Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Reverend Aldridge "Pop" Miller Health Station

One of the greatest blessings in my ministry has been meeting, knowing and serving with the late Reverend Aldridge Miller. For many years Reverend Miller or “Pops” as he was affectionately called, served as Pastor of Visitation for Canaan Baptist Church of Christ. His commitment to Christian ministry was nothing short of remarkable. To the very end, he was a preacher and pastoral care giver to so many Canaan Disciples and others throughout the community. His ministry was one of showing mercy to others.

Among our many achievements in year 4, I am very proud of our decision to rename our nurses room as the Reverend Aldridge “Pops” Miller Health Station. Through the hard work of Bethesda ministry, the good will of others who choose to be unnamed and the support of the Canaan Family, this heath station is equipped with a comfortable recliner, first-aid material, diagnostic equipment for hypertension and diabetes and appropriate beverages for those who become ill during our worship service. This new heath station is a huge step in the right direction. We are now prepared to bring aid to those taken ill while at Canaan with a modernly equipped room and a qualified nursing staff. We have already seen the benefits of this ministry and I am certain we will have a growing appreciation for health care services provided at our health station.

Anyone who knew “Pop Miller,” will understand how appropriate it was to name this center for a man who truly exemplified holistic ministry in both word and deed. He was blessed with the gift of healing and each one of us is the better because he passed our way. Thank God for the REVEREND ALDRIDGE “POPS” MILLER HEALTH CENTER!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Evangelism: Still the Mission of the Church

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!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reflections of a Pastor

April 2010 is a special time in my life as a Christian minister. In a couple of weeks, I will celebrate my 36th year as clergy and my 4th year as Senior Pastor of this historic Canaan Baptist Church of Christ. Leading up to our congregational celebration of my pastorate, I will be writing several blogs highlighting, from a pastoral perspective, what God has helped Canaan and Pastor to accomplish during the past year. I will be most appreciative to Canaan Disciples and persons who visit our website around the world if you would take time to read my reflections.

This week I took a little time of to rest and reflect on what God continues to do in my life, the lives of my family members and those whom the Lord has sent me to serve. This is something I encourage each of you to do from time to time. It is only when we step away for a moment that we can fully appreciate what is amazing about God’s grace. The Apostle Paul was right; His grace is sufficient to keep us.

For 36 years I have tried to honor the calling on my life to shepherd the People of God wherever the Lord sent me. I lost count many years ago of how many sermons I have preached, Bible studies conducted, marriages performed, babies dedicated and funerals preached and so much else ministers all called upon to do in the parish and beyond. During the last few days I have tried to look back and capsulate my collective experiences as a Pastor. Needless to say, they have far exceeded my imagination and the expectations of others. I can truly say God has been faithful! My colleagues in this vocation will surely agree that ministry by any standard is extremely challenging. And yet, most of us who are called to this work continue to press toward the mark to receive the approval of God. Not every preacher reaches the 36-year mark of service. I have and I am grateful to God. I was 17 years old when I preached my first sermon in April 1974. The Lord has been with me every step of the way. Praise the Lord!

I will continue these thoughts via my blog from now up to the anniversary celebration. Thank you for visit our website and for sharing these reflections with me.