With the question "Where do we go from here?" in mind, local pastors encouraged people use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words of wisdom on peace, justice, equality and freedom for a hopeful future outlook.
Pastor Paul Keener and his wife, Remona, of Hickory Hill Baptist Church came to Lonoke Baptist Church during Saturday's prayer breakfast honoring King. The couple warned the gathered congregation against the dangers of losing focus on God.
"Today, there are a lot of side shows in life," Keener said. "People want you to focus on them instead of on the Lord. This is causing so many people nowadays to look from side to side and lose their focus on God. We can't keep sitting still and letting this happen. There is a prize that awaits us, and that is God. We need to keep our eyes on the prize."
In keeping with the "Where do we go from here?" theme, pastor Michael Henry and his wife, Amanda, of Arkadelphia Baptist Church told those gathered that today's generation seems more focused on self-identity than on self-improvement.
"Today's generation seems more interested in coming out of the closet than cleaning up the closet," Henry said. "We have all fallen asleep and let this happen. A lot of young people don't even know that much about African-American history. We also need progress in our society and not regress, and deciding not to vote anymore isn't progress."
Pastor Larry Jordan and his wife, Deidre, of St. James Baptist Church, said the country needs to take a sharp U-turn back to the Lord.
"I remember when churches used to be full of people," Jordan said. "I think one of the reasons that our churches are becoming empty is because that organization called Black Lives Matter (isn't) telling us that we are actually the ones killing each other. Our people are being destroyed because of a lack of knowledge—they don't know God. We've forgotten how to pray to the Lord and give Him the thanks and praise."
MLK celebration weekend events continue at 7 p.m. today with the 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gala at Twin City Events Center, 2101 Texas Blvd.W