National African American Fellowship to ‘Fill the Gap’ and Help Train Church Staff in Discipleship, Evangelism and Missions

California Southern Baptist Convention Executive Director Bill Agee, left, shown with National African American Fellowship Executive Director Dennis Mitchell, leads one of the first state conventions to enlist the help of the African American Ministry Assist Team NAAF is sponsoring.
Photo by Diana Chandler

Through a new initiative of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention, consultants are available to help state conventions train church staff in discipleship, evangelism, missions and community ministries.

NAAF’s African American Ministry Assist Team (AAMAT) is designed to fill Southern Baptist resource gaps that NAAF said are widening for the nearly 4,000 African American churches in the SBC.

AAMAT will fill a critical need for both churches and state conventions, said NAAF President Marshal Ausberry Sr., pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax, Va.

“We just can’t keep walking on by as we see our brothers and sisters in need,” Ausberry said. “The overall goal is not only to stand in the gap, but to fill the gap by providing trained volunteer ministry consultants who will provide technical assistance to the local church.”

AAMAT consists of an initial group of 13 specialists aiding Southern Baptist state conventions in California, Georgia and Florida. State denominational leaders in Louisiana, Ohio and Oklahoma have expressed interest in the program designed for national implementation, NAAF leaders said.

Ausberry described AAMAT as a financial benefit to both churches and conventions, and said the initiative increases the conventions’ benefit to churches.

“State conventions in effect add church consulting resourcing personnel with a minimum financial investment. That’s just good management by the state conventions,” Ausberry said. “It also sends the message to the churches that their state conventions are proactive in providing high quality ministry consulting services from experienced practitioners — a tremendous benefit for being part of a local state convention.”

AAMAT, initiated in 2017 under the term of former NAAF president Byron Day, trained its first class of consultants July 16-20 during the 2018 Black Church Leadership and Family Conference at Ridgecrest, N.C. Initial participants are ministry specialists in states where conventions have expressed an interest.

“The ultimate goal is to establish a ministry assist team in every state where we have an existing African American fellowship,” said AAMAT project development team leader Eugene McCormick, pastor of Christian education at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Diana Chandler