A keynote address is usually made from a podium. There is often fanfare and a lengthy introduction of the speaker. When Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) president/CEO Dr. Michael C. Blackwell walked before this group as keynote speaker, he sat comfortably in a chair and invited those listening to share in a conversation.
The 76-year-old marks his 35th anniversary as BCH’s leader this year and is a sought after conference speaker. On this occasion, he is speaking to a group attending the fourth annual Senior Adult Ministry State Leadership Conference held May 1 at Rich Fork Baptist Church in Thomasville. The conference is produced by BCH’s North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) and AAIM (Aging Adults Innovating Ministry). More than 180 ministers, lay leaders and aging adults from North and South Carolina attended.
“You can’t go back and create a new beginning,” Blackwell began, “but you can go forward and make a new ending.”
Using the conference’s theme “Living Forward”, Blackwell encouraged listeners to never outgrow a passion. “Keep on, keeping on, refocus your purpose.”
“We have acquired wisdom and perspective,” he said. “We have proven ourselves. But it’s not over. Our time of influence may be stronger now than ever.”
NCBAM Director Dr. Sandy Gregory is enthusiastic about the growth of the conference. “Each year, the number of attendees has grown. Church leaders are finding this event to be a valuable resource for strengthening their ministries to senior adults.”
Special music for the event was provided by soloist Jenny Wayne and choirs from Woodlawn Baptist Church in Conover and Alexis Baptist Church.
Carolyn Hill, retired nursing home administrator and senior adult retreat planner, closed the event by examining the “call” of a senior adult minister and then providing opportunity for attendees to wash the hands of the person next to them and offer a prayer of blessing.
The conference featured seven breakout sessions: “The Nuts and Bolts of Senior Adult Ministry,” “Rediscovering Your Best Self,” “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: How Can Churches Help?,” “Building an Intergenerational Community,” “Looking Forward, Living Forward.” “What to Expect When You Age,” and “ENCORE Fellowship and Planning.”
Three regional leadership gatherings are planned for the fall: Boone, Sept. 20; Raleigh, Oct. 9; and Thomasville, Oct. 16. Call 877-506-2226 for more information.
Learn more about NCBAM and AAIM at www.ncbam.org