenging and reflective worship services. It is also reflected in the many conversational moments I share with people—from informal ones shared in busy hallways to intense times in the hospital to common visits in the homes of people. I am mindful of the old words of Philemon of Alexandria: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” And I keep those words in mind as I try to make space in my daily interactions with others in which I can hear and understand their vulnerabilities, struggles and hopes.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

Part of being a minister in this D.C. region is to understand how the pace of life and the ever-changing conditions of our communities can overwhelm people, leaving them stressed or wounded or searching for something more secure in their lives. I cherish those moments when I can help to foster a meaningful connection between someone and a larger sense of God’s caring purposes in life.

What is your favorite scripture?

“Jesus said, ‘Where are they? Does no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I.’”
--John 8:10-11


I’ve always liked the gospel story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. For me, it shows dramatically the subversive nature of God’s love over against a society with other agendas. My life passion is to participate, however imperfectly, in that kind of love.


My Passion Is...Disciple-Making


Rev. Essentino A. Lewis Jr.
Pastor
Clifton Park Baptist Church
Silver Spring, MD

"Maturity in Christ positions us not only for greatest use in the Kingdom, but it also prepares us for the many opportunities and challenges of life."

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

Disciple-making.  My passion is helping people to know and experience a fuller relationship with God.  By His admonition, Abide in me, and I in you, Jesus expressed His desire that those who believe in Him would be united together with Him in close relationship.  Maturity in Christ positions us not only for greatest use in the Kingdom, but it also prepares us for the many opportunities and challenges of life.  Jesus has always been committed to the spiritual formation of those who follow Him and so I am grateful to be entrusted with the privilege of equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:12).

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

I believe that the purpose of my ministry is to challenge and stretch God’s people beyond what they believe is possible; it is within this space that God does His best work!  Disciple-making takes many forms.  I absolutely love preaching and teaching God’s Word, and I accept that as my primary ministry, but I also enjoy the opportunities that the Lord provides in small group and one-to-one settings. 

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

One great thing about disciple-making is that everyone needs it; even the most mature among us can experience greater depth of relationship with Christ.  Along with the Commission of making disciples of all nations, the Lord has laid heavy on my heart the development of those who already have relationship with Him, especially those who acknowledge a particular calling in ministry and are looking for direction.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

The DC Metro area is filled with people from every corner of the globe and all walks of life.  The diversity that exists here, while not unique to this area, certainly sets it apart from most places in the world.  Interestingly enough, much of this same diversity is seen within the congregation of Clifton Park Baptist Church.  At last count there are over 25 countries and 19 languages represented among our people.  While there can be challenges in supporting the varying needs that arise within a context like this, we believe that it is only through an appreciation of all of God’s people--including our different cultures and backgrounds--that one can truly experience the fullness of God’s Kingdom.

What is your favorite scripture?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…(Rom 1:16).


My Passion Is...To Live for the Lord


Rev. James Martinez
Pastor
Agape Baptist Church

Washington, D.C.

"God saves us for a purpose...When I accepted my call to the ministry, I promised God that i would serve Him until I die. I have kept that promise."

If there were a word or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

To live for the Lord and to serve Him the best I can.

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

I moved here from the Philippines in August of 1988. I was open to the Lord’s leading but never thought I would pastor. I promised God, when I accepted my call to the ministry, that I would serve Him until I die. I have kept that promise.

Preaching and teaching are the main ministries that I have now. I also counsel people and help them grow in their walk with the Lord.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

I started the church with a handful of women from the Philippines. Most of their families were back in the Philippines. I prayed for them to be reunited with their families and that their families would be able to come here. The Lord answered those prayers. It has been a joy for them to be here with their families.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

Time and people’s schedule are a real challenge here. So many people are so busy, tied up with their jobs. This is an obligation for them. Once they learn more about God and put their priorities in order, they are able to be more involved at church.

Tell us about your tie.

The tie is in and of itself a witness. It’s an opportunity to share with others about the Lord...The Word of God is the most important thing. There is joy in growing in your faith! God saves us for a purpose and that’s what the tie reminds me. I often wear it during worship services.

What is your favorite scripture?

Romans 14:7-8: “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”


My Passion Is...Community

bergfalk
Rev. Dr. Lynn Bergfalk
Pastor
Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

"What an incredible place and privilege our city provides to speak prophetically, to do justice and love mercy, and to grow communities of faith that demonstrate the power of Christ's love to transcend the boundaries of culture, color, and class which so often fracture our world."


If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

Community – both in terms of understanding what it means to be the body of Christ as the church, and in living out the reconciling love of Christ in the world. The New Testament not only says but shows us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” It is not enough to preach. As imperfect as we are, by the grace of God, we need not simply to proclaim but to be the message – a community of love and mercy, people who serve others and whose lives embody a prophetic critique of the world’s system.  

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

Taking seriously that Christ calls us into community impacts the vision and ministry of the church at every level.  Wisconsin Avenue Baptist is one of those congregations that reflects a glimmer of heaven, described in the book of Revelation as people gathered together in Christ “from every tongue, tribe, nation, and people.” That diversity also captures the demographics of our international neighborhood in upper Northwest. At the same time, we seek practical ways of reaching out to underserved neighborhoods blighted by poverty and pain throughout the city. It is a matter not only of love but justice. Jesus taught us that to love our neighbor means to be a neighbor to those in need.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

That’s a hard question, because the compassion of Christ draws us to all who are in need. A few years ago I began a ministry modeled on the biblical “city gate” where the poor, the widow and orphan, and the foreigner were to receive justice and inclusion into the larger community. So those outside the mainstream have a special claim on my heart. Jesus said what we do to the hungry, naked, sick or imprisoned, we do unto Him, and the church discovers its greatest joy when we love Jesus in this way.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

Challenge is just another way to spell opportunity. What an incredible place and privilege our city provides to speak prophetically, to do justice and love mercy, and to grow communities of faith that demonstrate the power of Christ’s love to transcend the boundaries of culture, color, and class which so often fracture our world.

What is your favorite scripture?

A new command I give you:  Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)


My Passion Is...Sharing the Word of God

Criddle
Rev. Dr. Marion Criddle
Pastor
Rivers of Joy Bible Fellowship Church
District Heights, Maryland


"I trust the Lord to use me however He wants to use me. Anyone hungry or in need of the Word will receive it if our paths cross."

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

“Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep…[and] Feed my sheep” John 21:15-17

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

The emphasis on making the word of God an integral part of everyday life is reflected in the church’s motto. The motto is an acronym for DISCIPLESHIP—Doing Instinctively, and Spontaneously Christ’s Instructions Pertaining to Living Exemplary, Sanctified, Holy and Inspired Personalities. As always, souls for the Kingdom are the number one priority, but it is the word of God that will do the reproofing, correction and instruction in righteousness to equip and complete us for good work. As a ministry we take every opportunity to feed or tend Jesus’ lambs or sheep—whether in the foreign mission field; with the young people visiting my home, Sunday School, VBS or in informal rap sessions; at the nursing home; in a senior’s recreation center; at the jail; or in the written word distributed through the “Launching into the Deep” newsletter. The word is always shared. Anyone hungry or in need of the word will receive it if our paths cross.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

The broken-hearted, the un-churched wanderers and the shepherdless sheep. This is reflected in my doctoral dissertation, The Care of Shepherdless Sheep: Surrogate Shepherding. Note: Lambs and sheep may be shepherdless even though they are on a church roll. Often they are lost in the numbers of mega-churches or reticent about their issues, thereby, they are without a comfortable place to turn for help.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

The economics of staffing resources to effectively reach the wanderers is difficult. For example, the salary ranges of good musicians are unreachable for small churches and it takes time to grow your own. The beauty of it all is that God provides in spite of these challenges.

What is your favorite scripture?

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”




My Passion Is...Service Evangelism

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Rev. Phillip Hurst
Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church
Hyattsville, Maryland

"What ultimately compels me to do whatever I do is Jesus--to know who He is and that He really drives me to serve others."

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?  

Service evangelism has really been a driving factor for me. I was also inspired by a book called “Conspiracy of Kindness.” I am passionate about having service events like giving someone a cup of water in the name of the Lord. We have had evangelistic car washes and told people we are doing it to demonstrate Jesus’ love for you.  At Trinity, we try to give as much as we can to our community.

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

As a church, we are always to serve our community in a practical way so that we can open the communication in a spiritual way. Free clothing, community picnics and a community health fair are some of the things we have tried to use as practical ministries that might open up the spiritual dialogue and show the love of Jesus in a concrete way. Doing service evangelism gives you the opportunity to overcome any apprehension you may have to witness to others. It’s a way to breakthrough “cold call” evangelism. What’s fun about service evangelism is that you get to do something unexpected.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

People who have limited means. When I read the Scriptures, it seems to me that we are supposed to help those who have limited means. It would really bother me if we could not minister, in some way, to people who need it the most.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

For me, it is challenging to live so far from my family. I have been serving as pastor here for over nine years and the geographic separation from family can be difficult.

