By Delanda S. Johnson/Special to HCN
This was the theme for the 15th Session of the North Texas Conference held September 26-29 in Dallas, Texas with Rev. Dr. C. Dennis Williams and Smith Chapel A. M. E. Church family hosting. Bethel A. M. E. Church in Dallas; under the leadership of Rev. Darrell Caldwell held the opening and closing services.
Presiding Prelate The Rt. Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie and her husband Dr. Stan McKenzie addressed the congregation with this opening statement.
Bishop McKenzie stated, “This year “Intentional Initiative” means; “Getting Started, Staying Strong, and Getting It Done.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Furthermore, Bishop McKenzie stated, “Doing church can be a whirlwind of activities. Events range from Sabbath worship, Bible study, meetings, etc.–if you’re not careful, you’ll get stuck in the whirlwind of being busy but not BLESSED!! This is where church and people get off track. We fail to focus because we’re caught up in that whirlwind or trying to tackle too many things at the same time. Without focus, anything and everything is important at the same time. Being INTENTIONAL means you’re able to prioritize. INTENTIONAL says that you have determined ahead of time what you will work on, thing about, plan, and how you will allocate human and financial resources. The Intentional Initiative is your invitation to participate in a focused incremental process to develop on overarching vision, set goals, established a game plan, get started, stay strong, and get it done. During this Annual Conference season, we will emphasize being Intentional in our personal, family, and congregational lives. Jesus Christ is our role model. The gospels bare witness that the Lord was fully present wherever He went. It didn’t matter whether He was healing, teaching, resting, praying or hanging our with the disciples; He was always focused on the main deal–the redemption of humankind. Jesus Christ used His time, energy, resources, and attention wisely; we must do the same as this is what Intentional Initiative is all about. So, Let’s Get Started! Let’s Stay Strong! Let’s Get It Done!!”
After receiving these powerful words of encouragement, each Pastor and Delegate from the Dallas and Tyler Districts were required to answer roll call.
Delanda S. Johnson represented Johnson Chapel A. M. E. Church in Malakoff and Ms. Claudine Blakemore represented Allen Chapel A. M. E. Church in Athens, both are on the Tyler District.
The Annual Conference moved forward with the Hour Of Power service. Presiding Elder Rev. Walter McDonald (Dallas District) moved the congregation with a empowering message; coming from Exodus 3:6-12 “Someone God Can Use.” P. E. Rev. McDonald said, “We must draw nearer to God. We must ask ourselves, “Where is our spirituality?” It is God’s intention that we must seek His Will; knowing that God will be with you. That’s what helps us in these times; knowing that God is always there. It is said, “If God is with us, who will be against us.”
On Friday morning, Rev. Bill Burton (Athens) taught a class on “ Resurrection Essential to the Gospel.”
“With this year’s Conference theme “Intentional” Getting Started, Staying Strong, and Getting It Done,” you must have a vision. You must keep the faith that God has everything under control. Gave everyone a GIFT. You must stir-up your GIFT; you must be humble. When you are “Intentional” you will receive a VICTORY,” said Rev. Burton.
The noon day service sermon was given by Rev. Jackie Prim (Dallas). Her subject “Bad To The Bone–Intentional Anointing” coming from 2 King 13:20-21. This message focused on knowing that we all can be “Bad to the Bone.” Rev. Prim asked the congregation, “Are you willing to get your hands dirty?” Rev. Prim said, “Many don’t think big enough. We think small before realizing that everything grows BIG. We need to stop trying to work GOD; for He will supply all of our needs. We must come our from behind the shadows and let the world know that GOD is “INTENTIONAL” to your needs; for you see, we are “BAD TO THE BONE.”
Friday night the North Texas Conference Lay Organization along with the YPD Department presented a spiritual and powerful musical program. North Texas Conference Lay Organization under the leadership of Bro. Frank Robinson awarded three students $500 scholarships in the memory of the late Presiding Elder Rev. James W. Ford.
Bishop McKenzie closed the conference with a strong powerful message. Coming from Daniel 9:17-19 with a theme of “Intentional Prayer–The Strength To Pull You Through” spoke as to the mental state of Daniel. Daniel was a praying man and let nothing stop him from praying to God. If we look at Daniel, he was a man who was not going to pray to idols or just stop praying; he loved the Lord and he knew that the Lord would answer his prayer.
“We are faced with terrorism, people not believing in the Lord, sexual harassment, etc., we are not focus on the most important thing; which is “where will I spent eternity?”
As stated at the beginning of the conference Jesus Christ is our role model. It is INTENTIONAL that we seek the GREATER POWER; to witness to others, to pray in and out of season, to prioritize our lives, to pray knowing that there is power and strength coming to you when you pray. God wants us to stay strong and always be focus on the redemption of humankind,” said Bishop McKenzie.
As the conference begin to come to its close, the financial team gave their report; stating that the North Texas Conference for this year raised approximately $6,084.00 for Paul Quinn College, Hurricane relief approximately $8,651.00, and overall raised approximately $56,000.00.
Bishop McKenzie read off all Pastoral Appointments and Rev. Bill Burton will remain at Allen Chapel AME Church in Athens; while Rev. Keith Ray will remain at Johnson Chapel AME Church in Malakoff.