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Annual leadership conference set
In the pulpit
The Nels
St. Peters AME Church Pastor Debbie Neal is organizing the conference. - photo by Photo provided.

This year marks the third year the In Search of Excellence leadership conference has been held at St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Church and Worship Center in Midway.
The 2013 leadership conference will be July 12-14 at 5394 E. Oglethorpe Highway.
“Our leadership conference continues under the umbrella theme of ‘In Search of Excellence,’” St. Peter’s AME Church Pastor Debbie Neal said.
She said the focus for 2013 falls under the sub-theme of Purpose in Our Positions (Luke 12:41-48), with the goal of helping attendees have a deeper understanding of their call to servant leadership.
“Those who occupy leadership positions must strive to be truly committed to the roles which they have been entrusted and serve with excellence and not merely accept their positions just for the sake of holding an office,” Neal said. “In the chosen text, ‘to whom much is given, much is required. ...’ applies to those Christians who hold leadership positions, whether in the church or at their various places of employment, and it challenges us to use and give all that we are and have for the purpose of kingdom building and, ultimately, edifying our God.”
Effective Christian leaders must embrace the fact that serving others requires an attitude of unconditional love and a sense of compassion, equity and integrity toward others, both inside and outside of the institutionalized church, she said.
“God positions and blesses us to lead so that we may become a blessing to others,” Neal said.
The conference also will highlight that the phrase “to whom much is given, much is required ...” gives no restrictions, boundaries or prerequisites, such as race, gender, etc., for those whom God has selected to serve in leadership positions within the body of Christ.
“This conference will begin to explore the challenges of African-American women who have been called to leadership positions within the church face on an ongoing basis,” Neal said.
Dr. Elbert Gaither, founder of Elbert Gaither Ministries, again will serve as guest facilitator and speaker. For additional information about Elbert Gaither Ministries and the myriad of workshops he conducts, go to
On-site registration is at 6 p.m. July 12, with the first workshop, “In Search of Excellence,” presented by Gaither. On July 13, breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. Gaither then will conduct workshops on Christian ethics and church etiquette, and “From Servants to Celebrities,” which is for men only.
A workshop on leadership development for African-American women also will be presented by Neal. This workshop is for women only.
The final session, which will be presented by Gaither, on Saturday is on spiritual growth and development. This session is for both men and women.
The 2013 leadership conference will culminate July 14, with Neal delivering the 8 a.m. sermon and Gaither delivering the 11 a.m. sermon.
For additional information about the conference and advance registration, call the church at 876-6874 or go to

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