Could you help a brother out...please? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Hi ya'll! Ol'Ray has been busy working! I have discovered that if you spent the time that God has given you to do the things that God wants you to do...there is no time left for foolishness! I am elated to be able to chat with my friends Denise "Big Sky Country", Jazz, Nalton, Jerryl and the "Shaft of Tallyho"...Professor Bill (QED) Dickens! Here is my question: In your (honest) opinion, could you name five Strengths and five weaknesses affecting our Zion? If you wish to elaborate...feel free!

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2002


Ray when I read your question, my first thought was. "This is a Robert Matthew question" so I hope after he eat's his birthday cake he will respond also. Here are some of the strengths I see 1.) Our history, we have been here a long time and there is a solid foundation to build upon 2.) Connectionalism is actually in practice in our denomination. As is evident by this board. I had been United Methodists most of my life and I never experienced connectionalism the way I have felt it as an A.M.E 3.) We have some of the most talented Bishops in the world. Compare the resumes, educational background and churches are Bishops have pastored and compare them to the United Methodist Churches, Lutheran, or Catholic and you will see a major difference. 4.) We have willingness to talk about God and the Holy Spirit and Jesus. In addition our denomination has the most gifted laity in the world. Laity keeps our churches going and they are very generous with their time and money.Methodism is a Holiness movement that was guided by the Holy Spirit. Many denominations have committees to formulate their denominations position on the Historical Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the style of worship that everyone should use. We as A.M.E know God is in control, Jesus is our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit is with us, there is no need for discussion we just surrender to God. 5.) Our ability to think outside of the box, i.e economic development programs, housing, starting our insurance company. Starting new churches being creative in worship etc.

WEAKNESS 1.) Sexism, it is troublesome that in 2002 a denomination that was founded because of oppression and racism would discriminate against clergy women. I must add that I have been blessed in that Bishop Bryant has appointed many women and placed them in churches and in P.E positions in the fifth district But I do receive quite a bit of email from others around the connection who are not as fortunate. 2.) We are not getting information out to each other or the world regarding the great work our denomination is doing quickly enough. I really believe there is a lot of great news to share. 3.) We are not sharing enough of our resources with our sisters and brothers in Africa. 4.) There seems to be so many great conferences and meetings in our denomination but the hotel alone is exorbitant usually between 100 and 125.00 a night. That leaves out a lot of laity and clergy of small churches. I have gone to many conferences in my life and the group rates are never as high as those that I notice at A.M.E conferences. Can someone explain to me why they are so high? 5.) We don't focus enough on the successes of our denomination or the many blessings God has given us. God woke us today.

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2002

Well if the question of the strength of the AMEC was asked in the decade of the 80s my response (somewhat shallow and potentially superficial) would have been ATTRACTIVE women!! Prior to marrying my wife in 1992 I was romantically involved with 3 women, they were AME and I was Baptist. These women were not only Mensa material but they looked like Pam Grier and Angela Bassett. Let's just say the attraction was not based on an appreciation of our then denominational differences:-) Since I have turned in my "players card" I can now offer a more respectable response.

Before I provide my response let me first commend Parson Allen for posing this important question. About two months ago I completed the form that AME Hdqrts is asking all members to provide such input. My pastor is a member of the committee reviewing this information. Articulating the strengths and weaknesses of an organization is crucial for effective self-evaluation and implementation for strategic direction. I utiilize this same methodology when teaching the principles of competitive strategy in the field of international business. Parson Rogers' response is quite impressive and indicative of her submission to the pedagogical influence of J. Payne, R. Matthews and Parson Alton Paris. I would add the following:

Strengths: 1. Development of a Liberation Theology 2. Emphasis on Secular Education 3. Organization (Connectional Model) 4. Appreciation of History 5. Global Focus


1. Low Biblical IQs among Lay 2. Idolatrous worship of custom & tradition 3. Inflexibility 4. Intellectual Incarceration - The Discipline has superseded the Bible in some circles 5. Aversion to technology

Well, that's MY honest opinion. I don't expect consensus of my views. I do however look forward to reading how others respond to this question. I'm off to D.C. and Philly next week for about five days. I hope to see some of ya'll in between my business dealings. Until then.........Tallyho!! QED

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2002

Rro. Bill I have been mentored by some of the greatest minds in our denomonation,, Jerryl Payne, Robert Matthews, Rev. Paris and Bill of course you as the Dean of our online academy. As a matter of fact I included all those listed above in my annual report to Bishop Bryant. As far as church growth and development is concern all of you wise gentleman are the real church development in our denomination. I too am glad that Rev. Allen posed the question and I look forward to hearing other responses also. Have a safe trip in D.C and if we did not know it before after reading your response it is clear that your wife Jenny is a saint!!! Give her my love she is awesome.

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2002

By the way Bill I did notice that you used the word "submission" when referring to me. I laughed for fifteen minutes. I have been called a lot of things but no one who knows me would call me submissive! I submit only to God. You cracked me up!! I have gone up against the klan, aryan nation, good ole boys and the militia and I am the only ordained black clergy woman in the state of Montana. Bill you are truly my biological brother for you make me laugh. I can't wait to tell my daughter. Have fun at the Cheesecake factory in D.c for me.

