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D.C. Baptists devote afternoon to prayer for ministerial leaders

WASHINGTON (BP)–A prayer gathering focused on ministerial leadership was among the highlights of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, Oct. 24-25 at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington.

Phil Busbee, pastor of First Baptist Church in San Francisco who led the Monday afternoon prayer initiative, shared his personal experience and understanding of the power of prayer in the local church. Proclaiming the importance of praise as preparatory to worship and prayer in opening the session, Busbee invited Thomas Tyler, organist and choir director at Shiloh Baptist Church, to lead in a time of praise.

Busbee then spoke on the importance of prayer in the life of the individual and in corporate worship, inviting the delegates to proceed to five areas staffed with intercessors to minister to each person through prayer for healing, spiritual growth, church needs or other related concerns.

Jay Wells, of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention said during his greetings to the convention that he had attended dozens of annual meetings but had never experienced anything similar to the spiritual experience of the prayer time. Numerous delegates voiced similar comments to Wells’ about the instruction and experience in prayer led by Busbee.

On Tuesday afternoon, Busbee met with pastors and prayer leaders during the convention’s breakout sessions to continue his teaching on prayer and to field questions and requests from the group. Busbee spoke on the touch of Jesus as recorded in Mark 5:21-43 and addressed the question of, How do I know that Jesus hears and responds to my prayer requests? In pursuit of the answer, he challenged listeners to pray earnestly, to pray humbly, to pray expectantly, to pray honestly, to pray courageously and to pray boldly.

Other breakout sessions dealt with conflict transformation and ministry to people in crisis.

Paul Clark, an independent consultant and former pastor of National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, reviewed what is good and bad about conflict, listed characteristics of a healthy church, shared what happens in the life of a congregation when conflict goes unresolved and noted various sources of help for a congregation.

Kareem Goubran of Graffiti Community Center in New York City guided participants in role-playing biblical truths and challenged them with ways to minister to people in crisis.

In addition to Busbee, other featured speakers during the convention were Kenneth G. Ulmer, pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, Calif.; Steve Hyde, pastor of Ravensworth Baptist Church in Annandale Va.; and David Freshour, pastor of Chevy Chase Baptist Church in Washington.

Freshour was elected as the convention’s president; David McElveen, church administrator of Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Md., vice president; and LaTricia (Tish) Jones of Georgetown Baptist Church, recording secretary. The convention’s outgoing president is Annette James of First Baptist Church in Hyattsville, Md.

Delegates voted to refer the proposed 2006 budget, totaling $1,011,147, back to the convention’s finance committee for further consideration and to instruct the convention’s executive board to approve a new budget by Jan. 31, with DCBC churches to be notified when the board is scheduled to meet.

An Oct. 22 youth-led pre-convention rally featured David Jackson II of Believer’s Christian Fellowship in New York City. Jones described the rally as an effort “to bring up a new generation trained to attend an annual meeting.”

Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 23-24 at Mount Jezreel Baptist Church in Silver Spring Md.

The convention is aligned with three national bodies: American Baptist Churches, Progressive National Baptist Convention and Southern Baptist Convention.

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