NAREB to Host Community Wealth-Building Events with Full Gospel Churches

(l-r, standing): Ashley Thomas, Dan Lane, Jeffery Hicks, Rob Mack, Craig Worsham and Lawrence Batiste. (seated, l-r): Renee Wilson, LaTonya Martin, Courtney Johnson Rose and Sherita McCray.

The Nashville Chapter of The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc. (NAREB) held a luncheon event on Monday April 8, 2019 at Swett’s Restaurant. The realtists gathered to hear from NAREB national officers about a new initiative happening in the Nashville area. National NAREB President Jeffery Hicks, along with Courtney Johnson Rose, 2nd Vice President, and Ashley Thomas III, 3rd Vice President, Lawrence Batiste, Bishop Craig Wortham, and Sherita McCray, Regional Vice-President (from Louisville) all met with the local Nashville NAREB members for the event. Although composed principally of African Americans, the REALTIST© organization embraces all qualified real estate practitioners who are committed to achieving our vision, which is “Democracy in Housing”. Members of NAREB are known as realtists, distinguishing them from general real estate practitioners, known as realtors.

NAREB Nashville president Rob Mack welcomed those in attendance, and thanked them for coming. He spoke to the goals of NAREB and why he was personally committed. “It’s about helping people and communities,” he said, through education and, as the founding principle of NAREB states, promoting democracy through housing. “People had to fight to get equal housing and NAREB was important in that struggle,” he said.

McCray echoed his remarks by encouraging the realtists to prepare for the next 90 days for a special opportunity for “building wealth and creating wealth.” Thomas said NAREB was a vital part of his life, and others. “We start off as members, gradually become friends and end up family,” he said.

Worsham addressed the issues that drive his mission with the organization as national director for faith-based initiatives for NAREB. He noted that each Sunday morning, 16 million African Americans attend worship services somewhere in the US, mostly in Black churches, and the NAREB goal is to put 2 million African Americans into homeownership this year. The point is to find a way to “build a bridge between them,” he noted.

The Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International is a Charismatic Baptist fellowship which advocates the operation of spiritual gifts in church, in reaction to the teachings of many Baptist bodies. It was founded in 1992 by Bishop Paul S. Morton, and its current Presiding Bishop is Nashville’s own Bishop Joseph W. Walker III, senior pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. The Full Gospel Baptist Church fellowship denomination has many members in its churches and mega churches, especially those of Bishop Morton in Atlanta and Bishop Walker in Nashville.

He laid out a plan to meet with congregants after their Sunday, June30 worship services with community wealth-building events. Then over the following several days, NAREB would host a Community Wealth-Building Pavillion in Gaylord Opryland Hotel during their annual national conference of The Full Gospel Baptist Church fellowship there. They will provide counseling and hourly workshops during the meeting, which runs July 2nd – 4th, 2019.

Batiste spoke to the support available through the NID, which is NAREB’s PAC, officially sanctioned by HUD, founded in 1986. He recounted that “I used to be a realtor at one time, but because of what the realtists did, I am just a realtist at heart.”

President Hicks began by noting that “Local board presidents are the most important leaders we have.” He talked about how “America has such a shameful history of disenfranchisement” and that “we want property values to appreciate, but we don’t want people displaced.” He further noted that Blacks have the lowest homeownership rate in the U.S. (41.7% vs 73% for whites), and how crucial this is because “for the majority of Americans their wealth in their home.” He concluded by refocusing on how “churches are huge economic engines and their pastors want our help.”

Courtney Johnson Rose closed out the program noting that words that have guided her, as a second generation realtist, are to “Choose excellence and money will follow.”