Demonstrating faith in today’s youth, the Western Baptist State Convention (WBSC) of California outlined its vision to dedicate $300,000 for college scholarships.
The announcement came during the WBSC 122nd Annual Session held last week where nearly $30,000 in scholarships was awarded to young people.
“It’s imperative, on our part, to attract young people and make them a significant part of our church world and most assuredly, our Baptist denomination. I am most grateful for the support of the ministers and members of the Western Baptist State Convention and proud that we’re the only Black state convention that’s doing this type of work,” said WSBC President J. Benjamin Hardwick.
“I’m praying to God that this spirit will catch on. If we don’t reach out and pour our young people into the core, our churches and organizations will soon die out. But, we’re determined, by the grace of God, to make young people the center of activities of the Western Baptist State Convention,” he said.
The convention agenda offered several topics focused on youth such as ‘How to Keep My Faith in God in a Hip Hop World’ and ‘How Can I Make My Christian Lifestyle Influence Other Young People to Develop a Greater Faith in Jesus Christ.’ Also, the Young Adult Service featured praise dancing, poetry, and music by the Voices of Destiny, the award-winning choir from Greater Zion Church Family led by Pastor Michael J. Fisher who serves as WBSC Young Adult Director.
More activities and programs were available for every age group, noted Dr. Dudley D. Chatman, WBSC Vice President of Session Preparation, who said, “This convention has been extraordinarily successful. President Hardwick has brought together an incredible array of speakers and dedicated workers. It has been fantastic!”
Expressing agreement, Dr. Marvis Davis, WBSC Vice President observed, “Monday night, we had a great musical followed by the opening on Tuesday with the Ushers, Nurses and First Aiders Auxiliary and preaching by Pastor Shane Scott from Macedonia Baptist.
Then on Wednesday, the great pastor of Calvary Baptist, Rev. Virgil Jones, preached for our Laymen. On Thursday, we heard from Rev. Al Sharpton and our president, Dr. Hardwick.”
Yet, the focus on young people remained strong as WBSC members stated their commitment to the vision of Dr. Hardwick and WSBC.
“I understand, especially in these days and times, that we, in the kingdom, care about youth because God cares about them. I’m just glad I’m here, allowing God to use us to prepare for the future,” said Bishop Richard D. Sanders, WBSC Vice President at Large.
“It’s time for me to give back and make sure our young people called ‘at risk’ will receive Christian life skills,” added Dr. Tyrone Skinner, WBSC Vice President and head of the organization’s Congress of Christian Education, a 2,000-member group aimed at youth.
President Hardwick concluded, “God granted us vision and we’re working to turn our vision into reality. If we can do that, we will be successful in changing our community, our state, and ultimately, our nation. I’m trusting that we will be able to invest in our young people and make the world a better place for everyone, regardless of race, creed or color.”