March 4, 2020
By Carrie Harris
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Two Cooperative Baptists were honored March 3 at ChurchWorks, CBF’s annual conference for CBF Clergy and CBF Networks, held at Central Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. Churchworks is a three-day event for practitioners of education and spiritual formation in the congregational setting.
Charles Qualls, Senior Pastor of Franklin Baptist Church in Franklin, Va., was honored with the 2020 Jack Naish Distinguished Educator Award. This award is named after the long-time minister of education at Wieuca Road Baptist Church in Atlanta and awarded to a minister in the Fellowship each year for outstanding leadership and achievement in Christian education. Recipients are nominated for the award by their peers.
Qualls’ peers speak to his leadership and imagination that inform his ministry.
“Charles Qualls is a life-long learner and teaching pastoral leader,” said CBF catalytic coach and consultant, Bo Prosser. “He is imaginative, curious and not afraid to risk. I’m grateful for the many years we’ve journeyed together since the first day we met at First Baptist, Roswell, Ga.
“Charles serves on the CBF Ministries Council. He has served on several General Assembly planning teams, and he is a founding member of the Center for Christian Education. He writes the weekly Connections series lesson plan for us. I’m proud to claim him as friend and colleague.”
Jill Jenkins, a former minister at Johns Creek Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Ga., reflected on Qualls’ natural leadership displayed at a young age.
“I first met Charles as a college student at his home church, First Baptist Church of Roswell, Georgia,” said Jenkins. “He also served there as an educational intern while I was on staff. Charles’ love of church was evident even at that age. He participated willingly, tried new things and began leading in the youth area. You could tell he loved it, and the kids loved and knew him. I enjoyed watching Charles lead and teach. He’s a natural.”
This natural leadership and teaching ability have led to a career of ministry service that has touched the lives of many.
“Charles Qualls is one of our ablest Christian educators,” said David Sapp, former senior pastor of Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga. “His varied ministry background has ranged from service as a minister of education to minister of pastoral care to senior pastor, but he has always been an educator regardless of his title. In front of a class, he is one of the very best teachers around. Sitting at a writing table, he educates every church leader wise enough to read his books. Sequestered with a counselee, he helps people to apply the Christian faith on the front lines of human need. I have known his abilities over many years, 11 of them while we served together at the Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta. There could be no more worthy recipient of this award.”
Heather Mustain, Minister of Missions and Advocacy at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, was also honored with the 2020 CBF Young Baptist Leadership Award. Recipients of this award are also nominated by their peers. It is presented annually to a clergy member or congregational leader who represents a growing interaction with and support of the Fellowship and has demonstrated ministry to peers and colleagues of every generation. Mustain has also engaged the Fellowship in leadership and servanthood.
Mustain has served on staff at Wilshire for almost 7 years as the minister of missions and advocacy, where she casts a mission vision for Wilshire, helps the church enter into strategic mission partnerships, and equips and mobilizes members to engage in Dallas, throughout Texas, the United States and beyond.
“Heather is the best of the best in our constellation of young clergy in CBF life,” said Mark Wingfield, associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church. “She is articulate, passionate and bright, and works ably for the cause of others. She is defining what it means to combine missions and advocacy work in the congregational setting.”
Stephen Reeves, CBF’s associate coordinator of partnerships and advocacy, lifted up Mustain’s faithful commitment to congregational advocacy alongside the Fellowship.
“Wilshire has been a leader in CBF life in modeling and promoting congregational advocacy, and Heather has been central to those efforts. In addition, WBC’s partnership with Friendship-West Baptist church has been an extraordinary witness to the power and possibility of cross-racial congregational partnerships. Without Heather’s faithful leadership, that partnership would not be as fruitful.”
The 2020 ChurchWorks conference has continued a three-year conversation on wellbeing by focusing on ministerial wellbeing and the prioritization of self-care and humor. Participants were led by keynote speaker Susan Sparks, pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City around the subjects of laughter in the vestibule, laughter in the temple and laughter in the Holy of Holies.
CBF is a Christian network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.