Pastor Emeritus, Reverend Micheal Benton, a native of Lithonia, Georgia, served as Pastor of Fairfield Baptist Church from June 1977 to December 2017. He then served as Overseer from January 2018 to December 2021. The Church Conference voted on December 15, 2021, to bestow the title of Pastor Emeritus on him for over 44 years of service to Fairfield.
Born to the late JP and Jessie Mae Benton, Pastor Emeritus Benton received his call to the ministry in 1975. At the age of 26, he was ordained and licensed as a minister of the gospel from Big Miller Grove Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Archbishop Jimmie L. Smith.
Pastor Emeritus Benton received his Bachelor of Divinity Degree in Biblical Education from the Beulah Heights Bible College in 1999. He continued his theological studies in Biblical Education at the Great Commission Seminary in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He is certified to teach by the Evangelical Training Association.
Pastor Emeritus Benton is an anointed man of God. Those who are blessed to serve under his ministry hear and receive great wisdom, an intense anointing, and the power to change. Whether churched or unchurched, his messages reach people with practical down-to-earth answers to the everyday challenges of life.
Pastor Emeritus Benton is known as a dynamic expository gospel preacher and revivalist with a widely traveled ministry. His extensive experiences include preaching a sermon on the Sea of Galilee during a trip to the Holy Land, baptism in the Jordon River in Israel, and a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula for the dedication ceremony of a church in Chichania for which Fairfield provided funding.
Pastor Emeritus Benton has been known as a pastor with a shepherd’s heart. As a “pastor’s pastor”, he inspires and encourages many men and women of God, and is frequently sought out as a mentor to pastors serving congregations inside and out of the state of Georgia. He has licensed over 100 preachers, ordained 6 pastors and over 40 deacons during his 40 years of ministry at Fairfield.
He demonstrated himself as a spiritual man with a vision by moving the church forward and equipping the saints to do ministry. He firmly believes in and lives out the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” As a testament of his abounding faith and belief, he led the growing congregation of Fairfield Baptist Church through the construction of two sanctuaries, an administration building, a family life center, a parking deck, and the acquisition of several properties, all to the glory of God.
Pastor Emeritus Benton enjoys spending time with his family. He is married to Dr. Y’Vonne (Brantley) Benton who has shared his life and ministry since 1975. They have six children, Keith (Marla), Nzinga, Yohance, Oya (Clifford), L’Anda and Shani, and five grandchildren, Joi, Jared, Emani, Ari and Clifford, Jr.
WOMAN OF VIRTUE
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10
Dr. Y’vonne Benton is a Godly woman who loves God and His people. She exemplifies a Christian woman and lends herself to the work of uplifting the Kingdom of God. She is the feminine strength providing leadership and direction at Fairfield Baptist Church.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…
Through her dynamic leadership, she served as Director of the Women’s Ministry of Fairfield, known as W.In.G.S. Her zeal to develop activities for the spiritual and physical growth of the women of Fairfield has generated several branches of the Women’s ministry to include all ages. Dr. Benton founded the Counseling Ministry at Fairfield, which serves as a refuge for those who are troubled or need a listening ear and a caring heart.
Working side by side with her husband, Dr. Benton oversaw the formation of the Deaconess Board and was a founding director of the Gospel Choir. As a result of the firm foundation that she laid, these ministries have flourished at Fairfield.
A WOMAN OF WISDOM
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness…
A native of Decatur, Georgia, Sister Benton received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Clark College in Atlanta (now known as Clark Atlanta University), a Master of Arts Degree in Professional Counseling from Argosy University in Atlanta, Georgia, and Doctorate Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida. She retired from the City of Atlanta as Director of Bureau of Human Services, where she used every opportunity to affect change in the lives of residents of Atlanta from senior citizens to the homeless.
A GODLY WOMAN, WORTHY OF PRAISE
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: But a woman that feareth the Lord, She shall be praised.
Dr. Benton is a very instrumental part of our Church Family. Her upbringing in the Big Miller Grove Baptist Church of Lithonia, Georgia paved the way for the work that she performs at Fairfield Baptist Church. Her favorite scripture is Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Her children arise up and call her blessed…
Dr. Benton and Pastor Emeritus Benton have six children: Keith (Marla), Nzinga, Yohance, Oya (Clifford), L’Anda, and Shani. They have five beautiful grandchildren, Joi, Jared, Emani, Ari and Clifford, Jr. In addition to her own family, Dr. Benton is looked upon as the mother to many around Fairfield as they seek out her wisdom and kindness.