This blog is part 2 of pastoral reflections leading up to the celebration of my 36th year in ministry and my 4th year as Senior Pastor of the historic Canaan Baptist Church of Christ.
Most of you reading this probably don't recognize the name Bennie Hicks. Bennie accepted the Lord Jesus Christ on an August afternoon during our annual evangelism cookout in E.M. Moore parking lot. He was presented to the Canaan Congregation, completed his new disciples training, was baptized (after several delays due to repairs on our baptistery) missed receiving the right hand of fellowship but attended Church soon thereafter to receive his fellowship and baptismal certificate. Some of you will recall that I invited Bennie to the pulpit to receive this acknowledgement.
In 36 years of ministry, I have never witnessed an individual who pursued their membership in the Body of Christ with such passion. He was relentless. After several postponements he even admonished me about when his baptism would occur. When I eventually baptized Bennie, he remained in the pool for several minutes before ascending the stairway to celebrate his new found faith. I will never forget the Sunday I presented Bennie his baptismal certificate. Not many hours after the benediction that day, Bennie died after being hit by a car on Henry Hudson Parkway in New York City. That day we lost a special person in our congregation and our personal lives; but he went to God with ticket in hand. He met in Savior at the Evangelism cookout, and saw his savior on the Lord’s Day, the day he received the right hand of fellowship into the local church.
Evangelism doesn't get much press in the modern Church. That's okay because Evangelism was never intended to be the public relations department of the Church. It is the means by which the Church honors The Great Commission; going into the world and preaching the Gospel to every creature. Evangelism is not something we choose to do; it is something we must do.
While I look forward to eventually assigning a minister of Evangelism, the Canaan Evangelism Commission works tirelessly to reach out to those in the world with a message from the Lord. As part of our church wide vision, the Commission, under the leadership of Chairperson Gloria Evans, conducted a sidewalk ministry in front of Canaan in connection with the Spring Revival. They sang hymns, passed out tracts and witnessed to walkers bye about God and invited many to attend our services. I am so proud of this dedicated group of Christians and I look forward to seeing what God will do through our Evangelism Commission next.
I dedicate this blog in loving memory of Brother Bennie Hicks!