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Diversity-minded Mid-South Baptist Association now moderated by Pastor Derrick Joyce

by Aisling Maki

The Rev. Derrick Joyce, senior pastor of Monument of Love Baptist Church, is the first African-American moderator of the Mid-South Baptist Association (MSBA), whose purpose is a network that connects diverse Baptists churches throughout the region.

Joyce, a third-generation pastor with a passion for equality and education, has worked toward closing the achievement gap among racial and ethnic groups. He founded Memphis Academy of Health Sciences Middle School, which offers underserved students access to high-quality education and career readiness, served as president of the 100 Black Men of Memphis, Inc., and established a financial literacy conference for young people.

Joyce’s passions and experience are a tremendous complement to the work of Mid-South Baptist Association, which works to spread the gospel across ethnic and cultural lines.

“Our focus is on making sure that when there is a body of believers, whether it’s five or 5,000, we’re giving them the tools to organize, strategize and mobilize,” Joyce said. “The great thing is it’s very diverse. We are of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is historically a conservative Anglo convention association.

“However, we have a large group of Hispanic congregations within our association and a growing segment of Asian churches. We have a very strong population of African-American churches, and obviously Anglo or European churches, so it’s a beautiful array of churches, colors and hues.”

Founded in 1891, the MBSA began with 22 churches and about 1,900 members. Today, it’s the largest Baptist association in Tennessee, with 180 churches, and the fifth largest in the Southern Baptist Convention.

“There have been churches with every ethnic group involved in providing leadership to various aspects of the association, but I think Pastor Joyce has really distinguished himself among a group of 180 churches,” said Dr. Charles Fowler, senior pastor at Germantown Baptist Church.

“His passion and his leadership and the model of how he pastors his church has elevated him to the role, and we all look to him as someone who’s very inspiring and leads well.”

Unite Memphis – Martin 50 Concert and Commemoration Rally

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’.’s legacy of encouraging inclusion and tolerance, the Mid-South Baptist Association (MSBA) will build on its ongoing commitment to diversity by hosting the Unite Memphis – Martin 50 Concert and Commemoration Rally at Mud Island Amphitheater in Downtown Memphis on Sept. 29.

The Rev. Derrick Joyce (Courtesy photo)

“There’s a tremendous transformation taking place within the City of Memphis, within our association and within the Body of Christ,” said the Rev. Derrick Joyce, MSBA moderator. “It really shows the power of love, the power of forgiveness, and whether from a spiritual aspect or from a leadership capacity.

“As Dr. King would say, we’re beginning to judge each other by the content of our character versus the color of our skin. We invite everyone to join us as we commit to racial diversity within the faith community and beyond.”

The event will offer fellowship opportunities between congregations, non-profit organizations and citizens from myriad ethnic and cultural backgrounds and walks of life. It will include a celebration concert featuring a variety of musical artists from different genres, as well as food, preaching, dancing , and a pastors’ forum.

In addition to Joyce, the key speakers will include Dr. Charles Fowler, senior pastor at Germantown Baptist Church; Dr. Bartholomew Orr of Brown Baptist Church; Dr. Fred Shackelford of Ellendale Baptist Church; and Dr. Danny Sinquefield from Faith Baptist Bartlett Church. The event will culminate with a call for unity and commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Doors The Unite Memphis – Martin 50 Concert and Commemoration Rally will be held Saturday, September 29 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Doors open at 10 a.m. The event is free and registration is open at unitememphismartin50.eventbrite.com.



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