2020 African American Worship Rally encourages community and boldness


On Sunday, Nov. 15, the Texas Baptists African American Worship Rally took place virtually, with church and convention leaders sharing messages from around Texas. The rally was held in conjunction with the 2020 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Edward Wagner, vice president of the African American Fellowship of Texas Baptists (AAFT), opened the meeting with a call for attendees to let God be God and work in His own, powerful ways during the rally.

“As we call you to worship this evening, we are going to let God be God,” Wagner said. “We cannot be together physically, but we can most certainly worship together in spirit.” 

Kenneth O. Jackson, president of AAFT and pastor of New Light Baptist Church in Lubbock, delivered the message from Acts 4:13. He recounted the story of Peter and John, who were brought before the Sanhedrin and ordered to not speak about Jesus. They refused, however, saying that they could not be quiet after all they had witnessed. Jackson encouraged attendees to be as bold as Peter and John were.

“Keep being a bold witness. Keep telling people about the goodness of Christ,” he said. 

Jackson reminded the rally that Peter and John were fishermen standing in front of some of the most powerful men in Judaism, and yet everyone could tell that there was something different about them.  

“When you have been in the presence of Jesus, you don’t have to tell anyone else. Because people who haven’t been with Jesus, they’re most certainly going to see the light of Jesus in you,” Jackson explained. 

Greetings were extended by David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists, and Michael A. Evans Sr., Texas Baptists president.

“I pray that you are all blessed today and invite others to come and see what God is doing through our convention,” Evans said. 

A praise dance was shown by Cornerstone Church Divine Motion, and Patrick Bradley, minister of music at Westside Baptist Church in Lewisville, led the Westside Mass Choir in a rendition of “Abundantly Blessed.”

Roy Cotton, interim director of African American Ministries, and Ray Malone, director of Human Resources, introduced Oza Jones as the new director of African American Ministries. Jones thanked Texas Baptists leadership and those who prepared the way for him to serve as director. 

“It is an honor and a blessing to be able to serve you … and we thank God for those who have gone before. I can’t wait to meet all of you in person after all of this is over,” Jones said. “I solicit your prayers as we lead that African American churches in Texas and beyond would carry out the Great Commission to the lost and carry out the Great Command to love all.”

To conclude the evening, Wagner encouraged rally attendees to participate in the Annual Meeting and proclaimed a benediction.

“May our hearts be inspired by your word to be a bold witness,” he said. “May we come together to advance your kingdom and for the advancement of the Gospel and to do the work of the Great Commission.”

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