The ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel in Greensboro North Carolina was silent as the delegates of the 104th annual session National Primitive Baptist Convention watched the members of the Election Committee walk into the ballroom solemnly to announce the results of the 2011 Presidential election. You could feel the apprehension and concern in the air as Elder Robert Crocker of Nashville Tennessee walked to the podium to announce the election results.
Clearing his throat Crocker said, "four hundred and eighty six votes were cast. For Elder Oscar Montgomery one hundred and thirteen votes. For Elder Ernest Ferrell one hundred and eighty three votes. For Elder Bernard Yates one hundred and ninety votes. Elder Yates has the majority votes."
Shouting erupted from the back of the ball room where many of the young persons of the convention were waiting with anticipation. One woman screamed out, "Recount!" Another pastor was moaning, "Oh no, Oh no." The supporters of Elder Yates wanted to shout in jubilation but they did not. In spite of the fact that the man they supported and prayed for had won they were concerned about those who were hurt over the fact that the men they had supported had lost. However throughout the ball room you could see a few delegates praising God for an upset victory for Elder Yates.
On Thursday night the National Primitive Baptist Convention celebrates what is considered high worship in the church, the observation of the Lord's Supper and Washing of the Saints feet. The election announcement was read at the end of the worship.
To settle the range of emotions that were being felt in the ballroom Elder T.W. Samuels led the convention in prayer. Elder Samuels served as the president of this convention from 1995 to 2005. He is the oldest member of the convention having attended for more than seventy years, from his childhood.
God heard the prayers of many members of the National Primitive Baptist church by giving victory to Elder Bernard Yates who had served the convention faithfully as the vice president for six years. When he made the decision to seek the presidency after much prayer and counsel he was commended by many for having the courage to do so and he was vilified by others who perceived his actions as that of betrayal to the current president who was still eligible to serve for one more term.
Elder Yates recognized the times and the seasons of transition that is not only in the National Primitive Baptist Church but in the universal body of Christ as well. And he understood months ago that the times demanded of him to make himself available to the will of God in this role of national leadership. Believing that he had heard God and knowing what God wants to accomplish in this church Elder Yates said yes to God.
Bernard Yates did not run a campaign. He did not make promises to his supporters. He did not jockey for position. He did not praise himself for his accomplishments, although they are many. He did not make himself the center of attention. When he was attacked and criticized he did not retaliate. He simply prayed and asked those who supported him to pray.
Bernard Yates was not ruled by ambition or agenda. He submitted to the Holy Spirit and believed that God's choice would assume the mantle of leadership in August. And God's choice did.
From the time that Elder Yates informed me that he would offer himself to be the president I earnestly prayed that his win was the will of God. I prayed daily that Bernard Yates would succeed to become the next president and that through him the Holy Spirit would usher Fresh Wind and Fresh Fire into the hundreds of churches that make up this convention. But a month ago the Holy Spirit caused me to shift in my intercession for Elder Yates and Elder Duke who became the vice president the next day. My intercessions became faith spoken declarations that Bernard Yates and Kenneth Duke would become the president and vice president of the convention. The Holy Spirit changed my prayer agenda, I stopped asking God to make it happen and I started, as the Holy Spirit led me, to declare that it would happen. And it did, as the Holy Spirit revealed it to me, and I'm sure to others.
Who is Elder Bernard C. Yates? He is a dynamic preacher of the gospel who travels throughout the Body of Christ in America proclaiming a prophetic Word of God. He is the pastor of the Zion Hope Primitive Baptist Church in Pensacola Florida, a vibrant congregation that numbers two thousand members. He is the husband of Vonda Yates, his faithful partner for thirty years and father to LaBrea. For a number of years now he has preached the closing message in the National Convention always accompanied by his dynamic choir that ministers in the Shekinah Glory of God.
This is the man that God has chosen for this time. I challenge every member of the National Primitive Baptist Church to pray for our leader. I ask every member of the Body of Christ to pray for our leader. Pray these petitions as you are led to.
1. That God will anoint Elder Yates with wisdom so that he will know how to skillfully lead this convention in the seasons that are ahead of us.
2. That God will make Elder Yates spiritually sensitive to hear His voice and move accordingly.
3. That God will give Elder Yates discernment to choose a team around him that will bring success to the Primitive Baptist church for His glory.
4. That God will send angels to protect Elder Yates, his wife Vonda, and daughter Labrea from satanic attacks.
5. That God will cause Elder Yates to prosper and cause Zion Hope to prosper.
6. That God will cause Elder Yates enemies to fall before him.
7. That God will usher a new beginning into the Primitive Baptist Church through the presidency of Elder Yates.