There’s nothing better for men than when they can come together in a competitive environment and trash talk each other, not backing down in the least, even when they know within themselves that they’re just mediocre, at best, at whatever activity they’re engaging in. And the men of the Bahamas National Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (BNBMEC) are no different. Realizing that men thrive in such environments, the BNBMEC hosted its Men’s Week of Service during which they came together in church to worship, then took the competitive but friendly battle to the bowling alley.
The Men’s Week of Service, which was held under the theme “Baptist Men at Work”, kicked off with a service of thanksgiving at Pentecostal Baptist Church, Nassau Village, and was held to recognize the first year in office of Reverend Stephen Ferguson, Men’s Department director, as well as his BNBMEC executive team.
Ferguson, who teamed up with his son Stephen Ferguson Jr. and Wellington Stubbs, bowled their way to the early lead for Hillside Missionary Baptist Church. Due to the lateness of the hour, the bowlers were unable to complete the two scheduled rounds to determine the winner. Ferguson and his team are looking forward to the completion date in December. It’s a trophy, Ferguson said, they are eagerly anticipating winning for Hillside Missionary Baptist. Mt. Ararat is the defending champion but teams from New St. Paul’s, Macedonia, First Baptist and Faith United Missionary Baptist Churches are doing their best to throw their respective monkey wrench in the plans.
“Year before last, we won the competition, but on some technicality, we lost it, so I told them we were coming back for the trophy. We will be champions,” said Ferguson.
The November 11-17 week concluded with a prayer breakfast at the Hillside Missionary Baptist Church at which Minister Dereck Munroe of New Bethlehem spoke. Three special sessions of prayer were held by Deacon Perry Nichols for Hurricane Dorian victims; Rev. Anthony Garrison for the men and their families; and Deacon Doyle Bethel for the three leaders of The Bahamas.
Speaking to the importance of the Men’s Department, Ferguson said it brings Baptist men together allowing them to engage in outreach.
“We gather men, not only from the Baptist faith, but the country in general, and have events to motivate men and give them encouragement.”
He’s been a member of the Men’s Department since its inception, and has seen the organization grow from strength-to-strength; and he has seen the change.
“Over the five years, we have repositioned ourselves and building takes time. All of the groundwork has been put in place and we are more focused on stabilizing ourselves for events we will be putting forward. We see some ‘fruits’ from our planning – men are enthused about the events we’re having and want to be a part of it.”
Ferguson said the week is important to the Baptist men because not only do they use it to celebrate by giving God thanks for their accomplishments, but it allows them to come together.
“It’s very important for us to come together in this way because everybody is unique in their own way. If we can come together as a body, it helps us to accomplish things, learn from each other and encourages us all, because if one person can do something, 10 can do more. Some men were actually shy in speaking before coming into the department and they may not be leading in their churches, but they are now speaking out. I see where their lives are being changed. As a matter of fact, I see a whole lot of men’s groups have been formed in the Baptist churches. We’re seeing change,” he said.
Ferguson said the most recent week proved to be a ton of fun in its totality.
“We talked to each other in a competitive way and brought fellowship, comradery and oneship. Everyone got to speak their minds, but not in a negative way, so it’s something we look forward to because we always try to do things that will draw men [in]. I would like for us to actually get more support and exposure. I am excited and believe in the coming years there will be a magnificent impact on the men’s lives, because men will grasp what we are doing and support it. We have more stuff on the drawing board that haven’t materialized as yet. The Baptist Men, you should see some amazing things in the coming years.”
And what better way to draw men in than to have a battle of the grill as all men think they’re masters of the instrument. The group is already making preparations to host its Battle of the Baptist Grill on April 4, 2020 and its Baptist Men’s Conference in July 2020. They have also scheduled their annual Baptist Men’s Concert for Sunday, January 12, at First Baptist Church.
Ferguson is the third director of the Men’s Department, serving under the presidency of Rev. Dr. Lloyd Smith. Ferguson succeeded Rev. George Bodie, who served as the second director under the presidency of Rev. Dr. William Thompson. The first Director was Rev. Stephen Duncombe, who served under the presidency of the Rev. Dr. Anthony Carroll.