Is the Black Church Still an Agent of Change?

The Black Church has always been an agent of change in the Black community. Many of the strides that we have made as a people has come from the power of the black Church. Many of our institutions of higher learning, our politicians, our entertainers, and our civil rights movements all had their genesis in the Black Church. The Black Church has been the one institution in the Black Community that has weathered the storms of racial inequality, prejudice, socioeconomic ills, and the harsh winds of racial hatred. I applaud the Black Church yet I am concerned about the new waves that are coming through our churches. In our attempt to do what others are doing, we are now adopting the styles and methods of the seeker sensitive churches. Perphaps, the Purpose Driven Agenda doesn’t mesh with all the churches of our community and our demographic. Every church in the black community has not been called to be a megachurch. I am not megachurch bashing for I am a product of a megachurch. Yet, I feel like the bigger is better movement has swept the Black Church. Sure, God wants all of our houses of worship full, but I don’t believe that he would agree with all of our methiods. If an evangelist preaches a hard word against sin, he will not be one of the most sought after conference speakers around. We all want to hear how we are going to be blessed. I wholeheartedly believe that God wants his children to be blessed, but not at the cost of us running after other Gods. The god of mammon has permeated the black church to the extent that we will spend 45 minutes on an offering that was preceded by a 2 minute Altar Call. Where are we going? Have we all been lulled into complacency and a self satisfied slumber? Are we at ease in Zion? What can we do in order to get the Black Church, the Church that I love and cherish back to it’s place as the premier agent of change in the Black Community? Would we need to march and picket as much, if more of us would get on our knees and pray?

Guest Columnist,

Pastor Stephen F. Smith

Sure House Church, Inc.

6 Responses

  1. I may be off the subject a little bit. ( Just a thought ) I dont no anywhere in the bible where it says that there is a all black heaven or all white heaven. So why are the churches so divided. I understand that if most of the church/community is black, then you can say the mostly black church. But when we label the it “the BLACK church” it makes me wonder if we as black people even want to associate with any other race but our own. The entire world isnt all black so we shouldnt give the impression that no other race is welcome. ( Would you as a black person go to a place that calls itself THE WHITE CHURCH? ) Read Galatians 3:26-29. Like I said, just a thought.

  2. THe Black Church was created when the traditional church stayed silent during slavery, of course we believe there is one God and one heaven that we are striving to make it to, but the traditional mainstream church stayed silent during too many horrible infractions. Thus, the creation of The Black Church!

  3. Rev. Smith,

    You have hit the nail right on the head. The Black Church is so purpose driven drunk it sickens me. Many pastors can’t promote their own books for promoting Rick Warren’s. The pastors who defend the movement say they are not changing the content just the method, but if you look closely, the gospel is watered down, down, down like weak sweet tea. Rick Warren tries so hard to separate himself from the prosperity preachers, but when you examine what he’s dishing up, it is all the same. Finding your purpose for most people is finding that career or “ministry” that is going to be lucrative. Many people don’t pay attention to all the stories in the bible that demonstrate that God took is sweet time in bringing many people into His purpose (notice I said “His” and not “their” purpose – there is a huge difference.) How old was Moses when he left Egypt? How long was he in the wilderness? Did he make it to the Promised Land? How old was Noah when he built the arc? What suffering and ridicule did he endure in order to do what God had instructed? With this being Black History Month, can’t God’s black children stop running after white strategies long enough to believe that God called them to be kings and queens, to strategize with the best of them? I am a preacher and I am called to love all of God’s people. Black Christians have got to realize that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. We had best heed the words of Carter G. Woodson and originate and stop trying to imitate. We tell our parrishers one thing and run and do another. When will we ever learn?

  4. Such a shame , we are not what we used to be , but what we are. The black churches are so filled with witchcraft, double thithing, homsexuality, lesbianism and rape…….. the degredation have far superceded our original purpose. We cripple and damage our own communties.

  5. The Black church reference exists because there is a White church. Just because something is not called white in no way means the reference does not exist. It is a bit naive to live in America and not know that historically when whites say “us” or “we”, they mean white people.

    It is a shame any references have to be made at all, but we live in a fallen world. As Christians we simply have been taken up higher through Jesus Christ where we can enjoy the freedom from being in bondage to a sin sick world system.

    God holds the reins of freedom in his hands and if at anytime he had dropped the reins do you actually think Africans would have survived living in America? Glory to God He is no respecter of persons and we do well to remember it.

    But glory to God He heard the cry of Africans in America and answered. I hope this does not sound bad, but I like the idea of going to a church where I don’t have to work at being fully accepted or have to altar my blackness in order to be accepted. I love believers no matter who they are. I love people but we are still in the world as believers, just absolutely and manifestly, blessed that we are not of the world.

    The devil seems to understand better than we do that God has always used the Black Church to Institute change by the very power and depth of the way we worship, praise and cry out to Him in prayer. The very boldness of our faith was a product of our struggle in America. God takes care of the needy, the poor and fatherless in a special way. This describes the history of Blacks in America. What is it now that we are an economic force in the U.S.?

    The Black Church has historically been a formidable and under-rated fire wall against satan’s kingdom, that has slowly lost its fire by buying into the megachurch mentality.

    I wonder what a survey of Black Pastors would reveal if asked if they could go back to before they had mega churches, what would their honest answer be?

    Bishop Patterson is with the Lord now, but before he was taken up, he said if he had it do over again, he would not have bought into the mega church. He was old enough to remember what real church was like when pastors knew their congregations and their was true gospel fellowship.

    Sometimes I would look at his eyes as he stood at the pulpit and wonder what he was seeing and thinking, Now I know. But he kept preaching under the unction of the Holy Ghost anyway.

    Yes we are still an agent for change but what kind?

    We need to take the business out of Ministry and the Ministry out of our businesses. Ministry is not a job or career. It is a holy and heavenly calling sent down from Jesus Christ. Everybody “and” their mamas are a ministry today. But who is called and chosen? We use to know.

    Thanks for that articles and this amazing website!
    God bless

  6. Boy, I can tell you have some preach in you!

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