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The African American Church's Mission To Their Communities But Not the World

Apr. 27, 2016By: David Crabb

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

David Crabb: You’ve said it appears that for many African-American churches there is great vision for the community but not for the globe. Do you see any signs of that changing? From your perspective, what needs to happen to increase the vision for the globe?

Timothy Byrd: African Americans have always had a persevering character, particularly in theMissions black church. In fact, in my estimation, the black church has historically been the backbone or the prominent advocate for African Americans, so by no means do I want to belittle it. My observation is that most of our mission is local because many black communities have such significant needs, and as believers we are called to speak the gospel into these communities. I would even say the local community is the primary ministry area. However, some black churches have interpreted primary mission field to mean only mission field. This is not a complete or accurate understanding of the Scriptures. 

To answer your question, yes, I do see signs of change! To be clear, foreign missions is happening among African American churches, just not many churches or on a large scale. There are numerous organizations aimed at promoting and encouraging African Americans toward missions, but these efforts are very small and very few people know about them. There are several reformed evangelical African American churches, networks, and organizations who speak to these needs. The Reformed African American Network, Byron Johnson with Vision 9:38Carl Ellis Jr., and The Front Porch are just a few great examples of pastors and leaders making people aware of the black church’s need to get more involved with cross cultural missions. 

What needs to happen to see change? Cross cultural African American missionaries need to avail themselves for the edification of the church. My wife and I never hesitate to speak at predominately African American churches.  Not because we are simply looking for support, but because we hope to cast vision into these churches even if they don’t support us. In our last stateside assignment we realized if we are not engaging African American churches on the topic, then who is?  Also, pastors, elders and lay leaders need to be intentional about creating platforms for missions from their congregations to give, go and send missionaries to the nations. I am pretty sure there are hundreds of African American missionaries sitting in pews all across the US who have a longing in their hearts for the nations and do not know what to do. If the church is taking the great commission seriously then this must change.

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Some Mind-Boggling Stats on the State of the Global Church

Nov. 2, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Here are some statistics from Philip Jenkin's book The Next Christendom:513yXnWcqDL._SX322_BO1_204_203_200_

  • At the beginning of the 20th century, Europeans dominated the world church with 70.6% of the Christian population.  By the end of the 20th century, the percentage had shrunk to 28% with Latin America and Africa providing 43% of the world's Christians.In 1900, Africa had 10 million Christians representing 10% of the population.  In 2000, there were 360 million Christians representing 50% of the population.
  • The number of African Christians is growing at around 2.36% annually.
  • In 2050 Christianity will chiefly be the religion of Africa and the African diaspora.
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Will the Diffusion of Evangelicalism Spell It’s Disintegration?

Feb. 9, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

The conclusion of The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Billy Graham and John Stott

If the global diffusion of evangelicalism proves eventually to have transmuted into the global disintegration of evangelicalism, it will not be because of the philosophical and hermeneutical boldness of a few post- conservative evangelical theologians in the North. It will rather be because in the explosive popular Christianity of the southern hemisphere the balance will have been tipped away from a Bible-centered gospel that, while being properly holistic, still holds to the soteriological centrality and ethical normativity of the cross, towards a form of religious materialism that subordinates the cross to a crude theology of divine blessing reduced to the promise of unlimited health and wealth here and now. In the majority world the sharpest challenge confronting believers in the message of the atoningFocuslogofc6e12f923 power of the cross derives not from Enlightenment scepticism but from the daily realities of endemic poverty, hunger, pandemic disease and structural injustice. In cultures in which the traditional role of religious rituals and specialists was to provide power to ward off sickness and evil, Pentecostal versions of evangelicalism that give central place to the victory of Christ and power of the Spirit have proved immensely attractive. The question is whether such deeply inculturated variants of Christianity will succeed in grounding the message of the victory of Christ over the powers of darkness in a biblical eschatology that recognizes that the full establishment of the kingdom of God is still to come. The battle for the integrity of the gospel in the upcoming years of the twenty-first century is being fought not primarily in the lecture rooms of North American seminaries but in the shanty towns, urban slums and villages of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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