Dr. Charles Johnson's 60th Celebration
Sunday, July 25, 2021
On Sunday, July 25, Meridian Fitkins Memorial Church of the Nazarene celebrated the 60th pastoral anniversary of Dr. Charles Johnson. Johnson began his tenure in July of 1961 and has remained as the leader of Fitkins for 60 years. During that time, he has led Fitkins to be the largest Church of the Nazarene in the State of Mississippi. Over 40 pastors and ministers across several denominations trace their beginnings to his church.
Dr. Charles Johnson came to Meridian in 1961 and begin his ministry at the church, which consisted of a handful of adults and a few children, during a turbulent time of race relations in Mississippi. He was a big part of the civil rights movement and continues as a strong community leader today. He has also served as interim superintendent for the Mississippi District and as National Black Ministries Director for USA/Canada.
The celebration on July 25 began with a tribute in morning worship and a stirring message by Dr. Dwight Gunter, MidSouth district superintendent. Dr. Talmadge Johnson, general superintendent emeritus, along with several representatives from Trevecca Nazarene University were also present.
It continued that afternoon at 4 p.m. with a hallmark celebration that included several of Johnson’s “sons and daughters in the ministry,” along with an inspiring message from Rev. Dr. Charles Tillman, USA/Canada Black Ministries facilitator, who is also a product of Johnson’s ministry. The Fitkins’ Praise Team also gave a great musical tribute to Dr. Johnson. Greetings were also sent from the mayor and state senator’s office. The church also presented Johnson with a love offering as gratitude for his 60 years of selfless service to the church. Johnson plans to stay active until “the Lord says the same!”
Engagement with the Black Strategic Readiness Team
The Black Strategic Readiness Team (BSRT) was established by the 1968 General Assembly (then named the “Black Council”) as a resource to help develop strong Black leadership and to guide the church regarding issues of race. Throughout the intervening years, they have worked tirelessly for the Black Church of the Nazarene in the United States. The names and faces of the Council have changed, but today, the members are second and third generation Nazarenes who have a deep love and commitment to the message of scriptural holiness and the Church of the Nazarene.
Organized by the BSRT and supported by the USA/Canada Region, a National Black Nazarene Conference meets bi-annually and celebrates the life and work of the numerous Black Churches of the Nazarene in the United States and Canada. Desiring to enhance the commitment of the denomination to Black Nazarenes and their communities, the Board of General Superintendents has been specifically engaged for the last 18 months in strategic planning and prayer with the BSRT. Additional funding has been provided to Black ministries to help foster real and lasting change for the future of the church.
Choose a language below to continue reading this article from the Board of General Superintendents.
National Black Nazarene Conference COVID-19 Statement
Due to the health and economic impact of the coronavirus, I am sorry to inform you of the decision to cancel the National Black Nazarene Conference.
Participants who have already registered will receive a full refund to your credit card within 7-10 business days. No action is required to receive the refund.
We invite you to continue to join us in praying for the individuals and families impacted physically and financially by this crisis, as well as for the frontline healthcare and social service workers who are responding to it. We strongly urge you to continue to do your part to minimize the spread of the disease; be a good neighbor to those who are suffering and offer support to those who are most vulnerable.
If you have additional questions, please contact Dr. Charles Tillman, Black Ministries Facilitator, or Rev. Janice Ballard, our Global Health Consultant.
Be safe, and continue to look to Jesus Christ, our living hope.
Meet our Black Ministries Strategic Readiness Team (SRT)
The Black Strategic Readiness Team, led by facilitator Dr. Charles Tillman, meets annually to pray, plan and strategize for their perspective ethnic group in the USA/Canada. The team is comprised of Black pastors that have been approved by their District Superintendent and the Multicultural Ministries Director.
Click here to contact the team facilitator.
The Black Ministries Strategic Readiness Team shall help districts and local congregations in the following manner:
- To provide a voice for African-American and Black members of the Church of the Nazarene.
- To strengthen Black churches in the Church of the Nazarene.
- To identify potential target areas where new congregations could be started.
- To train and nurture leaders of our churches for gospel-inspired service to the Black community.
- To provide support for institutions that strengthen our community.
- To provide relevant ministry for our youth and young adults.
- To empower laity for present-day ministry.
- To create denominational and district partnerships for service and evangelism.
- To be active advocates for racial justice at home and abroad.
- To provide spiritual nurture for our members. To enhance clergy-lay ministry partnerships.
Mission & Strategic Plan of Action
Black Ministries exists to support districts, pastors, local churches, and leaders in the task of making Christlike disciples among Black groups in the U.S. and Canada.
The mission statement for Black Nazarene Ministries is to help the Church of the Nazarene develop strategies for reaching black communities through the starting of new churches and the implementation of inclusive discipleship and culturally-specific leadership training programs. We articulate this mission through what we call Project H.O.P.E., or Helping Our People Evangelize. Members of the Black Mission Team help to create a focus group that is advisory in its capacity, visionary in its strategy, reconciliatory in its mission, and prophetic in its message. Here’s our strategic plan of action:
- Identify, develop, and recommend at least 25 emerging Black leaders in leadership positions on the Local, District, and General levels.
- Declare the first Wednesday of each month for prayer and fasting for Nazarene Black Ministries, the BSRT, and the Black Ministries Facilitator
- Establish a partnership between Nazarene higher education and church placement through internships
- Start 20 new churches in four years
- Continue the National Black Nazarene Conference to encourage, support and equip our churches, leaders, and laypeople. Additionally, host the 2nd annual Black Pastors and Leaders Conference in 2019.
- Establish strong communication with the offices of Pensions and Benefits and Clergy Development to adequately inform Black pastors of helps and benefits.
Black Ministries 2020
Includes: Black and West Indian
17,297 Total Members
7,406 Average Worship AttendanceClick here for more statistics from cultural group reports.