Black churches in their communities – more presence, please!
One thing Christians should recognise, as they mature, is that the Church and fellow believers do not have the monopoly on doing good in society. There are numerous people – some with faith, some with none – who are committed to being their brother’s keeper; helping the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and providing practical assistance to people in distress.
With this fact in mind, the Black Church community shouldn’t shy away from working with individuals and organisations that are meeting a social need and doing good.
There seems to be a general complaint amongst Black charities and community groups that the ‘Black Church’ is the least likely place they are likely to get support.
Of course this is not true for all, but it’s sad that people perceive this, as it should not be the case. The Church should be one place where organisations working with the Black community should get support – especially as our churches tend to be our leading institution.
Black churches are rich in resources: they usually have their own buildings; access to a pool of qualified, skilled volunteers, and receive a regular income so can help to finance projects.
More and more churches need to see themselves as part and parcel of the communities where they are based. The Bible might describe us as ‘peculiar people’, in reference to the fact that our goals and life purpose are shaped by God rather than by the world, however that does not mean we should not be concerned about what’s happening within the wider world, and support those trying to make a positive difference.
It’s imperative that the institution of the Black Church (ie. the leadership) is perceived as being concerned about addressing the major issues impacting the Black community, and is seen putting its faith into action and actively supporting those who are doing so.
This means if community groups call us to play a part in alleviating social ills, we should rise to the challenge and play our part in helping to make our community a better place.
Churches can give support by:
- making a donation
- encouraging church members to do voluntary work with a charity
- allowing community groups to use their buildings
- exploring ways to work with others to combat social issues
Christians are called to be salt and light, and our light shines brighter – and we can add even more flavour – when we work alongside others who just want to make society a better place.
Live your abundant life to the max
As I get older, I’m hearing more and more that people I know or greatly admired have passed away. This kind of news heightens my senses about death.
Believers should always be mindful of the fact that we will all eventually die and leave this earth.
Being aware of our mortality shouldn’t make us become morbid and depressed. It should inspire us to draw closer to God, embrace life, and live it more fully; work to fulfil our life purpose; love others; do good for others, and do more of the things we enjoy.
Even Scripture states that we should live our lives with our death in view. Ecclesiastes 8:3 says:
‘It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
the living should take this to heart.’
Being mindful of death should also make us major on what’s important, and pay scant occasion to what isn’t, as well as focus on leaving a legacy for those we leave behind, whether it’s our families, local community or the wider world.
In the midst of life, we are in death. So let’s keep Christ in our focus. He’s with us in life and will be with us in death.
Live your life purposefully, so that when you do leave this earth, those who are left behind will know you lived life to the max.
Ministering to the millennials
During a recent discussion with a millennial, I sought their opinion on the expectations young adults have of the older Christians.
I was told – in no uncertain terms – that whilst young people enjoy the fact that some older people are ‘trendy’; ‘look young for their age’ and are ‘young at heart’, what they desired most of all was older people who were mature; able to give wise advice, and who set a good example for younger people to follow.
This insight brought home the fact that older people shouldn’t be ashamed of their age. At all.
Instead, they should pray that as they age, their advancing years are accompanied with health; the desire to be an example; and wisdom and knowledge that can be shared with the younger generation.