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.”
In Black Self-Genocide: What Black Lives Matter Won’t Say, internationally respected Black pastor and author Bishop Wellington Boone celebrates the strengths of Black Americans in overcoming past racism through faith in Jesus Christ and the strengths of the Church. He calls for Christian racial unity and presents a clear vision with biblical strategies of reconciliation, revival in the inner cities, and global reformation. For ease of navigation, the book is available in both paperback and digital editions.
“The church is one!” Thundered the voice of Wellington Boone as he roused a mainly white audience of 70,000 men at a Promise Keepers event to loud and prolonged cheers.That is still the cry of his heart. The Church of Jesus Christ—unified—can solve any problems the world faces today. In this book he focuses on unity in our personal union with God, family relationships, church fellowship, and racial reconciliation. This book was commissioned to celebrate expressions of repentance and racial reconciliation at the 150th anniversary of the Southern Baptist Convention.
In troubled times, people need hope and they also need to know Christians who are filled with hope. Dare to Hope calls Christians to return to God with humility and a sacrificial lifestyle to rebuild their hope and restore hope to individuals, families, and nations.
A Man's Journey with God Seminar Edition is Bishop Wellington Boone's empowerment method for men to grow in spiritual strength and maturity. This 464-page wealth of introductory content on the Christian life includes a personal 30-day Consecration Journal based on Bishop Boone's more than four decades of training men.