Excited About The Future
“Up at 4am, dark, humid Friday morning in the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia)…. I hug the wife and head out the door…” shares Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group). “Man, tired, but so excited about what God is going to do among us in Flowood, MS Saturday.”
What is he talking about? Well, October 28, 2023 was the 25th year celebration of the R.E.A.L. Christian Foundation. He and Mark Bobo (Associate, The Joseph Factor Group) would attend the event that was a celebration and training. They attend to represent the work of Influential Global Ministries (IGM) who are focused on equipping and releasing cross-cultural, reconciling, justice-oriented, and metropolitan disciple-makers through leadership development, church planting movements, and church revitalization.
What Is REAL?
The Rural Education and Leadership Christian Foundation, Inc. (REAL) was started by Dolphus and Rosie Weary who worked for over 40 years in Mississippi communities to address issues that cause or result from rural poverty like the lack of educational opportunities, poor nutrition, and the barriers to medical care, to name a few. Many Mississippi communities need more support than the local, state, or federal government can give them. Nonprofits help fill this need, but non-profits in rural areas, especially those that are led by minorities and/or are Christian-based often do not have access to the same financial support and resources as urban, non-Christian non-profits. REAL’s founders understand the unique challenges these nonprofits face on every level. As a result, REAL provides both some of the needed money and training to these community leaders in rural Mississippi. They also give these community leaders opportunities to connect with each other so they can share stories of success, failure, and possibly be resources for each other.
REAL started in 1998 in a home in Richland, MS, with no money and 2,000 copies of an autobiographical book written by Dolphus has come true in the form of a $2.7 million endowed foundation that has given away over $1 million to over 25 non-profits serving 14 different communities and located in 12 counties, all in Mississippi. These Mississippi counties include Bolivar, Copiah, Covington, Holmes, Jefferson Davis, Leflore, Quitman, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, and Walthall counties.
What Was The 25th Celebration
The celebration was held at the Sheraton Flowood Refuge Hotel and Conference Center. The beautiful resort was the perfect setting for a celebration of such an impactful organization.
The purpose of the conference was to better understand the benefits of nonprofits, best practices in running a nonprofit, and inspiration to consider new trends and ideas as it relates to nonprofits. The Joseph Factor Group was brought in to discuss with the Christian leaders the importance of “soul care.” How do leaders care for their whole health (mind, body and spirit)? How do they teach and preach to their congregations to care for their whole health? And how do they engage resources to aid in bettering the whole health of communities in which they serve?
“The 25th Anniversary celebration was a special experience. To engage with over 50 people who represent churches, ministries, and organizations that have committed to continual growth of our rural communities was both enlightening and inspirational. I met so many from various backgrounds, denominations and demographic locations. The commonality amongst us all was we are each striving to make an impact for Christ” expresses Mark Bobo.
Click here for more information on REAL.
Click here for more information on IGM.
It was months in the making, but the Ladies First & Influential Leaders Conference in Sacramento, CA was a powerful presence of God!” exclaims Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group).
On September 21-22, 2023, we gathered for two days at Midtown Church (Sacramento, CA) for an empowering, enriching, and equipping time for Christian leaders. “Ladies First” was a day all about the women. In worship, teaching, and preaching, they were encouraged to lead well, live well, and love well. Sister Donecia Norwood-Smith kicked off the conference preaching about the significance of “Ladies First.” The day was filled with Christian women leaders pouring out their hearts to all who were present with encouragement to uplift and elevate them to greater heights.
That night, was the beginning of the “Influential Leadership Conference” where Christian Leaders of African Americans gathered with multiethnic, and metropolitan leaders to discuss issues around racial reconciliation, multi-ethnic ministry, and biblical justice. The speaker was Pastor Jennifer Toledo who imparted knowledge concerning the age we live in. She shared how now is the greatest opportunity to reach souls for Christ, and share testimonies across the globe on how God is gathering people unto Him.
The next day began with Dr. Efrem Smith imploring the participants to use new techniques to serve the communities in which we serve. He reminded us about the Black Church being a gift to the body of Christ and how we should rediscover it to reimagine how we do ministry today. The afternoon was filled with workshops on worship, developing leaders, and ministry in the multicultural context to name a few. The day ended with Dr. Bryan Loritts, who showed us that the greatest division in the United States is between Evangelicals and issues of race. He then provided instructions on ways to bridge the divide.
