From the beginning of President Buckley’s passionate plea for grace and unity to the closing prayers of pastors S.L. Blake, Earl Reed and Johnny Sims, the Fall Session of the GMBSC was destined to be a breath of fresh air to everyone assembled at The Westpoint Church in Hattiesburg, MS.
The first ever Pastors All Call brought brothers from the coast to the capital, from the River Region to the Delta and as far as the North MS Sardis area to the Hub City for a one and one half day session of worship, witness and work.
The new format was a blend of in-person worship and online instruction as the Congress of Christian Education under the leadership of Executive Director Larry Hawkins and Dean Calvin Collins put together a team of instructors who facilitated virtual sessions that ran concurrently with the Pastor’s session.
Instructors included pastors J D Yates and Dr. F. Bernard Mitchell, Sis. Lannie Spann-McBride, Executive Director of the Music Department and Dr. Curtiss Brown. The Rev. Clarence Buchanan delivered the virtual sermon. Over 250 delegates participated in the virtual sessions which can be viewed on the GMBSC facebook page.
The in-person worship was spirit-led as Devotional leader Jonathan Phillips brought energy and excitement with some good-ole, foot-stomping, Baptist hymn medleys that set the tone each day. The Westpoint Music Ministry was stellar as they ministered in song with various arrangements of contemporary and traditional music. The highlight of the conference featured a lecture and preaching of special guest Dr. Fredrick D. Haynes, III, pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church, Dallas Texas.
Dr. Haynes, in his own unique way used his homiletical and hermeneutical skills, unlimited vocabulary and his ability to connect the climate of the culture to the Christ of creation to encourage, engage and edify the congregation of pastors and ministers as he addressed the theme “Transitional Moments for Transformational Ministry.” His message was not only challenging, to say the least, but was informative as he shared excerpts from reading resources that would be a great help to those seeking ways to address the social justice ills of society that are affecting so many.
Host pastor Marcus Cathey closed out the session with a pastoral challenge to all with the sermon “ Adapt or Die”. Gleaning truths from the leadership experience of Moses and the wisdom of his father-in-Law Jethro, his message to pastors was to:
1. Surrender to the Right Pace
2. Select the Right People
3. Solidify the right process
During the business period, President Buckley presented two financial initiatives to support the work of the Convention namely, My GMBSC and GMBSC Perpetuate. A complete overview of those plans can be seen on the website. He then called for Blake, Reed and Sims to pray for pastors and their work, as well as their relationship with God. By a move of the Holy Spirit President Buckley invited pastors to “do what they needed to do to tune in to God.”
The sanctuary became an oasis of prayer as men fell on bended knees, raised their arms to the sky, and even lay prostrate on the ground seeking the Lord. Cries of Lord have mercy! Thank you Lord! , Bless your name! Yes, Lord,yes! and others resonated throughout the sanctuary as each man made his connection with God.
The only thing left to do was to give the benediction and stand on the tiptoes of anticipation for the Spring Session 2022, place TBD.