As a pastor, it can be a challenge to relate to people from so many different backgrounds. While diversity is a good thing, I end up using lots of examples about football in my preaching since it’s something that everyone can relate to and understand.

What is your favorite scripture?

My favorite Scripture is John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

What ultimately compels me to do whatever I do is Jesus. To know who He is compels me to respond and to serve others and to try to witness to them at the same time.



My Passion Is...Discipleship


trice
Rev. Dr. Ernest Trice
Pastor
Takoma Park Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.


"I am energized when I see men, women and young people growing deeper in their relationship with Christ and developing a passion to serve Him through effective and relevant ministry."

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?  

Discipleship. I am committed to serving and helping people become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. I am energized when I see men, women, and young people growing deeper in their relationship with Christ and developing a passion to serve Him through effective and relevant ministry.

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

 My passion for discipleship has been a primary motivation in how I communicate the Gospel in preaching and teaching. Knowing that the goal is to help people become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ, I am very deliberate about preaching Bible-based messages ,with a strong emphasis on application. I continuously emphasize the importance of solid bible teaching and study within the church, through Sunday School and discipleship training, as well as, people becoming students of God’s word at home.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

Men, Youth, and families in general

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

The culture is moving in a direction that is diametrically opposite to the Kingdom of God. The politically correct thinking and power politics of this community is reflected in the perspectives of many who are in the church. Unfortunately, many are more fascinated by and more loyal to politicians and certain community leaders than they are the Savior. At the same time, there is great opportunity and need to do effective ministry in a increasingly complex, complicated, and broken world. Thus, the positive and proactive mission of the church in the DC Metro area is the same here as it has always been—“go and make disciples….”

What is your favorite scripture?   

Philippians 1:21: “ For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”


My Passion Is...Peace and Justice


Rev. Rollin Van Bik
Pastor
Lai Baptist Church
Gaithersburg, Maryland

"We don't create peace, but we receive it...I always expect a surprise from God, and I always get one."

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

Peace and justice. We don’t create peace, but we receive it. In order to receive peace we have to look inside ourselves.

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

Our congregation is composed mostly of refugees and those who have sought asylum from Burma*. They have come as refugees from troubled areas where there was no peace at all for them. They can identify with the Church. It is a place where they can have some kind of peacefulness. I think they realize that material things can give them trouble and that you have to look inside to receive peace.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

The Lord has laid lots of people on my heart. I am here to serve the larger community. I am very involved in my community. Some days I go to the court with members who need that. Sometimes I go with them to the immigration office. There is always something going on and I try to be present to help my members who need my help.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

In the D.C. metropolitan area, it is very busy. Almost every hour I have to be somewhere. D.C. is also kind of territorial with so many cultural differences. It is a challenge to get adjusted at times. But, But I always expect a surprise from God, and I always get one. In order to receive from God, you have to have some part of yourself empty and ready to receive.

What is your favorite scripture?

My favorite scripture is John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (NKJV)

*Burma, also known as Myanmar, is a Southeast Asian country that has been under military rule in one form or another since the 1960s. Harsh conditions and political upheaval have led many to flee the country for a better life in the D. C. metropolitan area and other locations throughout the U.S. and abroad.


My Passion Is...Breaking Down Walls


Rev. Dr. Connie Stinson
Pastor
Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church
Silver Spring, Maryland


"God is great and the barrier walls throughout the world continue to be broken down a little bit at a time, as together, our hearts are broken by the need we see all around us, again and again."

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

My passion is to observe the dividing wall (between people groups) being broken down. Nothing moves me more.  Sometimes they’re walls of my own making. That’s when my tears leave stains to mark the most redemptive moments of my life.    

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

 My passion (for seeing dividing walls broken down) is not something I merely handed over to the church upon my arrival as their pastor five years ago, nor was it something I simply adopted because it was theirs. With God’s help, I believe we have grown into such shared passion together.

LRMBC’s Vision Statement includes the words, “...(we) are committed to being a Christ-centered, biblically grounded, ethnically diverse people. As a people of prayer, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will strive to be a community of faith....” We recite this statement at the close of each Sunday morning worship service, and we have done so weekly for several years. One might think that such ritual would grow stale from repetition, but the opposite has occurred. Instead of the weekly recitation becoming dull over time, our church’s collective voice appears to have intensified with increasing momentum, to the tone of resolve and conviction. Lately, I sometimes get a chill when I hear my congregation say aloud its Vision Statement, for I know it reflects a change that has occurred within us.   

Therefore, I find it more than coincidence that even in these financially perilous times, our self-owned and managed Food Pantry has received record-breaking support. In order for this particular ministry to survive, nothing short of a miracle would have had to occur, for the numbers of people who currently come to our church door for food each Wednesday morning has quadrupled in a year’s time. We often have just as many or even more, waiting in the food line in the middle of the week, as we have sitting in our pews on Sunday morning. Breaking down the dividing walls between the hungry and the filled, all because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit and just striving to be a community of faith, has become a living, breathing testimony of God’s love and grace in our community.   

Also, our relationship with a particular international mission has grown beyond my expectation. I came to Luther Rice as an active participant in a very special mission work in India. Some churches might have resisted a new pastor with such “agenda.” However, while my love for myIndian friends and their ministries grew, my church provided venues of love and faith of their own that heard, affirmed, and supported. God is great, and the barrier walls throughout the world continue to be broken down a little bit at a time, as together, our hearts are broken by the need we see all around us, again and again.   

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

Any group I observe to be socially marginalized, excluded, or with needs being overlooked, for whatever reason, is the group that catches my attention. Of course, any person can fall into such a category, no matter what their circumstances. Sometimes even the “rich and famous” among us are the loneliest around. The spiritual challenge is to notice. Therefore, my ongoing prayer is, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.”

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

Through the twenty-two years I have lived here, I have seen many other ministers and their families come and go. Seems they either love living in Washington, or they don’t. Seems they feel called to the area, or they don’t. There’s not much in-between. I believe that sense of “call” is often drowned out by the challenges that loom “too big” in the eyes of many.  

Compared to other cities in this world, there’s a higher percentage of movement here, leaving few neighborhoods with any sense of community. With every new presidential administration, for example, a new population enters as another packs up its things and moves away.

In this context of ongoing movement, I find the Church to be most affected by the following challenges: 1) a growing cultural adversity; 2) a dangerously contagious, bureaucratic mindset that trickles from government offices into churches; 3) ever-increasing commuter traffic, and, because of 1, 2, and 3, the fourth and greatest challenge, loneliness.

All of these challenges indicate a growing need to break down dividing walls and build bridges in Jesus Christ. People need one another, and only by God’s grace, through the establishment of strong communities of faith throughout our region, can this DC Metro area experience the unity it desperately needs.

What is your favorite scripture?

 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.  Ephesians 2:14 (NRSV)

 


Our Passion Is...Hope

Rev. Dr. Bob & Rev. Becky Albritton
Pastor and Pastoral Counselor
Vienna Baptist Church
Vienna, Virginia

"Our joy is in seeing how hope transforms congregations and individuals."

If there were a word or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

Becky/Bob: Our calling is to offer redemption and reconciliation corporately through vibrant worship and individually through pastoral care. Our joy is in seeing how hope transforms congregations and individuals.

Bob: Our passion is hope. God’s always having people in the Bible look forward and see new possibilities, new opportunities. We try to offer hope corporately through worship and Bible study each week and individually through counseling.

Becky: I’m a pastoral counselor and I believe in hope, redemption and reconciliation for people. I always try to leave people with a sense of hopefulness and to let them know that they are not “fated” to live or be a certain way.

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

Bob: We try to plan worship each week so that people leave feeling hopeful. Starting with the text we try to be intentional about every aspect of the worship service. We try to model servanthood…If you want to be great, be a servant.

Becky: Sitting with individuals, couples and families, I try to be hopeful in offering them the forgiveness of God.

Bob:  Vienna Baptist Church is 53 years old and we are looking into the future and asking, ‘What is God calling us to do now?” God’s already there in the future so we have to find out what God’s calling us to and how we can meet the needs in the community.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

Bob: The ‘guilty people.’ So many people carry around these great concrete blocks of guilt around them. A lot of people when they come to worship, I wonder what they’ve brought with them. We try to plan worship and everything we do so that people can release those burdens and leave feeling hopeful.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

Becky: So many people work in relation to the government here in jobs where they really cannot talk about what they do. There is also a certain “guarded-ness” in the culture here, which can be felt in the larger context of the fellowship.
The traffic issue is also hard and the speed of life is difficult here. This also impacts Christian education. How do you get people to nurture the children in the faith?