“It has been a blessing to walk this journey with Influential Global Ministries (IGM). We met for several months almost every Friday believing and knowing what God would do. As always, God did more than we could have asked or thought (Ephesians 3:20),” Bobo reflects over the two days.
Influential Global Ministries (IGM) is focused on equipping and releasing cross-cultural, reconciling, justice-oriented, and metropolitan disciple-makers through leadership development, church planting movements, and church revitalization. IGM is a separate nonprofit that partners with Midtown Covenant Church to reproduce healthy African American, multiethnic, and metropolitan churches and leaders.
For more information on IGM.
Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group) walks into the gym at New Chapel Baptist Church gym in Camp Springs, MD and the young men are ready for basketball workouts. He calls the young men to center court and says, “Young men! It’s great to see you all this morning! Who is going to pray us in?” Most of them look down, but one of them raises his hand and offers up a prayer. They then discuss goals, why they are important, how to set them, and each one sets three goals and shares them with the group. After the “T.A.L.K”., they go straight into their workout.
If you came to the New Chapel Baptist Church gym every Saturday morning you would find this same series of the events. This is a part of 4 Point Play, Inc. (4PP) a vision of Rev. Duane McKinney, Senior Pastor of Encounter Life Church, Hillcrest Heights, Maryland. Rev. McKinney, a sports advocate, established 4PP as he saw the need for a youth sports organization that incorporates mentoring, thought provoking action, healthy lifestyle, and community awareness.
The Joseph Factor Group partnered with 4PP to develop the mentoring piece of the program. The T.A.L.K. weekly mentoring sessions, in line with the 4PP mission to “build the mind, body, spirit and community through sports and mentorship.” These 20-minute sessions led by community inspirational leaders are guided by the following acrostic:
T- Tell- Personal sharing and stories that will engage the young men.
A- Affirm- Encourage the young men in the possible.
L- Love- God’s love is expressed in all our intentions and interactions.
K- Knowledge- Give the young men something that maybe they did not know, or a different way of looking at what they know.
“We know sports get our young men’s attention.” Bobo explains, “...but we are irresponsible if we only teach them to dribble a ball and not engage their minds to think about the community around them. The obligation they must show is to have love in community and be what God wants them to be.”
CLICK HERE for more information or to support 4PP.
THE YOUNG MEN IN ACTION!
The Black Leadership and Ministry track invites pastors and leaders who are currently engaged in the Black Church tradition to participate in education from a Black Theological perspective,” describes the Nazarene Theological Seminary website concerning one of its Doctor of Ministry tracks. “The uniqueness of the Black Church experience, exemplified in the racial injustices that continue to plague Black communities, requires theological education and scholarly analysis from a Black Theological perspective.” This is the program Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group) was selected to participate in.
The first “face to face” meeting of the Fall 2022 Doctor of Ministry in Black Leadership and Ministry cohort met in Kansas City, Missouri the week of September 11, 2022, on the Nazarene Theological Seminary campus. This week was filled with in class discussion on trauma and participant presentations of community trauma analysis, site visits, as well as spiritual encouragement. What a week!
The first night students had dinner with the school’s president, Jeren Rowell, and other staff. During the week, the cohort visited St. Matthew African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Reverend Dr. Charles Wesley Thurman, Jr., Pastor, and Associate Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program) where there was a presentation by counselor Shamika Pegue who discussed Trauma Informed Church. The group also participated in a “prayer walk” where they walked the neighborhood, prayed, interacted with the neighbors, and listened to the voice of God. They also visited historic St. James Methodist Church where they spent time with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (former pastor) and his son Reverend Dr. Emanuel Cleaver, III (current pastor). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art African Art collection was visited and reflections of the group on how what they saw relates to what was learned during the week.
“I am so honored and blessed to be a part of such a theologically rich program in my context as a leader in the community,” shares Bobo. “The cohort members are amazing, the school’s credibility and openness is encouraging, and the program is challenging yet inspiring.”
We are so proud of our Senior Associate and how he continues to serve the community and further pursue academic greatness.
Click HERE to learn more about the Nazarene Theological Seminary, Doctor Of Ministry In Black Leadership And Ministry.
“We cannot do this work!” Anthony D. Bobo, Jr., Senior Associate of the Joseph Factor Group shares as he reflects on the partnership discussion experience. “God never intended for ministry to be done as a solo project, but a ministry is community of fellowship.”
