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Equipping Leaders Newsletter

January 2020

We enter 2020 with a number of churches that are seeking pastors.  These include:  Agape Baptist Church, Central Baptist Church, Comunidad de Brasil, First Jericho Baptist Church, Forest Heights Baptist Church, Iglesia Bautista Emanuel, Israel Baptist Church, Luther Rice Baptist Church, Montgomery Hills Baptist Church, National Baptist Memorial, Resurrection Baptist Church, Riverside Baptist Church, Spirit of Peace Baptist Church and True Gospel Baptist Church.  New to this list is Central Baptist Church whose pastor retired in December.  Two of the churches on the list also saw their pastors retire:  Montgomery Hills Baptist Church and Riverside Baptist Church.  Both of these have been anticipating the retirement of their respective pastors and have been a focus of prayer for some months.  Let us pray for all these churches and for their members as they continue to serve Christ either without a pastor or with an interim pastor.  Let us pray for those within the churches who have the responsibility of searching for a new pastor. 


            We can be heartened in the fact that several of our churches have recently called pastors to serve among them.  This includes Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Paramount Baptist Church, and Village Baptist Church.  Let us give thanks for the fact that these churches have found a minister who senses God’s call to serve that church and to work among us of the D.C. Baptist Convention.  Continue to pray for these churches and these three pastors as they settle into the challenge of ministry within metropolitan Washington. 


            Along with all this change of pastorates, let us not forget to pray for those pastors who have retired from paid ministry.  These three include:  Dr. Michael Bledsoe, Rev. Joel Hawthorne and Dr. Ishmael Shaw.  Rev. Shaw is struggling with the loss of sight that he is experiencing; so we can pray for him in that affliction.  Pray for both Michael and Joel as they adjust to a less hectic schedule and as they reflect on the lessons which God has given them through ministry across the years.  Pray that each of these pastors may find good health and joy as they continue to live into the future God gives them. 


            This week the Area of Equipping Leaders is hosting a retreat at the Clagett Conference Center near Buckeystown, MD.  The retreat will be led by Rev. Lisa Banks-Williams and the President of the DCBC, Rev. Dr. Donald Kelly.  We are somewhat surprised that so few have responded to the invitation offered to participate, but perhaps God desires a limited response on this first pastoral retreat effort.  Give thanks for the support of the Retreat through the NCAMO (The Blessing) offering.  Pray that both the leaders and the participants will have a good time of relaxation, relationship and growth through these sessions.


            This is also a year of transition for the DCBC.  Robert Cochran announced in June of 2019 of his intention to retire on April 1 after he turns 66 during March.  The convention has an appointed Search Team in process of seeking a new Executive Director/Minister.  This chairperson of this team is Mrs. Charlotte Peddicord who is appointed by office in her role as Chair of the Human Resources Committee.  Give thanks for this team, for its diligent work at this time and continue to pray for them.  Pray also for the person whom the team ultimately will focus on and for the embrace of the DCBC of the person who becomes the Executive Director/Minister. 


            We celebrate the fact that the John Leland Center for Theological Studies (JLC) has become recently an affiliated member of the DCBC.  DC Baptists have known this seminary which is in northern Virginia over the 20 years of its life.   JLC has ministered to people within the DCBC in many ways and has graduated many who serve in various roles within the churches of the DCBC.  Further, the new President, Dr. William Smith, was once a member of the DCBC staff (Director of the Johenning Center) and later a pastor at Riverside Baptist Church.  Now, the seminary has joined as an affiliated member of the DCBC, a role made possible by our current bylaws.  Pray for the seminary and for the students as they begin the new semester during the last week of January. 


            While we pray for the JLC as mentioned above, let us also pray for all who are returning classes.  Ask God to use the courses that they take—whether in elementary, middle, or high school or in college, university or seminary—to help prepare them as leaders within our society and within congregations scattered across metropolitan Washington and beyond.  Let us also join in prayer for those who will teach them.  Pray also for the safety of these students and these teachers as they begin and continue through the school term. 


            Among those who will begin study this month we find Rev. Starlette Thomas and Rev. Andre Towner, both leaders within the DCBC.  Starlette serves as Minister to Empower Congregations, and Andre serves as Minister to Engage Communities.  Each of these will be beginning a DMin program.  Pray for both of these friends as they begin this course of study and ask God to help them to find meaning in it while they increase in their abilities to serve the churches of the DCBC and the communities of greater Washington.


            We will also participate in the preparation for ministry among the students at the Chin Christian University in Hakha, Chin State, Myanmar during the month of January.  Three will be taking the volunteer mission trip to work among the students and the pastors of the churches in the Chin State city of Hakha.  Pray for these as they travel, making the long journey to Myanmar, as they teach and as they return.  Give thanks to God for the opportunity to participate in service among the people of Myanmar in this way.


            Thank you for praying for these and other concerns as we continue to work to develop Christian leaders within the DCBC.

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