FORT WORTH -- Applause and "amens" resounded as African American Baptists were charged to be armed and ready during the 22nd annual James W. Culp, Sr. Banquet on July 8.
The African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference welcomed guest speaker Dr. Howard E. Anderson, pastor of The Exciting Singing Hill Baptist Church in Dallas, as he challenged the audience to be ready for spiritual warfare.
"When you have an invisible enemy, you don't have time to get ready, you have to already be ready," he said. "When we put on the whole armor, we are ready for wherever he is."
Though struggles come and the devil tempts, there is a power who can and will handle all situations, Anderson said. He read through Ephesians 6 encouraging the audience to turn to the Holy Spirit, the Bible and the blood of Christ to fight against the enemy's schemes.
"I want you to get out where the strongholds are," he began to sing with an assistant playing notes on the keyboard. "I want you to go and make disciples. I want you to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!"
One by one audience members began to stand as though they were proclaiming readiness to take the charge to be armored and ready for whatever the enemy has coming and to share the good news of the gospel.
The banquet also consisted of fellowship time with a meal and musical presentations by the choir from First Missionary Baptist Church in Ft. Worth.
Reverend James W. Culp, Sr. attended the event with his wife and family by his side. Culp served as Coordinator of the Black Church Development Division of the BGCT for over 18 years. When he started, there were 80 black churches related to the convention. When he retired in 2001, there were over 700.
In closing remarks of the banquet Rev. Oscar Epps, president of the African American Fellowship, said, "We're further than we've ever been and we're going further than we are tonight. But we cannot do it by ourselves -- Together we can do more than any of us can do alone."