Bob: Yes. The hectic lifestyle is a challenge. People are working as hard as they can—swimming upstream.  We don’t want to promote guilt but want to help. I wish they could rest in the Lord.

What is your favorite scripture?

John 10:10b, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NRSV)

 


My Passion Is...Learning

turner

Rev. Dr. Cynthia T. Turner, Pastor
Dayspring Community Church
Lanham, Maryland

“We are always in a process. One of the joys of life is that there is always a new nugget, a new understanding about life…about overcoming obstacles that I need to get out of every situation.”

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be?

My passion without a doubt is learning. By this, I do not merely mean the knowledge we gain from books and hard study, but also the insight that comes from being still, from living contemplatively, and from trusting in the One in whose Presence we live and move and have our being. The joy of each new day with Jesus is that within it lies the potential for discovering some new truth (which is more than likely an old truth that I am just uncovering), some creative concept or deep idea. I believe God is turned on by our quest to discover more of God’s ways, to delve deeper into understanding God’s thoughts and to turn our attention to God’s way in the world. Sometimes that requires digging and plowing and getting messy, other times it requires resting and observing and simply breathing. Jesus modeled that. But it all adds up to the type of learning that results in growth. And if you’re not busy growing, you’re dying.

Running a very close second for me is the art and craft of preaching, because my preaching grows out of the Truths gained through learning, living in the Presence, and being still. There’s nothing more appealing to me – absolutely nothing -- than hearing a good sermon, except delivering one.

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

Our purpose is to live Christ-centered lives. I pastor a modest-sized congregation of folks who lead very busy lives, so we have had to be creative in our efforts to grow spiritually and numerically. And we recognize the importance of both. Our challenge is not unlike parishioners everywhere: finding the energy, time and resources to actually live the lives we are called to live as disciples of Christ. Because we meet in a school, we have had to be especially creative in our efforts to learn and grow – sometimes that has meant classrooms and books, other times it has meant home-based ministries and fellowships. Either way, the emphasis is always on continually excelling and growing and the church has begun to embody this ethic as an important part of even the busiest schedule.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

From an early age, I have had an affinity for the least and the left-out. I seemed to be drawn to the kid in class that everyone else ignored or ostracized and that kid seemed to be drawn to me too. Perhaps that’s because I’ve never been a part of the popular in-crowd. The other group that has attracted my attention is women. That may be due to the fact that I grew up in an extended family made up largely of women.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

Many pastors would likely confess to sharing a sense of isolation. One reason is that it’s inherent in this vocation, but that’s not the only explanation. Another reason is because being isolated requires less effort, less risk, and less energy than being connected with others. So it becomes a choice, albeit an unhealthy one, for many of us. This is perhaps true of pastors everywhere, but it’s exacerbated when it comes to women pastors in this area because outside of DCBC, the professional ministerial alliances in the DC area are still largely “old boy” networks. The irony is that in the most powerful city in all the world, the church is perhaps the only entity where women are still a feared part of the group, and certainly leadership. In politics, there’s a female speaker of the house and females at presidential cabinet level positions; in business, there are female heads of corporations and nonprofits; in other denominations, there are female bishops; and the list goes on. But in the Baptist denomination, there’s still a great deal of fear and we still have a ways to go to realize the same level of acceptance and inclusion among women.

What is your favorite scripture?

“And Mary said, ‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.’”  Luke 1:38
This is the scripture that I stated when I surrendered my life to the Lord and privately accepted my call to the ministry.


My Passion Is...Social Justice and Advocacy

redfield

Rev. Kip Banks, Pastor
East Washington Heights Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

"God calls us to be prophetic. I am passionate about making the church an effective agent of change in the community."

 

If there were a word, or phrase to sum up the unique passion that God has given you, what would it be? 

Making the church an effective agent of change in the urban community.  I grew up in an area where there were so many churches, but they were doing so little to transform the lives of those in the surrounding neighborhoods.  However, I believe that God wants the church to be the principal agent of change in the community by offering ministries that address a totality of needs including health and wholeness, educational resources and economic development.

How has that passion worked its way into the purpose of your ministry at your church?

At our church, our vision is to become “An intergenerational family of disciples who love God love neighbors and transform the community the Gospel of Christ.”  We have focused on ministries that offer healing for those inside the church, but we also established ministries for those outside the church including a food pantry, clothes closet and a street ministry evangelism program.  We have also partnered with organizations like the Southeast Whitehouse to provide an after school program for community residents teaching children the gracious arts including painting and drama.

What group of people has the Lord laid heaviest on your heart?

I have a special passion for intergenerational relationships – the young and the old.  I feel that the generational gap is too big and that this is a major issue that we, the church of Jesus Christ, must address.  We must have programs not just for the old and young, but ministries that focus on bringing these two groups together.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metro area?

A unique challenge of doing ministry in the DC metro area is the vast power of the federal government.  In the nation’s capital, pretty much everything revolves around the government and this is also true in many DC churches.   Often there is a desire to run the church like a government agency.  Furthermore, in August, when the U.S. Congress goes on recess, we also fight against the desire for the church to go on recess. However, the reality is that Satan never takes a break and neither should the church!

What is your favorite scripture?

One of my favorite scriptures is John 14:6.  “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  I love this scripture because it reminds us no matter what the problem may be Jesus is the answer!

 


My Passion Is...Compassion

redfield

Rev. Dr. Ella Redfield, Pastor
New Creation Baptist Church
Wheaton, Maryland

Favorite scripture:  Matthew 6:33

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

In a word or phrase, what would you say is the call that the Lord has placed on your heart?

Compassion. Compassion is what I feel deep in my spirit and in my soul. It is my strongest point and it's also my weakest, because sometimes I can take compassion a little bit too far; almost to a point that it might be a detriment to me. That's compassion. My compassion is for people who are broken, people who are marginalized, and people that society says, "You don't fit." I have a real strong compassion for them. In society, we tend to say that these are the good people, these are the perfect people. Even in the church—you are a sinner, you are a saint—and I don't think God is about that. I think God really believes that every one of us, good, bad or indifferent are a piece of God.  In my church I try to illustrate this visually. I draw a circle and the circle is who we are, but inside I draw another circle and inside that circle is God. But the problem with so many of us human beings is that we keep stepping away from God and when we step away from God we don't have a sense of who we are. So, I feel that my calling is to somehow be an instrument, a vessel if you will, to help people to move back and see that God is within every one of us. It's not about those who are good and those who are bad; it's about helping us to understand that we are a piece of God. God created us, God made us, God made us in the image of God and so that's what I believe and that's what I teach and preach.

How does this then translate into your church?

People who come to my church and are looking for me to preach about those who are going to hell and preach about those who are bad and preach about this sin and that sin-- I don't preach that. What I try to preach is to help people get in touch with who they are. It's interesting that today we have more churches than we've ever had, but we have more broken people. Obviously, we as the church need to do a better job of meeting their needs. 

I have a very small church and we do our best to help those who come into our midst to understand the [importance of] making that connection with God, just as Jesus made that connection. Jesus made that connection and He was quite clear who He was. He said that God and I are one. I'm trying to get people to understand that God and I are one and when we understand that then we can make that connection, then we can experience the life that God has so uniquely designed for each and every one of us. We don't have to be broken. We don't have to experience the roughness and the toughness of life. Not to say that we won't have difficulties, but when they come we understand what they are and we don't wallow in it, we recognize it. In fact, we will welcome it because everything is about learning and growing.

Is there a group of people God has most laid on your heart to minister to?

Actually, no. I believe that there are no accidents in life. I believe that the people that God would have me to minister to, they may not necessarily come into my church doors, but somehow we will come and our paths will cross. I have gone to different parts of this country and spoke. I have taken classes in different parts of the country so there are people whose path that I will touch and they will touch mine as well as those who will come into my midst in our church. We had one lady who came to the church and she was there for about a year and she left and she sent me an email and she said that I just can't believe that stuff. And I said, well you know that's fine because you don't have to believe what I believe but this is what I'm teaching, a new creation. We are a new creation and God is using all kinds of people.

Yesterday, in my New Life Hour; I don't have Sunday school, I have what we call New Life Hour and that is the time of personal growth, and I was talking about that everything in life prepares us for our purpose. I talked about the year that I started school, which was a year that schools were integrated and I talked about the discrimination that I experienced in white schools in Montgomery County and how the teachers would not encourage the students to pair up with someone who was African American and of course all through school I was the only African American in my class and so the teacher would say, "Everybody pair up." Well, I was always left as the person that no one would pair up with so I know what it feels like. I know what it feels like to be discriminated against but it's a good thing because I bring that type of compassion to the table. I'm bringing that to the table for ministry. So God, in His infinite wisdom, had a plan from day one and as we make that connection with God then it all begins to make sense. So, whoever comes to New Creation, I don't care what they look like, I don't care what they smell like, I don't care what their lifestyle is, everybody who comes to New Creation, I teach and preach that they are a piece of God and we have to understand that and recognize that and when we understand that everybody is a piece of God then we are going to treat them like God.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metropolitan area?

