Rev. Mylion Waite directs a multi-focused prison ministry and oversees the ministry of evangelism at Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. A lifelong Clevelander, Mylion earned bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Cleveland State University, a Master’s degree in Social Service Administration from Case Western Reserve University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Ashland Theological Seminary. She was ordained in 1995.
I’m an American Baptist because the people of the denomination reflect for me the face of God in its diversity of race, ethnicity, cultural and socioeconomic inclusion; the denomination’s concern for God’s people and creation, its commitment to social justice, its inclusion of women in the ordained ministry, its support of academic and professional excellence, along with its being a body of worldwide believers.
I received the gift of faith at age 7 and remember clearly walking to the front of the church to confess my belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and committing to serve Him. It caused a bit of a stir because I had not told my family ahead of time that I wanted to join the church!
My first experiences at church were being part of Christmas and Easter pageants. I remember the many cooks at the church, having my ears pierced in the church basement by my Sunday School teacher. I had so many early experiences, but what stands out for me is the love and encouragement I received and how I was challenged to let God be shown through me in all of my life.
Today’s church faces many challenges. It is no longer the center of life for its people. They belong to many organizations. Children are busy with school activities, sports and social media. People today come to church wanting to entertained, and in trying to address this, the church will water down its message to Power Point presentations. We have Biblical illiteracy, a decline in youth and young adult attendance and the challenge of making faith relevant for people focused on advancing their education, career development or making friendships elsewhere.
I pray for the world we live in and about the unlovely way that people treat one another. I pray for those in leadership, that they will seek God’s guidance in carrying out their duties. I pray for children born into situations not allowing them to reach their potential. I pray for the people of God that they may not be led by their own desires rather than being obedient to God’s will. I pray for myself, that I will continue to be sensitive to what God wants me to do, and that I can be of service to others. I tend to pray very long prayers!
I struggle the most with setting aside time to truly be with God as opposed to working on some task.
I am most passionate about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and inviting others to hear it, making disciples and seeking justice for the “least of these.”
I think 10 years from now the church will continue to lean towards making people feel like they are really not in church in order to get people to attend and join.
Would you like to nominate someone to be featured in “My Baptist Life”? Simply send a name, the reasons behind your nomination, and contact information to Mark Staples, ABCUSA communications consultant.