On August 26, 2022, a team from Influential Global Ministries (IGM) met with the Reformed Church of America (RCA) African American Black Council (AABC) in Chicago. The AABC is the voice of African American and black congregants and congregations in the RCA. As they explore advocating for policies of inclusion and economic, social, and racial justice, AABC brought in Dr. Efrem Smith (IGM co-founder) and the IGM team to work through ideas of rediscovering the black church, reimagining ministry, and re-engaging communities. IGM focuses on equipping and releasing cross-cultural, reconciling, justice-oriented, and metropolitan disciple-makers through leadership development, church planting movements, and church revitalization.
Bobo served as lead facilitator of the session. Dr. Smith shared the Theology of Change and how God is a God of change and invited us to be His change agents here on earth. IGM Team member Jonathan Banks (Chief Operating Officer, Urban Outreach Foundation) imploded the group to engage youth. In fact, he says that “the expiration date of your church is already written by how your youth ministry looks.” Other IGM Team members Dr. Joy Johnson (Founder, Dr. Joy Johnson Ministries) and Dr. Robert Owens (Chief Executive Officer, Rivers of Life) shared their wisdom and experiences in revitalizing churches and engaging communities.
“It was a blessing to be with the AABC,” says Bobo, “to help explore a path forward in partnership, fellowship, and collaboration.”
To have the IGM Team come to visit your organization, please reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sankofa Journey: Senior Associate Attends The Historic 125th COCHUSA Anniversary Commemoration Convention
On the morning of July 23, 2022, Bishop-Elect Dr. Glake Hill Jr. texted Senior Associate, Anthony D. Bobo, Jr., “I will meet you all at 11:30 at the Firebird restaurant.” Little did Bobo know he was in for more than a meal, but a meeting of the minds.
As part of the Sankofa Project, Bobo and Bishop Dr. Robert Owens (Rivers of Life) attended the Church of Christ (Holiness) USA (COCHUSA) annual convention. The Sankofa Project (sponsored by Influential Global Ministries) looks back at the history of the African American Church to glean ideas for reimagining the future church, Bobo and Owens attend the 125th Commemorative Convention to interact with one of the oldest black denominations in America.
Bobo reflects on the lunch meeting that morning between Owens and Hill, “Bishop Owens, with his roots in the black church and years of experience in the evangelical church, asked questions of Bishop-Elect Hill… Hill, with his rich history in the Holiness Movement and understanding of systems because of his background in science would respond and then ask questions back…” It was like sitting at a tennis match watching, listening, and laughing as these two leaders shared their theology of the church.” “I felt so blessed to be able to gain understanding from these men who have given their lives to Christ and serving the people of God.”
Bobo and Owens attended the Sunday morning service that started with great pomp and circumstance. Many of the church leadership and committee members marched down the aisle while we all stood to our feet while the choir sang a hymn of the church in the background. After praise and worship and church administrative type announcements, the Senior Bishop of the COCHUSA, Bishop Vernon Kennebrew was announced as the speaker of the hour. The sermonic song sang by the spirit filled choir and energetic musicians before he spoke manifested an overwhelming presence of God in the room. He could hardly speak over the Saints “giving vent to the Spirit.” Kennebrew’s message for the morning was, “The Mission Has Not Changed.” With authority, he informed the congregation that the mission of the church has not changed, but methods in which we minister must change. As Kennebrew explained that holiness is a “way of excellence,” he encouraged his hearers to do everything (including living our lives) in the spirit of excellence for God.
That night, we returned and the highlight for Bobo and Owens was witnessing their friend and brother consecrated to the bishopric. The consecration service was filled with great excitement because it had been over a decade since the last bishop was consecrated and this night two bishops would have the oil poured on their heads. What a sight to see him and his wife as he stood wearing his robe while members of the South-Central Diocese presented them with gifts of love.
The trip to Birmingham, Alabama took Bobo and Owens back to the historic black church… while allowing them to see the future of the black church, as it adapts to methods to save a dying world.
Mark Bobo (Associate, The Joseph Factor Group) was announced as a member of Leadership Columbus Board of Trustees. Leadership Columbus provides education and training for emerging and existing leaders in the Columbus area.
Help us congratulate Mark...