Well, my ministry is out in the suburbs and so the unique challenge for me is not so much the people coming and going. My challenge is image because I find that so many people today are into image and because my church doesn't look like the big church and doesn't have all the frills and the bells and the whistles that some of the mega churches have that is a challenge. We are in the time that everything that's big is better. So, my real big concern and issue is image. If people don't see my outside looking a certain way then they're not going to come on the inside and so it doesn't matter what the message is that I have. It doesn't matter how great I preach, it's not even about that because they don't get to that point to experience that. So, it's a constant struggle for me to move my church from one point to the other.

What is your favorite scripture?

My favorite scripture is Matthew 6:33-- "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." Going back to what I preach and teach, they're outside looking for the kingdom and down through the years the  churches have taught us to look outside for our good, to look up to God and look to Jesus coming. I preach and teach that the kingdom is within and Jesus taught that the kingdom is within. Somewhere in the third chapter of Matthew He talked about the kingdom of God is here. Go back to the circle again. God is in the middle of everything, God is in the midst of us and God is in us. So when the people leave my church, they leave hearing something to the effect that, "Leave this place and go with confidence, knowing that God is before you, God is beside you, God is behind you, God is above you, but most importantly God is in you."

 


My Passion Is...Service

Rev. Dr. Kendrick Curry, Pastor
Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

Favorite Scripture: Luke 4:18
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised..."

If there were a unique call or purpose that the Lord has spoken to you, what would that be?

If I had to sum it in one word, it would be service. Service because I realize that we are all here for a purpose and we’re to be in relationship with one another as we are in relationship with our Lord and Savior. I think about Jesus as He took a towel and wrapped it around Himself and washed the disciples’ feet. And He says to Peter that unless I wash your feet, you will have no part in me. That teaches us a very valuable lesson regarding service and that really is what our life is about. It’s not about always the glamorous jobs and the glorious jobs because I’ve had those but I realize that the most important thing in life is being obedient to God and being first to serve because then you emulate Jesus Christ.


What are you doing in your church to make sure that your church is also carrying out that passion?

We’re really focusing in on the community in the immediate area. That has been our first phase focus. The reason for that is because we have to work in Jerusalem and in Judea then go into the uttermost parts of the earth. We have to do so by looking at what’s in Jerusalem. Oftentimes, I’m finding our churches nowadays neglect Jerusalem and go straight to the uttermost parts of the earth. Particularly in the inner city, where we’re located, we have a great opportunity to serve.  We sit between some of the most upper middle class folks that you could imagine and some that are not quite as empowered and both need help. It doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of wealth or status or station—all need help. They’re all the children of the Almighty God. So, we are starting in our own backyard, reaching out to the community. Going and trying to bring the children in, reaching their parents, making sure that we’re engaged in their lives. We have a variety of activities, like our Wednesday night program where we feed and we share with children and we share with one another. We have Bible Study and we incorporate the children into it. We have our prayer meetings and our choir rehearsal so there’s a lot that goes on through the week at the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church.

We are also connected to other organizations that are in the community that are trying to do similar things that we are. Like the Southeast White House and others where they share our space and we engage with their activities. Also, we have a charter school that’s co-located with us and it’s a wonderful opportunity to see the parents come into a church that happens to house a charter school in it and it provides a means of a safe place and comfort. And that sense of open space, of sacred space is what we’re trying to create so that we have a presence in the community that allows us to be transformative in our thinking, transformative in our living and just learning to be the people of God that we’re called to be. Once such an infrastructure is put into place then we march on from Jerusalem into Judea, into Samaria, into the uttermost parts of the earth because we do believe in an “and both” gospel that says we have to do the local and we have to do the foreign. I would say that through our efforts in terms of Wednesday night meetings and sharing and service time, that’s really how we’re touching the community. We’re also actively engaged in missions and giving great sums of money to Katrina relief and to other sorts of things. We’re trying to meet people where they are. I would say that’s my personality, that’s the hallmark of ministry, when you can meet someone, it doesn’t matter rich or poor, black or white, and you can really touch them where they are. When hearts relate to one another and we can get heart to heart and past the hue of somebody’s skin and look at the content of their character, then and only then will we truly know what Jesus really was about.

We’ve done voter registration. We just had a Red Cross program where we taught a course in mass feeding in case there’s an attack or an emergency. We had some folks come certified so that they could be able to share in the event of an unfortunate catastrophe in the United States. You would be able to feed thousands. Recently, we held a health and wellness fair where we looked at the number of persons in our congregation suffering with cancer. We put together a fair, not only for them but also for people in the community. It was sponsored by the American Cancer Society, so we partnered with them. Then we brought in other services that people need from Ident-A-Kid, to help our kids with being identified to the Board of Elections in teaching our folks to vote. We deal with the whole person and serve the whole person; we’re able to better teach them what Christ is like. We want to be replicas of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ and be those to show our love of God with all our heart, mind and soul and show our love of neighbor as ourselves.

If there's a particular group of people that you say the Lord has laid, heaviest on your heart, could you identify that group?

I would identify that group as, what I call, the under-employed, the under- hired. That group is a group that has so much latent potential that’s just untapped. That group is a group that has struggled and strived but not been able to make it. They have good moral fiber and they have great backbone and they learn to do a lot of things but the breaks in life have not really been in their favor. And so getting those together, helping them to remain gainfully employed, to be able to have homes that they own and to be able to advance as they find success. Those would be the group that most burdens my heart…They’re the group that has children and they are children of the future so they can help as a bridge between those that are unemployed and totally disempowered versus those that are middle class and moving. It’s that in between group that I don’t think we look at enough that needs some help—those that are trying, day in and day out, to do the right thing but sometimes it just doesn’t appear that the season is right for them.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metropolitan area?

DC is a very interesting city. I think the challenges reflect the nature of DC. It’s a very cosmopolitan, very beautiful city with all sorts of diversity in it. But I often think diversity is located in various areas of DC and we don’t “cross the aisle,” if you will, enough to meet those that are as significant in terms of who we need to minister to. DC has an opportunity to be the greatest city in the world. It is the nation’s capital and as we reach out in the nation’s capital…the greatest challenge that we have is bridging diverse groups and having them come in the conversation where we can find common solutions to common challenges—with the peace and the love of God. So, I would say that ministering in DC and particularly in Southeast DC, where I am, which is considered to be part of the inner city but linked to Capitol Hill by only one bridge, means that we have to not only take the people in Hillcrest and some of the other neighborhoods that are in the ward but we also have to cross the bridge and be bridge builders so that we can touch Capitol Hill as well as some of those that are in Benning Terrace…The greatest challenge I see in ministry is building the bridges between the young and the old, the rich and the poor, those that are disempowered versus those that are in power so that we might truly be people of one spirit, one heart and one mind that know how to genuinely love.

What is your favorite scripture?

My favorite scripture is found in Luke 4:18, and it says the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
I know that that’s what I’m called to do. How do we recover sight for the blind? How do we help those that are bruised? How do we engage ourselves in those that are broken hearted? That's the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ and if we are to be like Christ then perhaps we need to look more at what He did, at what His life reflected. We are the body of Christ so I get excited about that because that goes back to service. If we’re interested in those that are left out and least, then we have to be willing to go into the gutters, into the streets, into the Southeast Washingtons, into those areas that nobody wants to go into and do the dirty work of ministry for the glory of our Lord. That’s the good news because we’re doing it for His glory. Many of us could have had other careers and done other things but God called us out and said I placed you here for a purpose and because I placed you here, now you can do some service that’s greater than you thought you could ever do by yourself or on your own. You can watch me do miracles even in today’s time. So that gets me excited and I look for not only the oppressed to go free but the oppressor to go free. So that when both are set free and liberated we now have a brand new way of loving one another because liberation leads to love as I look at it. And once it leads to love there’s no thing that can limit us. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. There’s nothing that shall ever come against us that we can’t tackle or overcome because our Lord is in the middle of that with us. So, we’re in a love thing with Jesus, we have it vertically and we have it horizontally and I’m excited about that.


Our Passion Is...Seeing Unity Happen

Revs. David and Maureen Freshour
Chevy Chase Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.


Favorite Scripture: Matthew 18:19-20
"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

What is your passion?

MAUREEN:  I saw the questions at first and David said why don’t you just answer them?

