Discipling While Black
Jesus commissioned his disciples and by extension, modern Christians with words recorded by Matthew, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the
Many black churches seemed to read this command as, “Therefore, as you go, disciple black people…”. The first American missionary, George Lisle, left South Carolina and went to Jamaica in 1782. Lott Cary, the missionary who the largest black Baptist mission organization is named after, left Virginia in 1823 for Sierra Leone and Liberia. The African Methodist Episcopal Church established churches in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the 1820s. The list goes on. Black churches seem to focus on ministering to black people. They obeyed Jesus’ command in Acts 1:8, “Be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (ISV). Ministering Christ to one’s family and neighbors is a natural starting place but, what next?
Today’s answer to that question is often multiracial ministry. I have been struck because most black church planters I have seen listed among lists of church planters are planting multiracial churches. Some of them have multiracial staffs. Others mention a vision for “multicultural” ministry. However, upon close examination, they intend to practice multiracial not multicultural ministry. Most often, their goal is to model the mosaic of America in their congregation. They want to reach all people, all cultures. The unspoken assumption, embodied in their approach is to reach across cultures the church must transcend culture. The church must not be culturally black if it is to reach everyone.
This assumption is wrong. It assumes
Discipling while Black starts with the understanding that when God made you Black, he did not make a mistake. There is no scientific entity called the Black race. The Black race is a Black family. White people, yellow people, red people, brown people, and black people are all part of the human race. However, families have histories, traditions, cultures, and some common characteristics. Discipling while Black means will celebrating the individual God-given uniqueness of the Black individuals one is
In the pre-Trump era, white Evangelicalism focused on the family. In the political realm, we heard “family values.” Two of the most popular syndicated radio programs were Focus on the Family and Family Life Today. In my ministry, I was too was concerned with the family. But, the families in my community were different. In these programs, single mothers were almost always divorcees. In my community, most of them had never married. On the programs, family financial issues almost always revolved around poor budgeting and stewardship. In my community, they revolved around lack of income
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