By Diana Chandler
DALLAS (BP) — God never fails to deliver on behalf of His faithful servants, Byron Day preached in his final sermon as president of a fellowship representing more than 3,500 African American Southern Baptist pastors.
Day recommended to pastors Psalm 34 during his June 11 sermon at the 2018 annual banquet of the National African American Fellowship (NAAF) of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas.
“When anxiety comes, when trouble comes, what we ought to do is think about our God and Who He is,” said Day, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Laurel, Md. “God is after more than dropping a blessing here or there, but He’s after transforming us into the image of His Son. And sometimes He’s got to take you through some things that hurt.”
Four traits of people on behalf of whom God delivers are found in Psalm 34:1-8, Day said, namely those who are committed to praise, prayer, obedience and humility.
“I know somebody who never fails to deliver,” Day said. “I know somebody that you can count on 24/7.”
“If just the righteous people would cry out to God, I believe God would heal our land,” Day noted, referencing Abraham’s prayer for Lot. “I believe God would change some lives. I believe God can transform the White House, the court house, state house, outhouse and every other kind of house.”
Day’s sermon at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center was his final exhortation as NAAF leader, handing the gavel over to newly elected president Marshal Ausberry, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Va.
“It’s been a journey and God’s been good,” Day said. “He’s taken us through some difficult times…. It wasn’t easy, but God’s grace is sufficient.”
Day thanked fellow officers, denominational workers, his church and wife Pamela for their support.
Other officers installed with Ausberry are vice president Frank Williams, pastor of Wake Eden Baptist Church in Bronx, N.Y.; secretary Bucas Sterling, pastor of Kettering Baptist Church in Upper Marlboro, Md.; treasurer John Rollins, pastor of Simeon Baptist Church in Antioch, Tenn.; parliamentarian Calvin McMullen, pastor of Community Life Baptist Church in Milledgeville, Ga.; and historian Robert Wilson, pastor of Light of the Word Baptist Church in Atlanta.
NAAF elected officers during its 4 p.m. business meeting preceding the 6:30 p.m. banquet.
Completing the slate of officers are eastern regional director Jerome Coleman, pastor of First Baptist Church of Cresmont, Willow Grove, Pa.; central regional director Jeffery Friend, pastor of Suburban Baptist Church, New Orleans; mountain regional director Garland Moore, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Milan, N.M.; and western regional director Kevin James, pastor of New Creation Bible Fellowship in Tracy, Calif. All presidents of African American Fellowships at the state level serve as NAAF vice presidents at-large.
Retired pastor Dennis Mitchell continues as NAAF executive director.
SBC Entity greetings
Several SBC entity leaders greeted NAAF banquet attendees.
D. August Boto, interim president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, assured NAAF of the EC’s continued commitment to ethnic diversity during his tenure.
“We want to convey to people how the input from this body (NAAF) is valuable to us and has been for years,” said Boto, who also serves as executive vice president of the EC. “God bless you for what you do.”
Other entity presidents expressing appreciation to NAAF were Russell Moore, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; O.S. Hawkins, GuideStone Financial Resources; David Platt, International Mission Board; and Kevin Ezell, North American Mission Board.
Also greeting NAAF were Mark Croston, national director for black church partnerships at LifeWay Christian Resources; and Ken Weathersby, EC vice president for convention advancement.
Business meeting devotion
“An Abiding Love for Jesus” was the devotional focus of Terry Turner, pastor of Dallas-area Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church, who spoke during the business meeting.”We must pray that an abiding love would circulate throughout our world, and in the hearts of all Americans,” Turner said. “We must pray for our president. We must pray for our nation.”
Using John 15:10 as a foundation and referencing history dating to the U.S. Civil War, Turner encouraged unity among Southern Baptists across racial and gender demarcations.
“We have a duty as preachers,” he told NAAF and guests, “to fight against the wiles of the devil. Somebody said if you’re not making the devil mad, you’re not doing anything.”
NAAF works to facilitate partnerships and mobilize resources helping pastors, church planters, churches and SBC partners.
NAAF’s next official meeting will occur during the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference, July 16–20 at LifeWay’s Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, N.C.
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.