DAVID:  She’s the writer.

MAUREEN:  I love to write, but I said, “How do I know that I’ll capture one unified word or one unified idea because I think the value of us being together is that I bring a certain passion and then he brings either another passion or he brings the administrative ability....”

DAVID:  She comes up with the idea, I make it happen.

MAUREEN:  Yeah! I may have the idea but he’s the one who has the means to see it through.

DAVID:  She’s much more of a visionary than I am and I’m much more of a practitioner. She can say, “Why don’t we try this?” And I say, “We can’t afford that.” Or she’ll say, “We can’t afford that or that won’t work here.” And I’ll say, “Well yeah, if you see it then we can do it.” We may have to change this or that but she’s much better at thinking outside of the box than I am.

MAUREEN:  So, I guess back to what we’re passionate about. The one thing that we absolutely agree on, even though we may come at it from different angles or methods, is that we’re really passionate about seeing unity happen and seeing the Kingdom being promoted and not an empire. And, we’re really, really tired of churches that are segregated on Sunday morning—going to the white church, going to the black church—that’s not the Kingdom.

DAVID:  Where we came from, the reason we’re in DC, is because we left a church that when we went there, there were 800 people and when we left there were 3,000 and we resigned because it was not, I don’t think, pleasing to God. It looked a lot like us but it was not the Kingdom. It was all white. So we just resigned and we were asked what do you guys desire to do and we said we’d love to start a church from the ground up in a large metropolitan area where we don’t have to deal with traditions, where we don’t have to deal with the way they’ve always done it and that’s how we ended up here. So, our church now doesn’t look like a typical church.  It looks a lot like D.C. So our vision, our passion really is unity. In D.C. that’s not as easy as you think; it kind of goes against, not the spiritual, but the political climate.

How do you take your passion and apply it in your church?


DAVID:  If I could change the word from unity to agreement. I think there’s a difference between unity and agreement. Unity means everyone is on the same page. Agreement means at least some of us are. So let’s just focus on what we agree on. Maureen and I don’t agree on everything but there are some things that we do agree on. So, if you focus on what you agree on and the scripture that is kind of like our life’s scripture, Matthew 18:19-20, and it says that where two or three of you agree, I’m there. And the word agreement is symphony in Greek and it means all of these different instruments playing together in accord. So you could be a trumpet, you could be a drum, you could be a piano, you could be a guitar, you could be black, you could be white, you could be Latino and you could be Asian but if you at least agree that Jesus is Lord, okay, that’s a good start. You don’t have to agree on speaking in tongues, you don’t to agree on raising your hands, you don’t have to agree on praise and worship, and you don’t have to agree on how they preach or what they wear. But what do you agree on? So, I think that really kind of sums up unity. We don’t agree on everything but what we do agree on—it’s good!

DAVID:  We have all these different people and we’ve often said, actually Maureen said it, we will protect the right of the person who wants to raise their hands as much as the person who does not want to raise their hands. They’re both equal and it’s completely okay. I have a 98-year old original member. He’s a retired judge and he’s like a hero to me. He’s the patriarch of the church, but he certainly doesn’t get half the stuff we do but he agrees with it.

MAUREEN:  And he supports it.

DAVID:  And he supports everything. So, to have that agreement, although he’s never going to raise his hands, he’s never going to speak in tongues, he’s never going to dance in the aisles—not that we do, but if anybody wants to, they can. So he respects that they can do that.

If there is a group of people that you had to say that the Lord has laid on your heart to minister to, who would that group be?

DAVID:  We love this city because all the nations are here. We are so atypical for the Baptist body perhaps, but I do think we represent the Kingdom. We send out mission teams to Africa. We have ministries in Ghana, we have ministries in Moscow, we have ministries in South America, we have ministries in India but they’re all here. The fact is that they’re all in Washington, D.C. The Embassies are all here. We have this really unusual church. We have flags in our church that represents all the nations and we probably have like 40 flags. We have folks from Zambia, we have folks from the Philippines...you name it, we got it.

MAUREEN:  And it’s very transient, this area is. We have people from Australia that are here for three years. We have people from World Bank and students from all over the place. When I read that question, I started to say something that was so touching, “I care about the disenfranchised and the homeless” and I do but God gives us a passion so that everyone is taken care of.

DAVID:  Just like the homeless need an advocate, so do these kids who come to American University who are here for four years. They’ve left their homes and they’ve left their security blankets, they’ve left all this stuff. As well as folks who work with government.

MAUREEN:  We’ve traveled internationally and it’s an unusual feeling when you’re away from your home country...it can be isolating whether you are 19 or 45 years old. I’ll grant you that our church is not for everyone. It’s a little out there. It’s a little bit more freeing. We don’t use hymnals and we play rock music.

MAUREEN:  If there’s a tragedy that happens in our church then the sermon might not get preached and we just call the person up front and we just pray for them. It’s like what a family would do.

DAVID:  We don’t take an offering that day; we just give it to them. And my leadership, originally, would go, “Are you kidding me? And I’ll say, “You know what? I think we have a greater need here today.” And our leadership trusts us—we’ve been here almost 12 years now. We knew what we had done. We knew how to grow an organization. She [Maureen] was a very successful business woman and I was a very successful pastor. When we came together, we knew how to do it but it was an empire. That’s why our desire is to grow the Kingdom and not an empire. We can grow an empire. You can do that in your sleep. A family is just a small version of an empire and if you can do that you can grow a good business. At the end of the year, we raise…[money], and we don’t have a lot left in the bank because we give a lot away.

MAUREEN:  I think that’s why they call it non-profit.

DAVID:  But that is really key, that when people come in they don’t have to go through a 16-week new members’ class with us.  We’ll go out to lunch with you. Our folks will spend time with you and you can tell. If they don’t share your vision, if they don’t share your passion, that’s okay. There are 50 other churches within a mile. We’re under strong authority; we’ve got a strong leadership board—business people, CEOs. We had to make sure we’re under strong leadership.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the D.C. Metropolitan area?

DAVID:  I think one is the transient nature of the area. They’re in so quick. They’re here for three years, four years and then they’re out. There’s such diversity and we see diversity as strength. Every church I’ve been a part of— I pastored in North Carolina, Annapolis, Md., and West Virginia— we all looked alike, we acted alike, we thought alike, we shopped alike. Not our church. We’re all so different. I think that’s a challenge. I think it’s a great challenge but also I think if you take the challenge and say okay well we’ve only got this group for three years, let’s adapt to that. And let’s say, okay they’re here for three years, let’s plug them in, let’s get involved and let’s bless Australia. We really do have people from all over the world who have been members of our church. We have very few people from Chevy Chase who are members of our church because our community is predominantly elderly, predominantly white and predominantly Jewish. We love and we’re trying to reach them.

MAUREEN:  Yesterday we cancelled church and the congregation went out and we cleaned up the neighborhood and people were coming out of their houses asking, “Why are you doing this?” And we told them that we cancelled church to clean up the neighborhood and that was unheard of.

DAVID:  It’s this faith in action program. It says, “Don’t go to church, be the church.” And we had all these T-shirts on and people thought we were anti-church. A former mayor of Atlanta popped up and he thought we were with a community program, serving our penance.

MAUREEN:  Other than the minor weird things about being in D.C., the other thing we’re really, really adamant about is that we make it a rule that politics does not enter the church. It is particularly, right now, really difficult to hold fast to that so that we don’t make political statements or promote a political agenda. We’re about God’s agenda.

 


My Passion Is...People

Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr.
Senior Minister
Metropolitan Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.


Favorite Scripture: Luke 4:18
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised..."


If there were a particular passion that the Lord has laid on your heart, what would that be?

I don't think it's possible for anyone to be engaged in ministry who does not have a passion for people. In every respect, the things that make them laugh, the things that make them cry, the things that give meaning to their lives, the things that take meaning from their lives-- all of those things are important. And it's a great privilege, it's an honor when people let you inside the cocoon of their lives and let you walk around the cabins of their minds to understand who they are, what they are experiencing and what's important to them. So, it's that passion for people and being able to communicate with them at multiple levels.

How do you take your passion and translate it into how you minister in your own church?

I think God has a great sense of humor and God has placed me in several churches, I’m in my fourth church...and every church has had its own personality, its own challenge and its own difficulty and its demons. It's had all of that but it seems that God has put me in some places at particular times when I was destined to try to lead people from a wilderness experience into their own destiny.

