SBC Digest: Ga. names African American consultant; WMU Blume
Georgia Baptists have named Dennis Mitchell as African American consultant. Excitement continues to build for Blume, a 2020 Woman's Missionary Union gathering for girls.
Mitchell agrees to consultant role with Georgia Baptists alongside NAAF duties
By Scott Barkley
The purpose for his involvement, Mitchell told The Index, is "to help African American churches more effectively engage in Georgia Baptist work and Georgia Baptist churches to have a greater appreciation of African-American churches."
Mitchell, who served as pastor of Greenforest Community Baptist Church in Decatur from December 2007-August 2016, first became familiar with Georgia Baptist Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr. from their days at the North American Mission Board.
"It was the [Home Mission Board] back then," he said. "He was in evangelism and I was in church planting. When the HMB morphed into NAMB, Thomas became a senior director of evangelism and I became a senior director of church planting."
Transitioning to executive director of NAAF in 2017 brought Mitchell into a leadership role over some 4,000 Southern Baptist churches with majority African American memberships. Mitchell's work with Georgia Baptists will be like one he currently has with NAMB as an "ambassador."
"Kevin Ezell asked a number of African American pastors to help churches see the benefit and work that happens through the Cooperative Program," Mitchell said. "We help build that connection."
Mitchell sees his role in the current Georgia Baptist restructuring as "perfectly complementing" what he's doing on the national level.
"I want to come alongside Georgia Baptist leadership and connect more effectively with black Southern Baptist churches in Georgia as well as help those churches become connected within the Georgia Baptist Convention. Looking at it, it's amazing how God brought this all together.
"The end goal is to forge healthier, more productive, kingdom-focused partnerships between the SBC nationally, NAMB, and the GBC."
Mitchell sees a new focus within the Georgia Baptist restructuring and regional concept as "a critical part of that objective" to provide more support to all churches, including African American ones. And to that point, he anticipates partnering with Anglo churches as well.
"I can't tell you how frequently I come across Anglo pastors wanting to bring diversity to their congregations," he said. "They want to learn how to engage with African American churches, make their staffs more inclusive. This isn't just about African Americans, but for all of us to advance on this issue.
"I heard one brother say that up to this point we've had more monologue than dialogue. We have to commit to taking this journey together."
Scott Barkley serves as editor of The Christian Index. Top of Form
Excitement continues to build for WMU Blume, a missions gathering for girls in 2020
by Robin McCall
Sponsored by Woman's Missionary Union (WMU), Blume will take place July 8–11, 2020, at Germantown Baptist Church in Memphis, Tann. At Blume, girls in grades 5–12 will be challenged to serve others and fulfill their part in God's plan as they hear from nationally known speakers and missionaries, pray and worship together, and go out into the community to serve.
"Blume is an event that is a missional catalyst for the young women of the up and coming generation," said Tori Richards, ministry assistant to the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board's WMU department, of her experiences at Blume as a student. "They get to learn about what is going on in their world and how they can be the change that makes the difference for the kingdom of God."
Blume's Bible study leader is Amy-Jo Girardier, author of "Authentic Love and Faithful One," editor of girlsminister.com, and girls minister and missions coordinator at Brentwood Baptist Church. Singer-songwriter duo Jonathan and Emily Martin, and Christian emcee Juliana Wilson will join Girardier in leading worship. In addition, girls will have the opportunity to enjoy a concert led by Holly Starr.
Registration is now open for Blume, with early-bird rates available through Jan. 31, 2020. Regular registration is open until May 1, 2020. Girls and their leaders or parents can visit blumeforgirls.com for details about the event and to register.
Reflecting on personal experiences, WMU Executive Director Sandy Wisdom-Martin said she believes that Blume transforms the lives of every person who attends, from the very youngest girl to the most mature leader.
"I have had the privilege of attending this event as a teenager, taking youth as a young adult and participating with my own child," Wisdom-Martin said. "Each and every time I considered it an experience of a lifetime. It's true leaders may get little sleep and make countless sacrifices. Yet it's worth everything when the trajectory of someone's life is impacted for all eternity because they become a more committed Christ follower. So sign me up. I want to have that kind of impact on a teenage girl and the Kingdom."
Tori Richards echoes her feelings about the impact of Blume, "God used Blume to instill a passion for missions and helping others in my own heart. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of such a life-changing experience!"