Local minister receives Pastor of Excellence award

Dr. Dennis W. Bishop was recently honored at the 2021 Rhythm of Gospel Awards in Memphis, Tennessee.

Local minister receives Pastor of Excellence award
September 22
13:50 2021

Earlier this month, Dr. Dennis W. Bishop was recognized as a Pastor of Excellence during the 2021 Rhythm of Gospel Awards in Memphis, Tennessee, which was hosted by the National & Independent Gospel Music Association (N.I.G.M.A.). 

Bishop has been in the ministry for over 50 years and has been the senior pastor of First Waughtown Baptist Church for 38 of those years. Even though he has received countless awards over the years, upon hearing of his recognition, he was still blown away.

“You know my saying, ‘To God be the glory,’” Bishop said about being recognized. “I have wondered myself what the pastor of excellence means and what I did was, I received this award on behalf of every pastor of excellence in the state of North Carolina. I was awarded with this award, but I know there are many other pastors of excellence in North Carolina.  

“And what the award is actually saying is that they were awarding me for compassionate hands, for commitment as a community activist, as an education developer, and for my work of dedication. That said to me alone that there are many other pastors that deserve this kind of recognition, so I couldn’t take all of that glory and all of that credit for this award alone. I received it on behalf of those who may not have been nominated or awarded and this award is for many of them as well.”

Bishop and the other eight pastors of excellence were honored during a banquet which was part of The Rhythm of Gospel Music Awards annual event that featured showcases, competitions, and achievement galas that attracted more than 4,500 attendees. Bishop says he is not very fond of flying, but took a flight to Memphis and says he had a great time fellowshipping with new friends, as well as the members from the congregation that made the trip to Memphis.

“I flew down and several people from the church went,” he said. “I didn’t know who was going, I didn’t know if anybody was going, because I wasn’t trying to tax anyone since we are going through a pandemic. I didn’t want to tax anybody, because I know some people would go out of their way to attend that ceremony.

“Thank God, we ended up with about two or three tables of people, with 10 chairs to each table. I am thankful to those who came and I want to say that there were so many more people that would have attended had they been able to do so, and so I really want to thank the whole FWBC Incorporated church family for their love and support down through the years and especially with this last award.”

Bishop stated that he particularly enjoyed all of the great gospel singing that was presented throughout the five-day event. “The choirs that were there, the singers that were there, the soloists that were there, were all great,” he said. “Just to be in that atmosphere, even though we were masked up, was an exciting time.”

Another aspect of the trip that Bishop enjoyed was the opportunity to meet the other pastors that were being honored. “Having an opportunity to meet them at a luncheon on Saturday morning was a great experience and a great time,” Bishop continued. “We had the chance to fellowship and talk about different areas of our ministries, to talk about our churches and how God has blessed us at these churches, to talk about the longevity of some of us pastors at the churches where we are. It was just an exciting and enjoyable time of fellowship and learning from others.”

Being honored for his work inside the church and his efforts beyond the church walls is very humbling for Bishop, he said. He says he is appreciative to N.I.G.M.A. for the chance to be honored for the things he does in the church and community.

“I am so thankful, and words can never convey what my heart would say,” Bishop stated. “In simple words, I am just overwhelmingly thankful for the Rhythm of Gospel Music for selecting me as a pastor of excellence and affording me the opportunity to be there in Memphis and be given this award.

“I really don’t have the words to express what my heart feels. With me, I try to do what I can to help everybody that I can. I said to them the night of receiving this award, ‘If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain.’

“Whatever I do … I always try to do it not to receive recognition or glory, I try to do it in a quiet and humble way, but to have as great an impact as I can have on the lives of anybody that I give into, or sow into, or speak into, or any act of kindness that I do. I am thankful to God that somebody sees what is taking place and still my mantra is to God be the glory.”

All of the work Bishop does in the community is just what he is supposed to do, he said. He doesn’t feel as though he has done anything special, but to be honored for it puts a smile on his face. He says many people don’t realize the hardships that pastors and ministry leaders have to endure, so to occasionally receive recognition helps to keep them going.

“I don’t think that people understand that we carry the same burdens, the same troubles, the same sorrow that many of them carry, because they are always looking to us to encourage them and be their strength,” Bishop continued. “I’ve received several awards and accolades from different companies and organizations and each time I get one, it causes me first to say ‘Thank you, Jesus.’”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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