I think that's where God has placed me and, unfortunately, He has not given me a lot of tools. As I'm fond of saying, “The only tool we have is a name.” The scripture says that at the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Other than that we have nothing. Jesus surrounded Himself, as Pastor (Eldridge) Spearman has said, with one guy who was a loud mouth, another guy that denied Him, somebody else that was out of sorts with society…

So, our tools, the things that make this work, are not an affiliation with some high powered people. We are left to deal with the very salt of the earth. That's how Jesus defined the disciples. He was not telling them something that they were about to become. He said right now, I know you. You are the salt of the earth. There's nothing presumptive about you. He was not going to bring the kingdom in as a result of the people that were around Him. The kingdom only comes in as a result of an allegiance to Him, of an allegiance to the One whose Name we revere and whose life we love and by whose blood we are redeemed. I think to carry the question a little further, the only tool I have is the Name and it is the glory of the gospel. It is by stumbling and stuttering tongues that we take this Word and seek to find flesh to introduce flesh to the Word. To introduce the animate to the inanimate and to make the inanimate, animate. So that the Word becomes flesh and it dwells in us. The proclamation of the gospel took me to a passage of scripture, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel and to preach the acceptable year of our Lord." All of that is what I'm commissioned, called and sent to do.

Is there a particular group of people that the Lord has laid heaviest on your heart?

I wouldn't say that there was a particular group of people. I think that my challenge has been to be able to meet people with the gospel no matter where I am. So that if I'm speaking in South Africa or if I'm speaking in the American Cathedral in Paris or if I'm speaking at a convention hall in Sydney, Australia; it's the same gospel but a different group of people and the word has to go forth in ways that they will be able to hear it. That's the agency of the Holy Spirit that takes the word we speak and translates it, mid-air so that I'm speaking in the tongue of others without even knowing it.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the Washington, D.C. area?

The challenge is that it is the D.C. area. You must not forget that this is really the capital of the world. This is not the capital of the United States. In every sense of the word, this is the capital of the world. Everything comes here. Everything either starts here or ends here. All of the major political, economic decisions, sooner or later, are going to wind up in Washington.  That is why it is such a diverse city. It is such a cosmopolitan place. There are people who come here from all over the world. Therefore, they bring their cultures, their races, their religions, and they bring everything to Washington, D.C. I could never stand up on our street in Washington, D.C. and not be affected by the fact that I'm five minutes away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Simply to be able to preach in that vortex it seems to me is both a blessing and a burden. It's a great town and I'm grateful that the Lord sent me here.

 


My Passion Is... Global Missions

Rev. Joe Lyles

Rev. Joseph Lyles, Pastor
Fort Foote Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

Favorite Scripture: Phil 3:14
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

If there was a word, a phrase, that describes what the Lord has laid on your heart as your passion, what would you say that is?

Missions.  Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts. Every June we usually go to Kenya, we work there with Bridgeway Baptist Church.  Pastor Elijah Wanje has come to Fort Foote also to minister with us. In July, we do Katrina missions down in New Orleans where we do construction renovations. This past June, we had about ten teams at ten different locations.  In fact, we had 105 people in New Orleans from 11 different churches. Part of our goal is to be a regional training center for global missions. So, June Nairobi, July New Orleans, in August we do Kingston, Jamaica.  Missions would be my passion. We often say that charity begins at home, but it shouldn't end at home. I like to think of the world as my neighbor. Nairobi is kind of like a second home.

What specifically do you do to translate that vision to other people within your current church?

The DC Baptist Convention has helped because they are so mission- minded. Dr. Haggray and Dr. Cochran have come out and shared with us so being in this Convention kind of makes it easy to do missions.  The training, the recruiting-- they have their global connection and then they tell us how to set up this ministry in our church. We get the best of both worlds. Just preaching and teaching and going on missions. If the pastor goes on missions then the sheep will say, "Wait a minute!" They'll come along.
We also try to do is reach out to persons from other countries that may be in Maryland, D.C., or Virginia.  Kenyans are not in Nairobi, Kenya but we try to reach out to the Kenyans that are here.  We have a full time missionary in Jamaica from our church. He's from Barbados.  There is also Ms. Chambers, a missionary who has served three years in Nairobi, Kenya.  She helped in saying that we should be global Christians. Consequently, we went to see her, support her and established a bond there with the church. Then there is Rev. Gerald Robinson, who joined our church who has a passion for mobilization. He's coming back now from India with a team. So, I have a lot of good help.  I've been at Fort Foote for 19 years so over time that passion has grown.

If there was a particular group of people that the Lord has laid on your heart, which group would that be?

It would be pastors. I want to help pastors and this is not for the faint of heart. I certainly have not arrived and it's by the grace of God that I have been at this one church for 19 years.  It's a journey and we really do need one another. Sometimes we serve the people but we end up lonely and isolated… but if we can get the heart healthy, it will push the blood to the other parts of the body.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC area?

God has been so good.  People are so comfortable.  What is the urgency? Especially in Fort Washington, they live pretty (well).  We (have) the two car garages, the Beamer, the Mercedes, and the SUV.  Life is just good.   So what's with all the urgency? It don't take all that. We're just at ease in Zion. Thinking and acting as if the rest of the world lives the way we do. I say come with us for a minute on a mission and you (will) find that the sad reality is that the rest of the world does not live the way that we do. They’d be happy to live in your garages. This one room would be a mansion in some places in Africa and Jamaica and now even in New Orleans. Sharing with them Luke 12:48, which says, “To whom much is given, much is required.”  I said, "We've got to share." And so that would be the challenge.  We are so comfort- oriented and I like stuff too but at least share. We can be wise with our stewardship but let's not be selfish.

What is your favorite scripture?

My favorite scripture would be Philippians 3:14. That's one of the challenges I have to guard myself against. There's so much to be done. You work 16 hours and there are still needs unmet, things that need to be done but somehow you have to find some type of God-given balance. One preacher said that a good pastor should have the heart of a child, the mind of a scholar and the hide of a rhinoceros. So we have to press to be the best for the glory of God.


My Passion Is...The Gospel Community

Rev. Amy Butler

Rev. Amy Butler, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

Favorite scripture: Matthew 22:37
Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

If there was a word, a phrase, that describes what the Lord has laid on your heart as your passion, what would you say that is?

If I had to use one word I would say community. If I used a phrase I would say "gospel community." I don't know about you, but I, personally, have been really disillusioned with the church as an institution from time to time and I just feel that the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to a higher standard. If we could somehow manage to create the kind of community that was actively living and breathing the gospel, how transformative would that be? That is just my passion. I love being a part of creating it and being a part of it and seeing it happen-- it's so fun! It's everything that I had hoped for.

How has that passion translated to your ministry within your church?

Calvary is in the middle of transformation. Basically we were a congregation--historically large congregation--that has started rebuilding from the ground up. Some of the hallmarks of our community are diversity on every level. We have people of all theological viewpoints. We have people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. And, this was a dream of mine for the gospel community to reflect the whole body of Christ. But, it is excruciatingly hard to live in community with people when you don't understand each other. So my job as pastor has been sort of holding our feet to the fire and saying, "Is this what we really believe in? Is this what we really want to see happen? Can the gospel of Jesus Christ create something different here than what we see on the outside? If so, then we are going to have to slug it out and walk through this together. That has been the challenge and the joy of gospel community at Calvary.

If there were a particular group of people that the Lord has laid on your heart, who would you say that group is?

I wouldn't say that I went out and searched for these people but I'm finding more and more that Calvary has become the last stop on the way out the church door. I have had it with the church, I mean done. This institution I grew up in and loved has hurt me so many times, has not been a prophetic voice. It's been a place of racism and division and I have not been accepted here and I have not found the love of Christ in this place. And I feel like my call is to say, "Okay, one more try. Just give it one more try and come on over and let's see if we can really live in gospel community together." So, I feel like I'm called to this marginalized group of people who are about to give up on the institutional church and are finding new opportunities to experience the gospel community.

What would you say are some of the unique challenges ministering in this area?

When I first came here, one of my colleagues said you know you will do twice the work for half the return. Why? Because people have these insane schedules, these oppressive commutes and people are so transient here. They come in for one political cycle and then they're gone and so it's hard to build established, deep relationships and rich community in this kind of transient city. Marketing is really important. There are tons of really great people who sleep in on Sunday morning. There is no cultural expectation to go to church in downtown D.C. What we're serving up on Sunday morning has to be excellent, it has to be different, it has to life-giving and hopeful and it has to be worth getting up in the morning. So, this has been primarily my challenge-- the transient nature of this area and people's hectic schedules.

What's your favorite scripture?

Matthew 22, I have to say is hands down my favorite part of the New Testament. It's Jesus talking about the greatest commandment in verse 37. The Pharisee and the Scribes were all on Him about tell us what to do and he said, First love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and then go love your neighbor as yourself. And I told my people...that that's enough to keep us busy. At the end of the day, those are the mandates of the gospel that call us to action and faith and so that would have to be my favorite.


