Sugar Land—A lineup of passionate speakers and jubilant worship at this year's African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference (AAFC) made for a spirit of joy and encouragement amongst guests, giving them a "charge to keep," as the conference theme stated.
At The Fort Bend Baptist Church in Sugar Land July 14-16, hundreds of pastors and lay leaders of African American churches gathered together to take part in the conference, which featured a Tuesday night Jim W. Culp, Sr. Banquet followed by two days of worship services, workshops, exhibit displays and the introduction of the 2016 state officers.
At Wednesday morning's celebration worship service, Rev. Oscar Epps, 2015 president of the AAF, presented a riveting sermon on God's impeccable timing in showing up.
At the evening service, special guest speaker Rev. H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, inspired and enthused the congregation to be reminded of God's ability to keep people on their feet when the devil's goal is to try to make them stumble.
"The now of your difficult circumstances cannot trump the now of God's sovereign authority!" Charles exclaimed, bringing the crowd to their feet in "amens" and applause.
He also reminded guests of the goodness of God in sending Jesus to take an unfair punishment for the believers' sake.
"Jesus came to earth to live the life you should've lived," he said, "then He died the death you should have died!"
Proceeding Charles' sermon, The Fort Bend Church choir, clothed in white choir robes, stretched across the length of the stage, led the congregation in worshipful song.
Following the sermon, guests gave an offering that will be used for the ministries of the African American Fellowship of Pastors.
At the conclusion of the service, Rev. Gleen Samuels, pastor of New Millennium Baptist Church in Lubbock, presented the 2016 state officers for the African American Fellowship.
The following pastors were elected to serve this next year as officers: Ponce Brown, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in El Paso, as president; Elmo Johnson, pastor of Rose of Sharon Baptist Church in Houston, as vice president; Leonard Hornsby, executive pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, as treasurer; Michael Joseph, pastor of New Providence Baptist Church in Houston, as assistant treasurer; and Joe Fields, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Lewisville, as secretary.
Guests of this year's conference had five opportunities to participate in workshops of their choice. From classes centered around church administration to women's ministry to church planting, there were options catered to all types of ministry.