National Preaching Conference to Celebrate Voice of the African American Pulpit


WACO—Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary and the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching, in partnership with Texas Baptists African American Ministries, will host the National African American Preaching Conference on Sept. 24-26.

This three-day conference is organized by 30 dedicated ministers from varying denominations who demonstrate partnership and cooperation between Texas churches. Its theme is“Black Preaching at the intersection of the Academy and Ministry: The Liberating Voice of Black Preaching in America.” 

“The conference will especially note the 400th anniversary of slavery and the power of black pulpit speaking against slavery's evil agenda,” said Dr. Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at Baylor and director of the Kyle Lake Center. 

The conference will welcome distinguished speakers from across the nation, including senior pastors Dr. William H. Curtis of Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, PA; Dr. Charlie Dates of Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, IL; Dr. Phillip Pointer of Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock, AR; and Dr. Ralph Douglas West of The Church Without Walls in Houston, TX. Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is also a featured speaker at this year’s conference. 

In addition, Dr. Joe Samuel Ratliff, pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston, TX, will receive the Legacy Award and speak at the noontime banquet on Sept. 25.

Roy Cotton, director of African American Ministries at Texas Baptists and a member of the conference’s steering committee, spoke about what attendees can expect from the conference. 

“We want to bridge the gap between generations by considering both the history of African American preaching as well as its contemporary state and future direction,” Cotton said. 

Along with featured speakers, the conference will include “Five Things Your Church Needs to Know” breakout sessions. These forums are designed to spark conversations among church leaders and members about law, accounting, public health, social work and social media in the church.  

“Theologically-sound and culturally-relevant African American preaching is an art,” said Cotton when asked about the importance of celebrating African American heritage in the pulpit. It involves the use of words and semantics to impress people with a message that goes from the head to the heart.”

The National African American Preaching Conference will be held from the morning of Sept. 24 to the evening of Sept. 26 at Truett Seminary, 1100 South 3rd, Waco, TX, on the campus of Baylor University. The event has a $99 registration fee, which includes attendance to the Legacy Banquet scheduled for noon on Sept. 25.

For more information or to register, please click here.  

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