My Passion Is...Mission and Ministry

hawthorne

Rev. Joel S. Hawthorne, Pastor
Montgomery Hills Baptist Church
Silver Spring, Maryland


Favorite Scripture: Romans 8:38-39

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If there was a word or phrase or brief description of what you feel has been your passion, your call, your purpose in life, (this is outside of your church-- just you) what would you say that would be?

Well, it’s two-fold. For me its mission and ministry and as a part of that helping people discover and use their gifts in ministry. I’ve always believed we exist for the sake of others. In fact, the thing that I always tell my church, and it's a quote from someone else, is “new life comes to us on its way to someone else.” That’s what we're about mission and ministry. That’s my passion and I’m trying to make it the church’s passion.

How is that you're attempting to use this passion and make it happen in your church?

For our church, we take very seriously the Great Commission to go and make disciples and we take very seriously the great commandment to love God and neighbor. So we’ve tried to incorporate that into our mission statement, statement of purpose, which for our church is to make Montgomery Hills Baptist Church a place where all people can belong and grow and serve. That’s our shortened version of the mission.

Is there a particular group of people that the Lord has laid heaviest on your heart?


Personally, heaviest on my heart are the poor and the hungry—especially children and youth. That’s what lays heaviest on my heart. But there are others and I think this goes for our church, too. We try to reach out to (in recent years) those who have been victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We’ve sent teams down to Baton Rouge, LA. We’ve helped build homes and it’s been a blessing for us. We’ve also just provided space, recently, so that we could reach out to French-speaking African immigrants. They’re starting a new church in our space and we’re pleased to be a part of that.

What would you say was the most unique challenge of ministering in this area?

Trying to reach out to believers but also to reach out to the unchurched in a day and age like ours where the traditional way of doing church is in transition—it’s in such flux right now. I think that’s the real challenge. As part of that, I think we all have a tendency to be kind of long-range churches and we need to remember that we are all in this together. That’s why the DC Convention is so important because we need to have that venue where we can fellowship together and also join together in ministry and mission. And the DC Convention is a tremendous resource to enable us to pull all of our gifts and all of our resources together so that we can reach out to others.

Do you have a favorite scripture?

It’s Romans 8:38-39. Who can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


My Passion Is...Never Give Up!

rozolem

Rev. Samuel Rozolem, Pastor
Nations United Baptist Church
Silver Spring, Maryland

Favorite Scripture: Philippians 4:13

" I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

What phrase would you use to describe your passion?

The phrase would be “never give up.” Don’t give up! I won't give up on you, don't give up on what I’m asking you to do. That is the phrase that sticks with me the most. Don’t give up!


Why is that?

Because God never gives up on me. I have stumbled many times and many times failed, but He never gave up on me. That is a phrase that motivates and steers my heart to get up and keep trying—do it again!

How has that been translated into the ministry within your church?

It’s been the machine that moves me forward with the challenges in the ministry, with all the obstacles and visions and dreams. The whole spectrum of the ministry.

If you had to identify a group of people that the Lord has given you a passion for, what group would that be?

People from different cultures, different races and multi-ethnic people. That’s who God has been steering in my heart for a long time. I always feel like I'm moving towards this group of people—I guess it is people like me.

What are the unique challenges of ministering in the DC Metropolitan area?

Too much work and not enough workers (laughs). This is one of them. The biggest challenge, in the area, for the group that I'm reaching out to, is that this area offers too many things 'of this world.' It is a challenge to compete and show people that life is more than what you see with your eyes—house, cars, titles, possessions and stuff like that. Apart from the lack of workers it is to show people that the greatest treasures are not in Washington, DC, but in heaven.

What is your favorite scripture?

I have so many of them. My favorite is the one that I need at the moment. If I needed encouragement, then that is my favorite. If I am happy and I need to praise the Lord, I have a favorite scripture for that. When I'm worried—I have a different one. The one that I have used the most is in Philippians 4 because it tells me that I should not be worried about anything but in everything I have to go to the Lord, pray and present to Him my requests, and He will hear me.  He will take care of it. And, He will give me peace.



My Passion is...the love of Jesus Christ

Duh Kam

Dr. C. Duh Kam
Pastor, Chin Baptist Church
Silver Spring, Maryland

Favorite Scripture: John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

What is your passion?

My passion is the love of Jesus Christ, touching my heart. Before I committed my life to the ministry, I was a teacher. I wanted to improve my English skills in my country during my teaching in [the] government school. I was born in a Christian family, but I wasn't really touched by the love of God. Only when I read the English Bible to improve my English skills was I touched by the word of God. That is why I later committed my life to the Lord.

How does that passion come out in the church you're in?

As I experience the love of Christ, even when I preach, I like to touch people's heart by the Word of God. Most of my sermons consist of touching people's live with the love of Jesus Christ. I like it when people are experiencing the love of God… in the church. I like for them to participate in our church worship service as a part of Christ’s body that experiences the love of Christ.

Would you say that there is a particular group of people that the Lord has laid heaviest on your heart?

Really, I am fine with anybody. I know that everybody has been created by God and God is our creator and so everybody has God's own image. When I talk to some of the people I feel I am talking to people who have the image of God. I like to be positive and inclusive of other people. Also, in my church, even though we are from one country and from one ethnic group, we still have differences in our church and I try to find the center and Christ is the center.

Would you say that there are unique or special challenges to ministering here in Washington, D.C.?

My church is a refugee church. The Chin people are fleeing our country because of religious persecution practiced by our Burmese Unity dictators. I have over 500 members now and most of them are refugees from Burma. Now we are working and helping them. It has been a lot of work. Even though I am pastor, I am a social worker. Most of my work is social work to help them go to the clinic, the human services department and try to find out about immigration and many other issues. Sometimes, there are interpretation issues if they don't speak English. I help them by interpreting whatever is necessary. So my church has these kinds of challenges. But, the good thing is that we are all Christians and committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. So even when we have some challenges and burdens, these are good challenges and good burdens. I have a very good youth group too. There are about 40 young people under the age 25 and they help out and sing in the church choir. This is an encouragement to me in ministry because of the type of political issues in our country. For example, Washington DC is the capital and I can meet with anybody. I can meet with people who are working for relief organizations and I can speak to some of my people in Burma. Once, I had the chance to go to the White House to talk to the Special Assistant to the President, Mr. Tim Goeglein, with some of the other service organizations like World Relief, Christian Freedom International and Jubilee Campaign. Also, when our country faced difficult times, for example, when Buddhist Monks took the streets and demonstrated against our government, we went to the Burmese Embassy in Washington, D.C. We also went to the Chinese Embassy and the Indian Embassy. They are our neighboring countries and we asked them not to support our Burmese military dictators. So, D.C. has helped me in the Lord's ministry and for that I am very grateful.


My Passion is... Relationships

Tiefel
Rev. James Tiefel
Pastor, First Baptist Church
Camp Springs, Maryland

Favorite Scripture: Mark 10:45

“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

What is your passion?

Relationships—that’s where the gospel started and I think that’s the only way it’s going to go on now. I served as a missionary for about 18 years in Europe and I saw a lot of churches that had been built up by state churches and the accusation by most of the unbelieving population that they were empty was very accurate. Now for those people to come to know the truth and the hope and the love and the joy that I have, somebody’s going to have to love them into it. They’re not going to be able to preach it. Those people aren’t going to come into the church; believers are going to have to go out and rub shoulders with them, commit their lives to them and make an investment in personal relationships with them.

How have you taken that and translated that into your current ministry within your church?

I think it translates very well. My wife and I have tried to make a goal for a long, long time to have more friends outside the church than we do inside the church. It doesn’t always work out. This society is a little bit different than Finland where we lived for 10 years. It was a little bit easier to have contact outside the church because we didn’t have so many demands from the church and I wasn't the pastor so that freed me up a little bit. But we’ve also tried to teach our people the same thing and to model that for them and help them understand that it’s okay to bring someone who is not a believer into our church. It’s okay to be in their home. It’s okay to fellowship with them. It’s okay to socialize with people even if there are some things that they're not necessarily comfortable with, as long as it’s not getting them into trouble. That’s the way those people are going to see the Christ that is supposed to be living in and through us. We also try to model this in our deacon ministry. You don’t have to be a church member to be assigned a deacon. Somebody who has visited with us for a while, we ask for permission and if they’ll let us, we’ll put their name in our directory and we’ll assign a deacon to them so that we can stay in contact with them and meet needs when they come up. Not everybody agrees to that but you'd be surprised with how many do. I think they’re looking for that kind of contact. One good thing about it is that it doesn’t cost the church anything. There are a lot of things a church can do without it costing a lot of money but it takes some real education of people and I guess if there was a second passion that would have to be it—teaching. I think a lot of Christians don’t really know what they believe and that gets us all into trouble.

