36 Hours That Changed My Life

In just 36 hours, the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International Conference changed my outlet on what I do and why I do it. As I leave Georgia’s state capital, I needed to document what happened here that has implications for what I do in media and what I do in ministry.

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ATLANTA– The title of this post may seem a little like a cliche. I’m sure there are several books that have been written about “36-hour experiences”

But, as I leave Georgia’s state capital, I needed to document what happened here that has implications for what I do in media and what I do in ministry.

It’s the day AFTER the 17th Annual Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International Conference, a travel day for thousands who have come here for three or more days this week to improve their ministries both individually and corporately, to get a sense of the vision of the Fellowship on a global basis and to worship together on multiple occasions.

As schedules would have it, this year’s conference conflicted with my summer school teaching schedule. So I was unable to arrive until late Thursday evening.

Twitter Started It All

After grabbing a very late dinner, disappointed that I missed the Thursday evening service, I proceeded to get reviews on the event by logging on Twitter and searching for the “#FGBCF” that we used at the 2009 conference.

Only 2 or 3 posts came up. But, when I searched for “Full Gospel,” I saw a dozen or so people had sent tweets from the conference.

I knew I was in the right place and was going to get something meaningful from this conference.

Keep in mind, I had been dubious about attending this conference all week. It was a hassle to pick up and go just after starting a new academic term. I was tired. I have a million things to do back at home. But, I had made my reservations and registered with hopes of attending. So, something just told me to show up.

A Divine Encounter Orchestrated by My Bishop

The Friday morning breakout sessions, part of Full Gospel’s School of Ministry are always a highlight for me. My senior pastor. Bishop Earnest Palmer, was teaching a three-day class for those publishing books.

I want to one day publish a book. So I decided to sit in.

Instead of being a fly on the wall, I quickly realized there was a connection to another conference where I had been a presenter and was met with those interested in learning more about social media, a topic about which I am passionate.

Bishop Palmer introduced me and  ended up mentioning our new Facebook group, Southern Christian Writers.

Now as I go back to Tuscaloosa, I have a new group of friends in ministry who are writing and want to participate in this community of Christian writers that we are building online.

I am SO excited about how my pastor orchestrated just by a mere introduction so many relationships that will only advance the Kingdom and help me to see how my talents and skills can be directly used for ministry.

Empowerment via a lunchtime launch by Dr. Bryant

I mentioned to someone at the 9 a.m. session for authors that I had heard that Dr. Jamal Bryant from Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple was going to speaking.

Actually Bryant sent a tweet about it on Twitter.

But, I didn’t see him in the main program. I found his presentation spot via a sign in the lobby of the Georgia World Congress Center.

Well the rest is history– He spoke on the subject of “60 Minutes” and he encouraged the young adults gathered for this culminating address to let God use them to intercede for someone else who has a need in 60 Minutes while also expecting God to speak to us about situations in our own lives in 60 Minutes.

His message was based on the story of the Gentile Woman whose demon-possessed daughter was healed by Jesus because the woman’s faith. The details are found in the Gospel of Matthew 15:21-28.

Dr. Bryant reminded us that the woman not only called Jesus like she knew him to be, but recognized his messianic leadership.

I was empowered not only by Dr. Bryant’s message of expectation of God to do things for my loved ones, but for me in 60 minutes, but also started to read his new book, World War Me: How to Win the War I Lost.

Yes, picking up ministry materials is another advantage of being in this marketplace for ministry called the Full Gospel Baptist Church International Conference. This wasn’t about the $10 book, it was about the tenfold blessing that can come from reading and applying it to my life.

Dr. Bryant was the mid-day or lunchtime speaker and I had only been here 12 hours..  But, there was more to come.

Hilliard seals the deal

My dad is a big fan of Bishop I.V. Hilliard. He watches Bishop Hilliard’s ministry on TV. I had never watched him. I saw a cover story in the latest issue of Gospel Today magazine.

I thought, perhaps, that was timed to coincide with Bishop Hilliard’s address to the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International Conference.

His message “Five Spiritual Revelations for Next Level Living” introduced me to principles from the Bible I didn’t really completely understand.

We talked about “going to the next level” in God and in ministry. This morning, the day after I know what that mean.

“Your life could be changed today,” Hilliard said.

Well mine was changed. Even before giving the five revelations, Dr. Hilliard explained that as Christians, we need FOUR (4) things in our faith walk:

  • Revelation
  • A Role Model
  • A Regiment of Faith or Systematic Way of Action
  • Righteous Resolve

I came away with lots of notes from this Biblically-rich teaching-oriented message.  I also left this service at 11 p.m. last night knowing God’s power at work in 24 hours.

Now this morning that 36th hour is coming up and I’m about to check out of my hotel and make the 3-hour trek back to Tuscaloosa.

I can look back and see the difference already made in my life and ministry work as it relates specifically to what I do and offer in social media, but also have some specific steps to take in putting my faith into action.

The change has only just begun.

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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