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Black pastors fellowship eyes Cooperative Program, missions, church planting

Walter Wilson worships during the 2023 National African American Fellowship banquet in New Orleans. BP file photo

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) – Engaging pastors in church planting, global missions and giving to the Cooperative Program are top goals of the National African American Fellowship (NAAF) of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2024.

The fellowship of some 4,000 African American pastors will focus on the goals while hosting its annual worship service, business meeting and missions banquet June 9-10 in advance of the 2024 SBC Annual Meeting, NAAF President Greg Perkins told Baptist Press.

“Our priorities are to increase NAAF churches’ giving to the Cooperative Program, to increase NAAF churches’ engagement in global missions and to increase NAAF churches’ in church planting and revitalization,” said Perkins, lead pastor of The View Church in Menifee, Calif.

“It’s important for NAAF churches to give to CP because we have to show our commitment to cooperatively participating in the work of the broader SBC,” Perkins said. “We want to be faithful partners, and the clearest way and most visible way to show our commitment to this partnership is through contributing faithfully to the Cooperative Program.”

Engaged in missions, the fellowship is launching the George Liele Global Initiative with its inaugural George Liele Mission Trip to Bog Walk, Jamaica, and surrounding areas June 20-25, with future locations to include Ghana and Ethiopia. Liele, a formerly enslaved Black man who became the first Baptist international missionary from America, is the initiative’s namesake.

“We honor the unique contribution of these countries to the Christian faith,” Perkins said in promoting the initiative, “and look forward to our partnership with our host country leaders to provide … opportunities to impact the whole person as we bring both the Gospel and life-shaping services to the distressed communities in each of these countries.”

NAAF is retooling a church-planting initiative it launched in 2021 with the North American Mission Board, Perkins said, and is excited to bring a greater focus in 2025 on planting churches in underserved, predominantly African American communities.

In Indianapolis, NAAF will hold its annual worship service Sunday, June 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the Father Hardin Gathertorium at Martin University, 2186 N. Sherman Dr. The guest preacher will be Clinton McFarland, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Stockbridge, Ga.

Martin University is the sole predominantly African American college in Indiana. The university promotes itself as a private liberal arts college founded in 1977 to offer access and opportunities to “persons who have been discounted, discouraged, and disregarded in the educational attainment process.”

At the annual business meeting, June 10 at 3:45 p.m. in Room 113 of the Indiana Convention Center, NAAF will elect officers, discuss partnerships with SBC entities, and hear various ministry reports and updates.

Perkins will preach the annual sermon at the George Liele Missions Banquet, themed “Mission Forward,” June 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wabash Room of the convention center. Scholarships for SBC seminary students and a special worship segment are on tap.

Banquet tickets, $65 each, are available here.