NAAF must 'do more,' A.B. Vines declares

Baptist Press
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Posted: Jun 10, 2014 4:52 PM
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Blacks can only fully participate in Southern Baptist life by breaking old habits that have marginalized their contributions and value, A.B. Vines said Monday (June 9) in concluding his two years as president of the National African American Fellowship.

"We all have issues in our past; but guess what, African American Fellowship, we have to do better," Vines said at the fellowship's 20th anniversary banquet in advance of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Baltimore.

"We must become a force. If we don't become a force, we will die. We have got to accept and admit ... we have not done all we could, but we can do better," Vines said. "So from now on instead of saying we used to not give to , we're gonna give to CP now. We used to go on missions, we're gonna go on missions now."

African Americans have been a part of the SBC since its 1845 inception, he said, when black membership numbered 100,000 mostly slaves who attended the churches of slaveholders. Vines encouraged African American pastors to make the necessary financial sacrifices to increase CP giving and international missions participation.

"God has called us to a place to do more. We just can't be the minstrels anymore. Not only can we sing, we can serve. Not only can we sing, we can lead," said Vines, who pastors the multi-ethnic New Seasons Baptist Church in Spring Valley, Calif. "We're not just minstrels, we're servants of the Most High God. One thing we're gonna do, live beyond the expectations of us ... live what God has called us as a people to do."

Through a new partnership with IMB, every future NAAF president will go on an annual international missions trip, said Vines, who went to India as NAAF president.

Vines preached from Philippians 3:12-14, encouraging NAAF to accept the past as only a page in its history and to turn the page to a new chapter.

"This one thing we shall do -- we're not celebrating our past happiness," Vines said. "Look outside. People are dying right now in our cities, and they're waiting for us ... to go out into the cities. I don't care if redefine urban, urban still means the hood. And everybody can't do hood."

NAAF installed new officers elected hours earlier at its business meeting and recognized presidents dating to the group's 1994 inception.

The new president is K. Marshall Williams, chairman of the Southern Baptist African American Advisory Council and 30-year pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa. Other officers are vice president Byron J. Day, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Laurel, Md.; Frank Williams, secretary/treasurer, assistant pastor of Bronx Baptist Church and interim pastor of Wake Eden Community Baptist Church, both in Bronx, N.Y.; and historian/parliamentarian Michael Pigg, pastor of Philadelphia Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga.

Vines will remain active in NAAF as representative for the Pacific region. Brian King, senior pastor of Ezekiel Baptist Church in Philadelphia, will serve another term as NAAF's Eastern region representative; Garland Moore, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Milan, N.M., will continue as Mountain region representative; and Jeffrey Friend, pastor of Suburban Baptist Church in New Orleans, remains the Central region representative.

Past presidents were honored for their service: Joe Samuel Ratliff, 1994-95; Elisha W. McCall, 1996-97; Eugene L. Gibson, 1998, deceased; Joseph Lyles, 1999-2001; George O. McCalep, 2002-03, deceased; Robert Anderson, 2004-05; Mark A. Croston, 2006-08; Michael R. Pigg, 2009-10; and James Dixon, 2011-12.

A number of Southern Baptist leaders attended the banquet, including outgoing SBC President Fred Luter; SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page; Ken Weathersby, SBC Executive Committee vice president for convention advancement; O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources; Ken Winter, IMB vice president for church and partner services; and representatives of other SBC entities.

NAAF held its annual worship service on Sunday, June 8, at Seventh Metro Church, 30 E. North Ave., Baltimore, with pastor Ryan Palmer as host.

Past NAAF president Joseph Lyles, pastor of Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Md., preached on "A Miracle in the Midst of the Famine," from 2 Kings 7:1-9, focusing on the five-fold blessing of food, water, gold, silver and clothing found at the uttermost part of the camp of the Syrians and enumerated in 2 Kings 7:8.

"Sometimes our blessings and our miracles are not at the entrance of the camp or situation," Lyles said. "Sometimes it's not in the middle of a tent. By faith in God ... you've got to go to the uttermost part of your situation."

Diana Chandler is general assignment writer/editor for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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