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Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century is a program designed to assist United Methodist churches with predominantly black congregations become effective in mission and ministry. It does this by linking successful congregational resource centers with congregations that are in search of new ideas and revitalization.
Strengthening the Black Church Committee
The mission of Strengthening the Black Church Committee is to assist in the increase in the number of vital black church congregations in the North Carolina Conference and help reverse the membership decline in the United Methodist Church.
The vision of the Strengthening the Black Church Committee for the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church is to aide in the assisting of the growth and vitality of African American Churches in the North Carolina Conference by:
- Helping to establish Resources Centers that will effectuate the training of laity and clergy in the African American Context.
- Working to increase the number of identified and registered “Partner Congregations.”
- Assisting in the development of research and evaluative tools to assist clergy and laity in context analysis.
- Actively identifying and recruiting young African American clergy candidates, especially African American males, for ordained ministry as elders in full connection.
- Providing training and resources to assist the black churches to expand and start new ministries that are cognizant of the changes that have an impact upon doing ministry and mission in the 21st Century.
- Helping the black churches in the North Carolina Conference to be me more outward focused instead of inward focused with the expressed goal of making disciples instead of “church members.”
The Goals of the Strengthening the Black Church Committee are as follows:
- Assist each black church in the North Carolina Conference to have a strong web presence by providing technical and financial assistance for web page development and hosting on the North Carolina Conference web server.
- Assist black churches that do not have computers with the procurement of computers by engaging community stakeholders for in kind contributions.
- Develop a continuing resourcing and training team that will be responsible for assisting the black churches with strategic planning efforts, context analysis, grant writing assistance, developing community ecumenical partnerships, and seminars. The team members will be responsible for a geographic area that will entail several districts in the North Carolina Conference based upon the location of the clergy and laity membership of committee members and those that are contracted as consultants.
- Development of skills databases of black congregants in the North Carolina Conference to facilitate the sharing of resources and engaging in connectional partnerships.
- Assist the black churches in developing action plans that will entail cooperative agreements and partnerships with non-African American Churches.
- Help create an atmosphere for active dialogue and engagement with the Latino community in North Carolina that is rapidly growing.
- Assist the black church in developing “fresh new expressions of church” that will have a marked impact upon attracting and keeping youth and young adult blacks.
- Help create an atmosphere where that the black church will collaborate with and work in tandem with Native American, Latino, and Asian American United Methodists as well as Caucasian United Methodists.
- Actively assist in and plan a biannual multicultural event that will include continuing education, worship, and active dialogue plus engagement by those that attend the event as participants, facilitators, and presenters.
- Help prepare black churches for demographic shifts that will have an impact upon membership makeup by providing training to assist in context analysis and planning for continued operation and vitality in a changing context in reference to ethnic and racial makeup.
- Help black churches to conduct a self-analysis of vitality and the capacity to provide ministry and mission in each individual context.
- Help develop the next generation of African American clergy by helping churches to identify youth and young adults that have expressed an interest in ordained ministry with the active support of events such as Harambee for example.
- To increase the number of black churches that will be identified as Partnership Churches with the national SBC 21 office.
- Assist in the development of Resource Centers that are strategically located in the North Carolina Conference to assist in providing for the needs of the black church.
- Help black churches develop, plan, and implement outwardly focusing outreach and evangelism activities that will have a positive impact on preventing membership attrition and entropy of the black church.
- Assist the black church with finding “creative financing” options for ministry and mission and connectional responsibilities.
- Assist the rural black church with developing comprehensive action plans for ministry and mission.
- Develop a conflict resolution team that is responsible for helping to diffuse conflict between the appointed clergy and the congregation.