AME Church Growth Opportunities : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Here is a pop quiz. Which country in the Western Hemisphere has the largest number of black African descendants? If you answered the US, Canada, Haiti, Mexico or Cuba go to the back of the line!! If your response is Brazil, congratulations, proceed to the front!! Now what I find incredibly ironic is the exclusion of Brazil in the AME World Outreach. In fact, the only South American country which is reprented in our Episcopal structure is Guyana [16th District]. Brazil represents a fertile territory for AME evangelism not only because of its large black presence but also its foundation of Christianity, thanks largely to Portugese influence. If this denomination is committed to Church Growth it must not limit its growth strategies to the parochial boundaries of US borders. QED

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2000


I agree with Bill that evangelization of new territories should be considered. But I think the harvest is still ripe in our own back yards.

How are the stateside districts addressing the issue of Population shift? This is a census year, and over the next 18 motnhs neew demographic data will be available. We need to use these new data to refocus our local evangelical efforts. In some places we have charges in dying and dead communities, while thriving new population centers go "unchurched" from an AME perspective, and are consequently harvested by United Methodists, COGIC, and a host of "nondenominational" concerns.

I believe it should be the business of each Annual Conference, of each presiding Elder district, to identify in any given quadrennium the four most promising areas of new harvest and develop a plan for reaping membership to the AME church. I see the harvest as being two- fold: establishment of mission charges in areas where we have not yet been, but where "our people" are, and strengthening older charges in still-ripe areas with exciting new visions of ministry that meet the shifting needs of that local demographic. I believe there are enough supernumeraries emerging in our institutes to meet these challeneges in effective teaming ways, coupling the wisdom and guidance of a seasoned pastor with the vigor and availability of our newer clergy.

Let us not ignore Bill's proposal, though. The extensionof the church into Brazil means the learning of new things: a new language, a new culture, and a new harmonization of ecclesiastical needs in a global context. We should pursue these goals over the next 20 years, broadening our mission from the mere parochial perspective Bill sites to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We just need to remember the process cited in Acts 1:6-8 "and ye shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem (where you currently live), Judea (your surrounding district), Samaria (your neighboring district), and the uttermost parts of the earth."

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2000

Jerryl, Thanks for your contribution to this thread. You are absolutely correct that demographic shifts should be used as input in strategic planning for meeting the growing needs of our denomination. I am going to be on business travel in May which will take me to states like New Mexico and Arizona. I checked to see how many AME churches were located in Pheonix and Albuquerque. After much searching I have identified one church in each city. There are a lot of black folks living in cities like Seattle, Portland, Denver, Phoenix yet the AME presence is virtually non-existent. Why? These are the fundamental issues which need to be discussed at the General Conference.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2000

Bill Dickens poese a relevant question. Since in the inscrutable will of God, God has raised up denominational and non-denominational entities to declare the unsearchable riches of Christ, it seems prophetic that the AME Church as one component of the "Black Church" in the world which claims to be a "Liberating" Church by it's pronouncements, then it is legitimate to ask about our witness of the gospel from an AME context beyond our national borders other than Africa and Guyans. An article that many AME'S might want to read was recently published in the April 2000 issue of MISSION FRONTIERS, The U.S. Center for World Mission. Their cover story is entitled THE AFRICAN AMERICAN & MISSIONS, The Past; The Present; The Possibilities. Three articles are included in the overall perspective; Ignite the Passion, by Vaughn Walston; Keeper or Killer? by Michael Johnson; and Overcoming Obstacles, by Marilyn Lewis. Mr. Walston begins his article aslo with a statistic and a question; "African Americans make up about 12 percent of the U.S. population, but less than 1 percent of the American misionary force in the world? Why is this? What can be done to change it?" If you're interested the magazine issue can be purchased from THE UNITED STATES CENTER FOR WORLD MISSION, 1605 E. Elizabeth Street, Pasadena, California 91104. Ask for the April 2000 issue.

Peace Rev. Harold L. Turner

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2000

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