Pastor Carlton Byrd has led the Atlanta Berean Adventist Church since 2006.
The 3,800-member congregation was awarded the 2009 Innovative Church of the Year award from the Adventist Church's
in North America.
As tens of thousands of Adventist Church members gather later this month in Atlanta for the church's 11-day World Session, Berean's senior pastor, Carlton P. Byrd, says he can't wait for them to arrive and see the state of the church there.
"They're going to find that Adventists in Atlanta are serious," Byrd
"Evangelism is alive and well."
Business of ministry
In addition to his
theology doctorate, he
also earned a master's degree in business administration and held corporate internships before entering ministry, the profession of his
father and grandfather.
Even as an undergraduate student he
pursued both theology and business; the duel major helped him become a more effective leader, he
"Make no mistake, pastors are spiritual leaders," Byrd
says, "but the reality is the spiritual leadership that we must apply is situated in an organization."
The 107-year-old church, responsible for more than 30 spin-off congregations over the years, now actively caters to young professionals and young families.
leadership is distinctly his
own style, it's supported by the philosophy of the congregation that selected him as senior pastor in 2006 at age 34.
now seeks out young adults and other professionals, urging them to get involved in worship and ministry to all ages.
Denominational leaders say he
and other ministers who focus on community and member involvement are what drive healthy, growing churches.
at Atlanta Berean
, that ministry is his
"I wasn't called to just pastor the church," he
"I'm to pastor the community."