I just completed an intense 6 month Masters Leadership Program San Antonio. The program is specifically for “seasoned” community members wishing to give back by serving on the board of directors with non-profit organizations and/or city commission service. The program exposed me to previously unseen areas of the city I call home. Several things stood out to me: 1. Some areas are completely void of African American or Black presence. 2. Most people in my class were unaware or disconnected from the underserved in our city, and 3. How we can have over 5,000 non-profits operating in our city but yet San Antonio is number 2 in the nation next to Detroit for being the most economically segregated city in the United States?
Village, what is wrong with that picture? I propose, a number of the non-profits were created to be a small bandage on a gaping wound. We treat the symptom but the disease still exists. This is another call to action. WE are the only ones that can change our village. We cannot wait for anyone else.
This article, we will start with the church. Growing up at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio, our church was an integral part of the community. We spoke and acted on civic issues, social issues and of course spiritual issues. Civically, churches need to provide members with voter registration opportunities/applications. Candidates that will serve the congregation should be brought to the church to discuss their platform. If your church is too small, partner with another church to make it happen. Or if you are a member of an alliance or association such as the Baptist Minister’s Alliance, perhaps the alliance or association would host a candidate town hall, meet and greet or debate. The vans or buses that rally to bring members to church for Bible Study and Sunday Service could also be used to take the weekly riders plus the neighbors to the polls on Election Day.
Socially, the church can have its own after school programs. Even if it needs to partner with another church or the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. Partnering means providing volunteers, refreshments, transportation (you name it, they need it) and of course the participants. Churches you know your congregations and your neighbors. You know what is needed and you know the people in need. Your congregation and neighbors need more than a Thanksgiving or Christmas basket. Keep the focus on ministering to the needs of the community you serve. I am sure you heard, where there is vision there is provision.
Spiritually, you know why you were called to be a church. I must admit I am puzzled by the number of churches on the Eastside. I believe the count is now over 100? The Word of God is true and Jesus speaks on multiple occasions about the call to His followers to provide for the total man, an example is Matthew 25:35. Pastors, your first call is Preach the Word, in and out of season, 2 Timothy 4:2.
Villagers by now you are wondering, “What is my charge?” Simple, I challenge us to return to our roots.
THIS EDITION’S CHALLENGE:
1. Attend church regularly.
2. If you do not have a church home, join a church.
3. Understand your churches local mission and vision. Determine if it meets the “churches call”.
4. Take a picture at your church. Consider including a church leader in your photo. Post that picture on our Facebook/Instagram page.