The University of Southern California's Center for Religion and Civic Culture launched a new program for emerging African-American leaders called "The Passing the Mantle Clergy and Lay Leadership Institute." The program matches 30 up and coming African-American leaders with Civil Rights-era pastors nearing retirement. Through a combination of classroom training and structured mentoring sessions, the aim is to train these new leaders in three areas: community organizing, economic development, and church leadership strategies.
Community organizing, economic development, and church leadership strategies.... What about faithful preaching of the word of God, disciple-making and missions, biblical counseling, training faithful men who will teach others, and shepherding the flock of God?
Since the Abolitionist Movement, and definitely since the Civil Rights era, the pastor as community leader has dominated African-American ideas about pastoral ministry and leadership. And consequently, the gospel has in far too many churches and for far too many pastors and leaders taken a back seat to... well, community organizing, economic development, political campaigning, and "church leadership strategies" that look a lot like pseudo-corporate business practices.
Is it time African American pastors re-think the predominant Civil Rights model and philosophy that governs so many churches and leaders? What does it profit a pastor to gain the whole world and lose his and his congregation's souls?
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