Growing The AME Churchgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
Recently Rev. John Fisher, Rev. Ellis Washington, Rev. Carol Ingram-Nelson, Minister of Music Cordelia Webb and Sister Jan Fisher were blessed to travel in the Holy Land of Jordan. There we received a fresh annointing. We all agreed that our ministries will be impacted for a lifetime. Mere words can not describe the blessing. To stand on Mt Nebo like Moses looking into the Promised Land, to stand in the Jordan, where John baptisted our Lord Jesus Christ, to see Lot's place of refuge and to view the brook where Elijah tarried is to undergird our ministries in ways beyond our imagination. Of course because we are all AMEs there was also a lot of discussion about the AME Church. One particular point which struck home to me was Jesus' command that we go out into all of the world and preach the gospel. This edict was not presented to a limited group of individuals with certain spiritual gifts but to all disciples. At home this means going out into the highways, byways and hedges. At home this means going out into the areas where the underclass, under privilaged and underserved abide. Rather than merely self-rightously praying for them and waiting for them to wander into the church. (Where they may or may not be welcomed depending on the predisposition of the local church). Internationally it means exposing the world to our faith. And a different face of African Americans other than the televised black minstrals, jokers and thugs protrayed by a tainted media. Even if Jordan where overt evangelizing is a no-no. There is obvious curiosity about African Americans and our faith amoung both Muslims and Christians. In other countries like Mexico, the Carribean nations, South Africa and Argentina people openly asked me and others the same question when we visited. Were we were there to plant AME churches in their nations? The entire concept of globalization came not from the denizens of information technology, political coalitions over conflicts like Afganistan and Iraq or multinational corporations but from Jesus' command and the examples of the early church. If our church is to grow. If our light is to shine. If the Indwelling Spirit of Christ manifested as the Holy Ghost is to exert it's power in heaven and on earth. We must come out from under our basket of (while still celebrating) African-Americanism. Grow, diversify and expand our church; economically, socially, culturally and internationally. So we may preach the gospel to every living creature. Perhaps what we need to grow our church is a new initiative from the General Conference of 2004 and from each local church. An initiative to reach out to new immigrants at home (particularly people of African descent) and new nations abroad.
-- Anonymous, October 10, 2002
Rev. Woodberry I thank you for your eloquent words. And I agree with you. There is a lot of talk about going into the hedges and by ways in all denominations but the reality is, the emphasis has been on building a bigger church building and hoping people will come. I am new to the A.M.E denomination I and my church which I co-founded with my daughter were called by God to be A.M.E a year ago. It is great to finally be home;-) One of the things I find so remarkable with my Bishop, Bishop John Bryant is that he and the A.M.E church are excited about church planting. My Bishop has a hands on approach with his new churches, he mentors us himself there are two new churches in my conference alone with a third to be planted before annual conference. I am a former United Methodists and in that denominations and others one would have to do an advisability study, go before 4 to 5 committees, be voted on and maybe a church would be planted. My hope is that clergy that are not pastoring churches will be moved to plant churches. It is very hard work but it is exciting and so fullfilling. Can we wait on the denomination to give us money to plant churches? NO! For Christ said go! We have a baby baptism coming up in two weeks. It is our first baby baptism. We are excited. The family is white. They have been looking for a church for a while. They love the A.M.E denomination and they want their child to be raised A.M.E The husband is a former Catholic. God has a plan for the A.M.E Church to be at the forefront of evangelism and also at the forefront of confronting racism in the body of Christ, our church is the most intregated church in my town. And we are proud of that. I hope we will continue the discussion on church growth. Again thank you for sharing your trip with us and let's keep working on our denomination with love!
-- Anonymous, October 10, 2002
praise the Lord! God is truly moving on the hearts of His people. In my Christian World Missions class this week, it was brought to our attention that the African American Church is very weak in global missions. The vision that God has given to me is that if every African American Church would just adopt a church/community in Africa, it would fulfill the Jesus' missionary agenda, then we will experience true revival and church growth. Yes, the African American community has been faced with so much oppression, that our focus has been so internall to survive, but I am convinced that if we are to be the church that God is calling for in the 21st Century, our African brothers and sisters need to witness us as missionaries, teachers, business persons, etc. We need to establish community exchange programs to help our young people to get a better understanding of their historical roots and for us as a people to learn the values of the African culture. My visit to East AFrica was life transforming for me. Attention: sacrifice one good outfit and one person could feed an entire community for one month! God is going to hold each of us accountable for our stewardship! An economic rivial is needed in every village, town and city in America and its rival is linked to how we as African-Americans respond to our global family. Our church has adopted a community in Kenya to help them get a well, one well will bring total transformation to the entire area. The people are donating the land, they now need funds for the drilling. Do we have any takers? Anyone interested contact Pastor Linda Wheatley, God's Family Life Worship Center, Inc. P.O. Box 530, Selbyville, Delaware 19975. Our contact for Kenya is a student at Eastern Baptish Theological Seminarian completing his D.Min in Marriage and Family. Do we really need to have a conference to wait to convene n 2004 to respond. Did Abraham wait to go attend the General Conference of the Old Testament to move towards the promised land, when God speaks, it is then time for action! Let's pray and take action!
-- Anonymous, October 11, 2002