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2002

Brother Allen that is a powerful question. I am coming up on my 2 year anniversary in the AME church in February 2003. Therefore consider the source when reading my comments about the AME church.


A. ORGANIZATION- The AME church has a superior organizational structure which has been formally established since about 1816. This organizational structure consists of a hierachy of clergy which have been educated formally in the seminaries(Thank you Bishop Payne!!!) and indoctrinated by the senior AME clergy about the modus operende of this church.

B. EDUCATIONAL- The AME church has history of establishing schools of higher education. There is a body of research to suggest that the education of us negroes(I know it sounds archaic but I like the way it sounds)has been a significant factor in the socioeconomic uplift of black people in this country. According to my Encarta Africana, it was AME ministers who initiated the Brown vs the Topeka Board of Education.

C. DISCIPLINE- In Addition to the Bible, the AME church has codified in detail how the business matters of the church are to be conducted in a legal document known as the " Discipline". I can tell you from experience that this document has probably prevented a lot of arguments in church meetings. For one has a reference point, which can quell any argument. I am speaking mainly from my previous baptist experience.

D. TRADITION- The AMEC has a host of traditions which prevent it from changing with every whim or fad that comes along. For example, the people in the AME church still believe in singing those hymns in the AME hymnal which were penned out of someone's profound experience with the Holy Spirit during their lifetimes. It seems to me that the church of the 21st century believes that it has to come up with gimmicks to attract other people to it. I believe that if Jesus is lifted up He will draw all men unto him.

E. MEMBERSHIP- The AMEC has some of the most erudite and gifted individuals amongst its ranks. I shutter when I think about the enormous intellectual capacity that's in this church. If we could form people into " think tanks" across the connection, I am certain that a lot of economic problems in the black community could be solved.


A. COMMUNICATION- The AME church does not tell other AME churches all over the world about some of the great things that are going on in their congregations. Thank you Rev. Fisher for this site but there needs to be more communication between all the churches in the AMEC and a celebration of what has been accomplished.

Now I realize that the Bishops already travel alot but there needs to be more visitation by high ranking clergy in an episcopal district to the churches in the respective districts. These individuals should inspire, motivate, and uplift the congregants that they visit.

B. NATIONAL BUDGET- The budget is about 10 million dollars. That sounds like a lot of money for an individual but for a church between 2.5 to 3.5 million people, it is realy a paltry sum. I would have no problem at all sending a check for $500.00 a year to a national AME fund if I thought the money was going to be used wisely.

C.ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT- The AME church needs a long term strategy for the economic development of the black community. Black people are wealthy nation collectively but there are not conduits out there where their money can be effectively recycled in the community. Therefore, since everything I have comes from the Lord. Then why shouldn't the AME church buy houses, land, banks, commercial property, retail businesses and operate them in a socially responsible manner.

D. MEMBERSHIP- The membership should become obsessed with being led by the Holy Spirit and seeking God's Will for the Church. None of us can plan or do anything better than God.

E. BIBLICAL EDUCATION- The membership needs to study the word of God more so that we will become more sensitive to the will of God and knowledgeable about fighting the enemy in spiritual warfare.


-- Anonymous, December 09, 2002

My Dear Brother Sorry I have checked in so late. It appears the Parsons and the Professor have laid out quite correctly the strengths and weaknesses of our Church. Permit me to add a couple as well.

Strengths Developmental Doctrine: Having had the opportunity of sitting at a round table review of our Book of Doctrine and Discipline a team of international lawyers found it one of the best prepared documents ever read.

Weakness: How many of us have it, read it or follow it. Great preparation is useless if we don't use the book.

Strengths: Administration, our structure of management is strong and sensative. Our Bishops are quire accomplished and are great preachers. Ideas are encouraged from every corner.

Weakness: The idea that we continue to have our professional business run from a Liturgical perspective is quite disturbing. We have a wealth of qualified professionals who can run the business of the Church. We need to let them do more (not lip service).

Strengths: Women in Ministry Women constitute the majority of our Church population and are encouraged to grow. Now elevation to Episcopal honors can be attained.

Weakness Our sisters are still set upon by immature and overgrown boys who are too lazy to grow up. Sexual misconduct is too rampant and abuse is still not dealt with properly in our Church. Much more needs to be done. These our our Wives, Mothers, Sisters and Daughters. As beautiful and attractive our wonderful African queens are we should show much more respect than we do now.

Strengths: Our History Without question a great part of the freedom movement of our world. Leaders who have never been afraid to speak with one voice and make change

Weakness How conveniently we forget! We don't teach enough about our History and the new bridges to be crossed. Our leaders speak to the issues but we have lost our follow through

Bro. Ray let us be resolved to talk more, do more, pray more and work more for the night is coming when man can work no more. God Bless You ALl

-- Anonymous, December 12, 2002

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