Bishop's Blog

Pastors Transforming Cities

By Bishop Wellington Boone  |   |  Category: Pastors

Many people today who make a decision on Sunday about where to go to church have three criteria: the most entertaining preaching style, the most colorful music, and the shortest service. And not necessarily in that order.

However, the Black church tradition that started after the Civil War was vitally involved in the lives of the families and their communities. The first building to be raised by the freed slaves’ was the church. The pastor was the town leader. He was not limited to giving a message on Sunday morning. He was into everything—from confronting men with their responsibilities in their families to building schools and starting banks and insurance companies. Free enterprise came out of the church. The community flourished because Christian pastors and leaders were aggressively godly.

Some of the well-intentioned government programs for the freed slaves ended in disaster because the motivations were often based more on politics than principle. However, when the Freedman’s Bank failed and many of the nation’s Black citizens lost what little savings they had, the pastors and Christian businessmen stepped in and created banks for their own people.

Under segregation in the South, tax money for schools went mostly to the Whites, so the Black churches raised their own money for schools. The adults and the children were so motivated to become literate that they did everything from holding church suppers to contacting the American Missionary Association and wealthy benefactors like Julius Rosenwald, head of Sears and Roebuck.

Author Thomas Sowell gave some remarkable statistics about the role of the American church in the community in his book Ethnic America. He said that the Black population went from being almost totally illiterate after the Civil War to being 75 percent literate only 50 years later.

How did it happen? Because pastors and other Christians believed they, not the civil government, were responsible for the condition of the culture. The pastors kept young men in line by the Word of God, not by sending them to jail.

The Black churches raised almost seven times as much money as the federal government’s Freedman’s Bureau to build schools for Blacks, even though most of the Black citizens had been recently enslaved and had no personal assets. Eventually the churches raised $24 million to build schools (roughly equivalent to $240 million today).

God is watching the Church today. Have you been blessed with faith? Are you willing to raise resources for your community? Can God count on your prayers and involvement with the fivefold ministry to transform your city? You can make a difference if you use what God has given you to serve and save others.

Luke 12:48 NKJV

“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

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