Recently, I had the opportunity to talk about African Americans and Missions with Timothy Byrd, a missionary with Campus Outreach in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our conversation will be posted in five parts.
Part 1: Why don’t we see many African American missionaries? Part 2: Challenges African American Missionaries Face Part 3: African American Church's Mission To Their Communities But Not the World Part 4: Practical Ways to Encourage More African American missionaries
David Crabb: African Americans have a unique story to tell. How can that be a strategic tool for the sake of the Gospel?
Timothy Byrd: God is absolutely sovereign–he created all things and in him all things hold together. What if slavery in America existed so that God might be glorified in raising up the African American church? I heard Dr. Ellis once say, “The African American church is in existence not because of slavery but in spite of slavery.” I couldn’t agree more.
Despite Christianity being used to initially endorse slavery, slaves were redeemed. Despite the killing, beating and demeaning of African Americans the African American church grew. Despite hatred, racial prejudices, and civil injustices the African American Church survived. Divine intervention through the work of the Holy Spirit is the only way this could happen. Today, the bulk of the world can relate to a history more like the minorities of American than the majorities. This is a history of pain and suffering, while at the same time of hope and faith. Leveraging this history, this story, for the sake of the gospel is a tremendous tool on the cross cultural mission field.
Today, the bulk of the world can relate to a history more like the minorities of American than the majorities. - Tweet this
The reason Joseph could forgive his own brothers for selling him into slavery was because of his experience of God giving him perspective. So when he says, “what you have meant for my bad, God has meant for good the saving of many souls,” his understanding of the sovereignity of God is put on display. The beauty of the gospel allows us to endure suffering, embrace others, believe in God’s sovereignty, and proclaim the good news that Jesus saves.