Spiritual plan. What do you think we should be focusing on?

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Dear Brothers and Sisters As you know I have a strong desire for economic development for our Zion and strong leadership for us as well. Let us ask the question in front of all of that. Whether we have the finances or not, economic development or not,here is our question. What is the spiritual plan for our Church? This question is based on three levels. First the local level (How many of us as members still sit waiting for the Pastor to bring in the converts, teach them the Bible, use them to work and still meet our needs as if we have nothing to do?), The regional level (How many of us complain that the Church is no longer standing up and speaking in the area of spiritual and moral issues while look for our leaders to speak, Should we be speaking?) and finally the Global level (Is this denomination the African American Methodist Episcopal Church? Is its business and leadership subject to the desires of the continental United States first? Where is our relationship with our family in Africa? Have we sought enough the input and cultural talents of our family from around the world? Do we care about the other regions of our Church when our local areas are having more than enough difficulties?)

Our Church can be the beacon and voice that it used to be if we all get involved. The question is how? How do you see our Church and how can we grow it in this most challenging time to meet the spiritual needs of all of Gods Children?

I pray the blessings of the lord upon you all as I look forward to seeing your opinions.

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2004


Brother Nalton,

Good Question! My short response is "Christian Education." Doctrine, Holiness, Scripture, Scripture and more Scripture. With these in focus, I believe all other things will be added to our Zion.

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2004

Wow! Such important questions. I am going to have to take a few moments to think about these series of questions, and I'll respond shortly. God bless.

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2004

Bro. Nalton, Perhaps you should not look at the global and concetrate on the local first. We are called to carry the gospel (Good News). Did Jesus have an economic development program? He did tell his disciples to feed the people on at least one occassion.

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2004

In a nutshell, I think that on the local, district and connectional levels, we should be concentrating more on "ministry" and less on politics/meetings/who's running for what, etc. A friend of mine stated that the AME Church is great because it represents the "first national organization---like a forerunner to our great fraternities and sororities". What should distinguish us from those organizations is "ministry" because that SHOULD BE our purpose. The sole purpose should not be just for electing people, but for the ministry of Jesus Christ. Politics in an international denomination like ours certainly has it's place--however, that should not be the first or primary focus. People often leave the AME church and their complaint is that they are seeking "ministry" and they get tired of the politics after a while (i.e. after they graduate from the YPD). If we focus on ministry and ministering to the needs of those in need in our communities, then as a local, district and connectional church, we will grow. Those AME Churches that are our "gems"--the one's that we are so happy to reference (i.e. 1st AME/Empowerment Temple/etc.) are churches that have a "ministry" focus. Many of the members could care less if they are attending an AME church--they are attending a church that meets the spiritual need. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2004

One more thing--worship--weekly services are not "ministry"--that is worship. In our individual churches, we need to move ministry beyond that which occurs on Sunday morning--and outreach into our communities. Ministry is not solely the Missionary Society's responsibility.

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2004

Dear Rev. Paris I believe that Ministry should start at the local level first and that it should expand outwards. I apologize if my post does not reflect that. I am quite guilty of being a global thinker however we must start at the local Church first. Sis. Lewis I believe is right. Sis. Augusta I look forward to your thoughts.

Thank you all for your posts thus far. May God Bless You

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2004

Brother Brangman,

Thank you for such a probing question. Your query about whether or not the AME church is the African-American Methodist Episcopal Church reminded me that the AME church is an international church. Therefore, we have to have a great deal of cultural sensitivity. We also have to have a great deal of wealth to accomplish the mission of the church.

The church was founded by Jesus Christ and belongs to Him. We are a small denomination of that church. Nevertheless, we must never forget that the purpose of the church is to worship God, edify Christians, and evangelize. To accomplish these goals, we must be led and empowered by the Spirit of God. God has a plan. His plan is perfect and it is impossible for any human to do it better than God. Therefore, I propose that we have conferences where we strictly pray and listen to God's guidance for the direction of our church. I have learned when you are dealing with many personalities that you must have divine intervention to get something accomplished. Thank you again for this very important question. The AME church is blessed to have individuals of your caliber amongst its ranks.

-- Anonymous, May 01, 2004

Rev Brangman,

I have often ponder the question as to where the AME Church is headed? I use to believe that the YPD was a very useful organization for the up bringing of our Youth to become vital adults and missionaries in the Church. I also would say the YPD is a very good stepping stone to knowing the church. What is outline in the YPD handbook is quite a challange even for any adult. And when you are a director just trying to instill in the minds of children, half of what is in that book you can be over whelm. But the youth is our future. And most churches have a YPD. and they do not have the other youth organization as some of the larger churches do. So 1st you have to deal with what you have.

I have been a director in the local YPD and was quite excited to go to a quadrannial in 1999. But I had a rude awakening at the convention. I had heard about the politics and the politicing but after being there I felt numb by it all after seeing it first hand. The only time I was aroused and my spirit awakened was by the hour of power that they had one afternoon, and I feel the young people that were there were equally moved. After I got home, I couldnt help thinking about it and I also kept thinking about another youth convention that I was invited to when I was younger. It wasnt affiliated with our church. It was another denomination. And I went to their night service. It was a state convention, and I swear they had more people at the state convention then we had at our quadrannial hands down. It was a spirit filled service, organize and not alot of pomp and circumstance.

I can say after comparing the two events that politics and religion don't mix. Or don't mix well. I think that this is the biggest problem with the church and we need to get rid of it, first and foremost. There have been serveral religious group that were founded at the beginning of the last century. Founded on faith and prayer that is now some of the largest black denomination which has taken a good share of our AME's with them because they do not deal w/the politics.

So the gest of what I am saying is get rid of the polictics and get into the spiritual ministry. Start forming youth group bible studies and worship services. Form an organization that will bring in young adult youth leaders that can teach our youth to be better christians.

The YPD may have its place in the church. But it has a wickedly overwhelming agenda. The Missionary society needs to rethink why is there a YPD and what should it be doing. They can't do it all.

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

Candy B, you said something there.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Dear Sister Candy B Thank you for your most profound points. This is the very reason I raised the point. This discussion is only confirming the values of many of us and I am grateful for your comments. I fully agree that politics should be secondary. The how is the next question I will raise. May God Bless You Sister

Blessings from Bermuda

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Dear Sister Candy B I am sorry I did not advise you but I am not a member of the Clergy. I am sorry if I have mis-led you. Blessings

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2004

Focus on Christ. He is our redeemer.

-- Anonymous, May 08, 2004

Brother Brangman

I am glad that maybe you and others are having some of the same thoughts that I am having. When I was at our annual Conference this past year there were 2 young men in their 20's talking amongst themselves before we went into the service, and they were speaking of similar things about bringing in a spirit filled mind with the young people in the church. But they were also at odds on how to go about it. So there are others including the young who do see this need.

I hope that the delagates at the general conference bring up this dilema and something be resolved. There are a few other things that need to be brought up at the general Conference that has been on my mind but that is another topic.

God Bless this Church....

-- Anonymous, May 08, 2004

Sister Candy B. The General Conference is part of the problem. It cannot then be the solution. We spend far two much time and resources focused on the General Conference elections. An example of the waste is the number of Alternate Delegates; one Alternate for each delegate. What a waste. One Alternate for every six delegates of fraction thereof is sufficient.

-- Anonymous, May 08, 2004

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