Brown Missionary Baptist in Southaven, Mississippi Selects First Non-Black Pastor of Discipleship

Stephen "Wade" Steelman
Stephen “Wade” Steelman

Hoping to set an example for racially diverse leadership in area churches, Brown Missionary Baptist in Southaven has hired the first non-African-American member of its pastoral staff to lead discipleship.

Stephen “Wade” Steelman, a former regional denominational leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, will carry the title of discipleship pastor at Brown, one of the area’s largest churches with a membership of more than 10,000 and foreign mission teams. The church has two Southaven campuses, one on State Line Road and another on Swinnea Road.

Bartholomew Orr, Brown’s senior pastor, said Steelman is the first non-African-American member of the pastoral team since Brown was founded in 1882.

While other area churches also have members from different racial and ethnic backgrounds on their staffs, they, like Brown, generally reflect the makeup of their memberships. Orr believes churches need to work toward more balance.

“God not only intends, he requires that we love our brother and sister despite race, yet one of the most racially segregated places in our society has historically been church,” Orr said in a statement. “I hired Pastor Steelman because he is a knowledgeable, experienced and humble spiritual leader, but I also pray this is the beginning of more diversity in churches like ours.”

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Source: Commercial Appeal | Ron Maxey