In the past, I have attented a non-denominational church and a pentacostal church. I now attend a Black Baptist church which is Bible based and focused on social justice. I would like to declare right now that I totally love the culture within the black church! Yeah I said it! The Black church is such a beautiful place!
Fellowship within the black church is a magnificent thing! I love when people of other races come to visit and worship in my church. At first, some of them seem unsure, but as they watch how we celebrate God, they relax and worship as well! In the Black church we have the time of acknowledging those who have visited us. At this time we try to overwhelm the visitors with love and joy, and judging by the smiles I see on their faces, we are succeeding. We make a point to welcome all visitors and encourage them to return to worship with us again.
Education in the Black church is highly prized. We focus on teaching our children to love and honor God and to respect themselves as African youth, and to get along with each other no matter race or nationality. We create scholarships to help fund the children’s higher education. We teach children and teens about ministry, and have children in the church’s broadcast ministry, dance ministry, video ministry and a host of others. The Black church has always held college education in high esteem and we encourage our high school grads to go on the college. While the children are still in high school we facilitate their preparation for college through different educational affiliations and by having worshops for in advanced math, science, english, and other subjects. In the Black church we understand in a practical way that the children are our future.
Right now, I’m reading a book called “What We Love About The Black Church” . This book was written byDr. William H. Crouch , who is the president of Georgetown College. He’ s a friend of my pastor and he is committed to creating diversity in his college. He has worked hard, forging the way, actively seeking and bringing young black women, and black men especially to his college. A co writer along with him is Dr. Joel C. Gregory, a gifted preacher and teacher, who went through a divorce and was shunned by his Southern Baptist convention. He thought he wouldn’t preach again until the grace of God reached to him through an invitation by a black preacher to speak at his convention. From there he was able to rebuild his preaching ministry, though he has decided not to pastor a church.
I have chosen to highlight two white men who have extensive ties to the black church. It’s very interesting to hear somewhat of an outsider’s perspective on the black church. I can’t call these two men true outsiders because they are great friends to my church in particular and to many black churches in general. These two men are examples of what it means to be reconciled. They both are fighters for social justice and have done much to help facilitate that in the black church. They both have stood in the pulpits of many, many black churches and have delivered God’s Word with power and conviction! Dr. Gregory’s preaching style is powerful and he has a gift for crafting wonderful analogies to “explain” God in a way that makes Him more present and alive! Dr. Joel knows how to break it down so you can “see” God!
Pastor Joel Gregory preaching
There is so much fullness in the black church! So much comes from the church–from leadership, to helps, to encouragement, to economic development to training, to housing to education and so much more. The black church touches on all the areas that we as black people are faced with. I am so grateful for all those who labor unceasingly in the black church. They do so much to make life better for so many. Unfortunately, there are those people, who aren’t able to focus on all the good that the black church is doing in the black community, but instead choose to isolate those failures of the black church, and use that to try to tear down the church while building up their own careers in this climate of overt hatred of black people.
What is so sad and wicked is that these people are black! It never ceases to amaze me–these black people who go behind and beg crumbs from those who hate them–by writing negative articles about their own people, and their own traditions. How do they think those oppresors are viewing them? As utter fools, that’s how. And those black sellouts are OK with that. First it was that guy who falsely proclaimed that the black church is dead. Now it’s that woman who says that the black church is black women’s problem! In a different part of the world these people would be pulled out of hiding, dragged somewhere and silenced.
What these people utterly FAIL to understand is that the entire world is sinful, not just black people! They, themselves are most sinful, because they sell themselves out for money! What these people who have no understanding of true grace don’t get is that God is merciful! No matter what we have done, if we repent, we can be made whole again. Like the Prodigal son, the ring will be placed on our finger, the robe placed on our back and the sandals on our feet! God’s mercy and grace towards us is GREAT. It’s beyond our capacity to comprehend it, and beyond many Christians’ capacity to accept it. What’s more, they certainly can’t share that grace with others through forgiveness and love, the paramount things that Jesus requires of us!
The Black Church is a powerful church! In spite of all the dirt that is being said about it, in spite of all that is blamed on it, in spite of those who wickedly mock the black church and it’s culture, in spite of weak, immature Christians who blame the black church for their pain-expecting not to have to suffer, in spite of all that comes against the black church, in spite of all those who are trying to destroy it, the Black Church Lives! It lives in power! It lives because it places its hand in the hand of God! And though many people–black people even–who see the culture of the black church as something to be ashamed of, I STILL love the culture of the black church! I love that we whoop when we preach, I love that we wear large hats, I love that we dress up, I love that we get slain in the spirit, and I especially love that we are tolerant of others.
It’s not about the culture, it’s about worshipping God! God created us with our cultural styles–our way of relating to each other and the world. Other people worship Him in a different style than we do, and that’s OK too! Yet we as black people are mocked. Above all, I most proud of the way black people are able to forgive. We are the most accepting people that I know of! I’m thankful that it was the black church that extended a hand of reconciliation and mercy to the white pastor Joel H. Gregory when he was shunned by his own fellow Christians. That’s exactly what Jesus wants.