The Rev. Dr. Melvin V. Wade, Sr., accepted the call to preach in 1963, unaware of God’s great plans for his ministry.
But, in the succeeding five decades, God blessed him to meet renowned theologians, travel internationally, preach around the country and lead a major congregation in Los Angeles as the pastor of Mount Moriah Baptist Church.
“Talk about favor! I’m amazed that the Lord would tap me for this kind of an assignment and then to favor me the way He has is just an awesome experience,” said Pastor Wade, who will mark his 50th year of proclaiming the Word this fall.
On Sunday, September 8, the observance begins at the 9:15 a.m. worship service at Mount Moriah, 4269 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. His son, Pastor David L. Wade, will bring members of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Mesa, AZ, to fellowship.
At 6 p.m., the ’50 Years of Preaching Christ the Hope of Glory’ Celebration Dinner takes place at the Westin Hotel LAX, 5400 West Century Boulevard in Los Angeles. The guest speaker will be Dr. Stephen J. Thurston; president of the National Baptist Convention of America and recording artist Vickie Winans will perform.
The upcoming celebration will be another milestone in Dr. Wade’s collection of memorable moments. Recalling some of his experiences, he shared, “The Lord has tremendously blessed us.
“I’ve preached citywide revivals in 20 different cities in the United States, traveled with Dr. Robert Wilson on a fact-finding mission trip to three countries in Africa and toured the Holy Land including the Mediterranean and Greek islands.
“Also, I have preached at 10 colleges and universities including my alma mater, Bishop College and this year, I preached to nearly 7,000 people at Hampton University.”
By far, his most striking memory occurred, he said, “When I met a little lady named Jacquie Elaine Gantt that I married in 1967. My wife has been right there with me, praying with me all the way.”
A former president of the 300,000-member National Missionary Baptist Convention, Dr. Wade was inducted this past June into the Central High School Hall of Fame in his hometown of Omaha, NE.
Acknowledging several mentors that guided his ministry, Dr. Wade credited his late father, the Rev. J. C. Wade, Sr., the influential pastor of the 4,000-member Salem Baptist Church in Omaha and namesake of one of the city’s post offices; his brother, Pastor Emeritus J.C. Wade, Jr., of Zion Missionary Baptist Church in East Chicago, IN; the late Dr. Manuel Scott, Sr., of Los Angeles; Dr. S.M. Wright and Dr. C.A.W. Clark of Dallas, TX; Dr. Sandy F. Ray and Dr. Gardner Taylor of Brooklyn, NY; and his college dean, Dr. Richard H. Rollins.
“These men taught me the importance of praying a lot and reading the Bible, the principle of integrity, being studious in your sermon preparation, and loving the people that God gave you to pastor,” he said.
“They also exposed me to some of the great minds of all time. I met Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth and Dr. Benjamin Mayes, thanks to my dad,” he noted.
Now that he’s completed 50 years of ministry, Dr. Wade’s future involves preparing Mount Moriah for its next leader.
“My real main focus at this point is to try to set our church in such an order that the next man will not have difficulty, but a smooth transition and take it to an unknown height, far excelling where I sought to bring it,” he said.
“I just thank the Lord for calling me to preach and I thank the churches that called me to pastor - Bethlehem Baptist in Dallas, Mount Pilgrim Baptist in Houston, TX; and Mount Moriah.”