DETROIT, MI – January 20, 2020 was not just another day in the winter season of Michigan. Yes, many remembered it was a National Holiday, Martin Luther King Jr Day. However, for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) it was a day of celebration at the statewide Martin Luther King Jr Service. The service was held at the Middlebelt Baptist Church where Larry Johnson is the Senior Pastor. BSCM Executive Director Tim Patterson was correct when he stated: "This will be a great time of celebration and unity for all churches in the Baptist State Convention". The atmosphere was one of unity and strength.
The service was opened with the Middlebelt Praise team lifting their voices in praise to our God, whose desire is for there to be unity in the Body of Christ. As the service progressed we heard from Merriam Road Baptist Church where Wayne Parker is the Senior Pastor. The choir inspired all who were in attendance with their harmony and joy. The music portion of the program ended with a combined choir singing with such soul stirring melody. As a result many of the congregation was moved to stand and express personal praise. Joyce Larkin stated "the music presented was voices directly connected to heaven".
The main course for the service was the preaching of God’s word. The congregation was captivated by the guest preacher, Rev. Dr. James Dixon who serves as pastor of El-Bethel Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Maryland. The theme for the service was "Removing the Dividing Walls" using Ephesians 2:13-14 as the background scripture. Pastor Dixon encouraged and challenged the congregation to be part of those who would actively take God’s Word and use it to remove the dividing walls, within our churches, community and state. He exhorted us to remove the walls of injustice, racism, sexism and denominationalism. This direction is very consistent with the beliefs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who once stated "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Pastor Dixon reminded the congregation Christian has to be the answer and the moving force behind removing the walls which divide us. He exhorted us to remove the walls by operating in the love of God. As the service ended, the congregation was given a ministry challenge to be intentional in reaching out to those who don’t look like you. Pastors were challenged to consider pulpit exchanges and have their congregation do a community project together to be an example to the world. We are praising God over a dozen churches signed up to participate in this challenge. Curt Wright, lead pastor of Crossroad Church of Lansing, accepted the challenge and he stated he had a great time at the MLK celebration.
Middlebelt members worked to serve a delicious meal after the service to all who wanted to gather together. There was laughter and good fellowship as those present shared the pleasure of good food. We thank Pastor Larry Johnson and the Middlebelt Baptist Church for hosting the service and the meal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stan Parker is senior pastor of Faith Fellowship Baptist Church in Lansing, MI and a regular contributor to the Baptist Beacon.