If there was a certain group of people that the Lord has laid on your heart, which group would that be?
Any person that steps into my realm of influence. That idea really hit me from a book that I read authored by a former Seminary professor, Dr. Oscar Thompson, The book is called Concentric Circles of Concern and he outlined seven circles in which I have a major influence with people; my immediate family, my extended family, friends, neighbors, work associates and finally the person that I might meet once in my life. But for the moments that I am with them whether it’s five minutes on a plane or someplace else, I’m supposed to have an impact on them—I’m supposed to be, maybe for some of them, the only representation of Jesus Christ that they get. So, I’d have to say that that would be my group of people and some of those people would be in the same groups that my church members are so we get a double, triple, quadruple whammy with some of them. They get hit from three or four sides and that's the idea.

Why the Mickey Mouse tie?

First of all, I think it goes well with the suit. My wife has taught me to have a great eye for fashion. The second reason is that my daughters bought me this tie and they have kept me supplied in neat little ties over the years. I take it as a personal message to myself, no matter how big or important or how photogenic I think I am, when it comes right down to it I’m just another guy with a squeaky voice and big ears and that kind of keeps me humble. It reminds me not to believe my own press—not all the bad or all the good—kind of look for the middle of the road.

What are the unique challenges that you face ministering in the DC metropolitan area?

I think the pace of the lifestyle here doesn’t allow a lot of time for people to really slow down and think about major issues in their lives. I think they’re wrapped up in their economic struggles, they’re wrapped up in their career, and they’re wrapped up in getting through traffic. It’s never surprised me that that 11 a.m. Sunday morning people have difficulty staying awake because it’s the first time in the week they’ve sat down and are quiet and they’re not being entertained by television. I think the second thing is that our world has become quite cynical. It doesn’t have to be that way but I don't think there are a lot of people that are living and experiencing true hope. To communicate that in a way that is not just some catch phrase or some little personalized idiosyncrasy or some little words that I filled out just to make people feel good—to really demonstrate and communicate that to a world that doesn’t want to believe me is a challenge. Too many people have lied to them and they’re not willing to listen to anybody and everybody and they shouldn’t. But that brings me back to relationships—you have to build that, you have to earn the right to be heard.


My Passion is... Revitilizing Churches in Distress

McIntosh
Rev. Dr. Duncan McIntosh
Pastor, First Baptist Church
Silver Spring, Maryland

Favorite Scripture: Philippians 1:6
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

What is your passion?
My passion is to revitalize churches that are dispirited and in distress.  My view is that the church is the body of Christ on Earth.  I certainly don’t want to see the body of Christ lying limp and lifeless.  All churches go through a life cycle—it’s a matter of how we help them discover where they are in their life cycle and how they can break out. My passion is to help 2nd generation churches become 1st generation churches.  I have had that passion for years, and it comes out in service as both pastor and teacher.


How do you then take that passion and translate it to the church you’re working with now?
First, I have to get in touch with my own spiritual life.  I must be alive in my spirit.  Then, I have to interact with my context.  I have to become a part of that congregation, to live and to study the situation... In some cases, I find you have to identify some set of dysfunction in order to open the congregation for God’s healing.

I can model for them a vision, but it is best to help them to catch their own vision.  This is the excitement of leadership–preaching, guiding, modeling. You have to work at this every day, taking steps forward as well as some backwards.  It is like a dance, a little waltz. Leadership, in this way, is never straightforward. You are constantly zigzagging back and forth, rounding up some who are off to the side, moving the whole group forward toward a larger goal. I have to help congregational members to sense and embrace the developing work of God.

What would you say is the group of people you have a heart for?
Primarily, I have a heart for the church.  In the particular church I have been serving, it has been the 90 year olds.  Ministry to this group is strategic, for they will give permission to the younger generations of members to follow my leadership.  I am pastor to all the people, but these advanced in age need my care–through visits and prayers.  They are convincing their younger family and friends, who are in their 70s now, to follow my leadership. Ultimately, we have to fill the nursery through young families. We do see now a whole new group of people coming in, catching the excitement of what is ongoing.

A second major emphasis is on diversity. First Baptist, Silver Spring is no longer mono-cultural. Once it was the big church on the corner with 1,500 members, but when I came, it was down to 60 members.  Four congregations were meeting in the building: one the remnants of the original group; one Hispanic; one Caribbean; and one, diplomats and bureaucrats. They all loved one another, but they had no unity.  They ministered to one another, but it was not an integrated congregation.  Rather, it was four separate groups.  I began helping to create a single identity, one recognizing the first generation of immigrants and their countries of origin.  We have 53 nationalities represented at FBC, Silver Spring today. 

Another significant effort was to change the diversity of the staff. It was amazing to see how God opened the door for this change! The church had already changed from a suburban to an urban congregation, but it had not recognized this.  The lack of diversity on the staff said that everyone was a generalist. Suburban churches need ministers who are generalists (ministers of everything), but urban churches need specialists. God brought the church to see staff in a new way.  Now we have a staff of five persons, all specialists, none of them full-time.  Three staff members preach in rotation.  If the church went back to me preaching every Sunday, I think they would fire me.  They have begun to realize that we are developing something unique.

Now, First Baptist, Silver Spring is beginning to live something that they never have lived before, and they are excited about it.


My Passion is... Service

Spearman
Rev. Eldridge Spearman
Pastor, Mt. Jezreel Baptist Church
Silver Spring, Maryland

In his own words…

I am like the Apostle Paul who records in Galatians, “I've been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (2:20)

A fundamental principle that I am really hung up on is humble service—the gospel of John, chapter 13, that’s my favorite scriptural passage. Two elements really strike me about that passage: humble service and sacrificial love. We are humble servants—verse 14. Jesus made it clear that I've come not to be served but to serve. So, I am really passionate about service among the believers and within our congregation and with myself as well. This service requires sacrifice and humility. Jesus, on his knees, washed all 12 pair of feet. I have to remember that because sometimes folks make you upset and angry. But Jesus washed Judas' feet, though he was going to betray Him. He washed Peter's feet, though he was going to deny Him. He washed James, John and Thomas' feet, though they were going to doubt Him. He washed their feet.

Service is one element and secondly, love. In John 13:34 Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you...” I love the end of the first verse of chapter 13 in the King James translation. It says that Jesus loved them to the end and that's a powerful thing. So again, humble service but also a God-like love that calls us to be accepting of everyone and everyone's potential and also being able and willing to sacrifice for the love of Christ, the love of God.

Preaching the Gospel to the World…

The Great Commission calls us to make disciples everywhere. Not just this particular location or particular group. The evidence of our congregation's broad attitude and approach is through our missions. We are not just concerned about home missions—people in our community and our neighborhood. But we are also concerned about people like those in Louisiana and Texas who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. We also have a ministry and we connect with partners in Guyana, Liberia, Uganda, Kenya and in South Africa. We just developed a new partnership in India where we are helping a pastor distribute Bibles. We have a connection to a minister in Poland through our minister of music, who recently returned from a missionary trip there. This connection has allowed us to share the gospel through music; to use music as a tool to attract persons to hear the gospel of Christ. We take the mandate of Christ around the world—it’s global.

 

 


Rev. Spearman
Rev. Dr. McIntosh
Rev. Tiefel
Dr. C. Duh Kam
Rev. Samuel Rozolem
Rev. Joel Hawthorne
Rev. Amy Butler
Rev. Joseph Lyles
Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks Jr.
Revs. David and Maureen Freshour
Rev. Dr. Kendrick Curry
Rev. Dr. Ella Redfield
Rev. Kip Banks
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Turner
Revs. Bob & Becky Albritton
Rev. Dr. Connie Stinson
Rev. Rollin Van Bik
Rev. Dr. Ernest Trice
Rev. Phillip Hurst
Rev. Dr. Marion Criddle
Rev. Dr. Lynn Bergfalk
Rev. James Martinez
Rev. Essentino Lewis
Rev. Kip Ingram
Rev. Dr. Steven Hyde
Rev. Elizabeth Hagan
Rev. San No Thuan
Rev. Dr. W. Henry Green
Rev. Saul Garcia
Rev. Todd Thomason
Rev. Dr. Ed Williams
Rev. Kasey Jones
Rev. Drs. Myrtle and Freddie Jones
Rev. Darin Poullard
Rev. Dr. Morris Shearin
Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith
Rev. Ngoc Quan Ha
Rev. Vincent Allen
Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins
Rev. Abby Thornton
Rev. Efrain Lopez
Rev. Dr. Michael Bledsoe
Rev. Dr. R. Mark Jordon
Rev. Dr. Genevieve Garnett
Rev. Carlos Mendes
Rev. Joel Ojelade
Rev. Carl Jones