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'How do you guard your character?' and 'What’s it like to be an African-American pastor in Arkansas' discussed by ABSC Pastors' Conference panels
Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Pastors’ Conference panelists discuss, “How do you guard your character?” They are, from left: Aaron W. Matthews, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Lowell, moderator; David Cox, pastor of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Plumerville; Don Chandler, senior pastor of Central Baptist Church, Conway; Chris Johnson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Van Buren, and Jamie Staley, pastor of First Baptist Church, Crossett. Photo by Caleb Yarbrough

'How do you guard your character?' and 'What’s it like to be an African-American pastor in Arkansas' discussed by ABSC Pastors' Conference panels

Oct 22, 2018

JONESBORO – The first panel discussion in the afternoon session of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Pastors’ Conference Oct. 22 at Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, was titled, “How do you guard your character?”


Panelists included David Cox, pastor of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Plumerville; Don Chandler, senior pastor of Central Baptist Church, Conway; Chris Johnson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Van Buren, and Jamie Staley, pastor of First Baptist Church, Crossett.

Aaron W. Matthews, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Lowell, moderated the panel.

The panelists recommended pastors seeking out “godly” men as accountability partners, keeping a daily devotional life of prayer and reading Scripture, building discipline, seeking God every day, cultivating one’s relationship with their spouse as a source of accountability and support and focusing on being a pastor to one’s family before being a pastor to a congregation.

'What’s it like to be an African-American pastor in Arkansas'

The second panel discussion of the afternoon session was titled, “What’s it like to be an African-American pastor in Arkansas?”

Panelists included: Basil Joiner, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Bay; Roderick Rogers, pastor of Fordyce Community Baptist Church and Bearden Community Baptist Church, Fordyce, and Izah Broadus, church planter of New Faith Baptist Church in West Helena and Little Rock; Willie Jacobs, Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) church planting team member. Chanson Newborn, pastor of Fellowship Community Church, Forest City, was the panel’s moderator.

Panelists highlighted the immense need for partnership within African-American congregations.

Rogers compared ministry to a basketball game in which the players do not know the fundamentals or have good coaching. Even if the team’s players have more talent than their opponents, they will continue to lose games until they are taught the things necessary to succeed.

The Fordyce pastor said that in the past he has lost games that he should have won because he did not have the right coaching and tools – mentorship and partnership – to win.

Rogers, as well as the other panelists, emphasized their hope that African-American Arkansas Baptist churches would receive offers of partnership from other churches across the state that can help them work towards reaching their communities for Christ.

Joiner said that there is a difference between the way that many African-American churches do ministry than the way that white churches do ministry, including that many African-American churches have bi-vocational ministers.

Broadus said that all churches, African-American or otherwise, face many of the same problems, its just that some churches have more resources than others.

“The only thing that can change a man’s heart is the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Jacobs.




 

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