INDIANAPOLIS -- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, received the highest honor, Dr. Emmanuel L. McCall Denominational Servant Award, by the Black Southern Baptist Denominational Network at its annual meeting in Indianapolis, June 13.
McCall was one of the pioneers in the movement to bring African Americans into the SBC. The plague presented to Mohler reads that he received the award for “role modeling the highest characteristics of the Black Southern Baptist Denominational Servants Network embodied in the life and ministry of Emmanuel L. McCall."
Sid Smith, the network's executive director, recognized Mohler’s commitment to enhance black church studies at the seminary.
Smith said Dr. Mohler received the award, "Because Dr. Mohler has embodied the commitment to train Baptist ministers, because he has embraced black church studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, because he has embraced intercultural studies at the seminary, and because he has put in place Lawrence Smith as vice president of communications."
"What a humbling experience to receive this award," Mohler said as he was receiving the award. "I accept it on behalf of the seminary, which is working hard at its commitment to fulfill its role in building the Kingdom of God throughout all tribes and peoples and nations.
"The Lord God our Creator thrills in the differences among the nations," Mohler said at the banquet meeting, which took place at Gabriel Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis. "This is the way He made us, for His purposes.... We rejoice in the unity of all the saints across the world testifying before the Lord."
The network's annual meeting also included various reports, other awards and the presidential address by Rosevelt Morris, director of prayer and spiritual awakening with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Morris spoke from Revelation 3 about defining moments, and about the danger of losing your first love, during his presidential address.
"We are progressing; the momentum is building," Smith said during his executive director's report. "We need more members and more involvement, but things are coming along well in the Black Southern Baptist Denominational Servants Network."
Hall of Servanthood awards were given to Tom Kelly, former director of the California Southern Baptist Convention’s African American ministries department; Jim Culp of director of African American ministries for Texas convention; and Willie McPherson, leader in African American ministries in Florida who is now in Illinois. Victor Ketchens, the retired director of African American church planting for the New York Baptist Convention received the Founders Award.
The network's new officers for 2004-05 were also appointed at the meeting: Rosevelt Morris, president; Dennis Mitchell, director of the church planting team at NAMB, vice president; Ken Ellis, chaplaincy evangelism associate at NAMB, secretary; and Maxie Miller, coordinator for African American church planting for the Florida Baptist Convention, treasurer.
About 80 of the 200 or more African Americans employed by associational, state and national entities of the SBC are the active members of the network, which was established in 1997 to mentor and encourage denominational servants.