The Black Church and Black Love Part 3: Where Do We Go From Here?

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Hello Keepers,

As mentioned about four of weeks ago, I decided to embark on another three part series this month and talk about the influence of the Black Church for creating and sustaining Black Love. Four weeks ago I spoke specifically about the relevance of the Black Church with GenXers and Millennials and the need for the church institution to partner with Black millennials about the ways/methods that the black church can thrive as they are the future and the world is becoming their domain to continue the legacy of our ancestors. Two weeks ago I shared a personal story about two men I dated who had different religious beliefs than me and how those relationships ended as well as the lessons I learned.

In this week’s blog, I want to talk about the future …Where Do We Go From Here?

I grew in in Los Angeles, nicknamed the City of Angels (as Los Angles in Spanish is “the angels”), Yes, Los Angeles is the place where we have nice weather year round, traffic, and celebrity sightings, high gas prices, and a high cost of living. But Los Angeles is also known where you see the “bling, bling” lifestyle: Although this may not be true for all Los Angeles residents, a majority of the population follows the latest in trends from attire to automobiles. Brand-name clothing, designer handbags, jewelry, and red-bottom pumps are worn by more than just the stars and add to the glamour of the city. Although cars are needed to survive in Los Angeles, they are way more than just a means of survival. In a city where people spend a majority of their time in traffic, exotic automobiles became status symbols, representing luxury. Any occupation in Los Angeles can lead to a “bling, bling” lifestyle and that includes being a pastor of a large church or Mega Church. Los Angeles is the home to a dozen or so Mega Churches that are well known nationally such as West Angeles Church of God in Christ, Faithful Central Bible Church, First AME Church, Second Baptist Church, Full Harvest International Church, Crenshaw Christian Center, City of Refuge Church, Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, etc. in which these churches have a membership of 3,000 or more members. In fact Los Angeles has such a concentration of mega churches that there was a television series called the “Preachers of LA” that aired for a couple of seasons which highlighted the daily work that ministers at these mega churches did as well as their personal lives with their families. The ministers of these mega churches are indeed wealthy and as expected there are mixed feelings about the wealth of ministers as compared to other occupations.

Since California has opened its economy as of June 15, many of these mega churches have opened their doors again for in person services and are maintaining their digital platforms through social media and other online sources. This is how mega churches actually can impact the community and actually make a difference. Sure, they may have a few thousand people present at a service on any given Sunday, but through social and digital media platforms, they can reach millions of people who can be inspired by a message. So what should be the message be?

Should we have expectations on our leaders of these mega churches to play a major role in influencing the community to vote, to support homeless ministries, support Black Lives Matter, worldwide missions, etc.? Why or why not?

One of the biggest challenges with many churches, including mega churches is that single people are treated as if they are invisible. This is hard as many ministers preach from the pulpit about their married life/family life and of course you have children’s ministries or what many call “Children’s Church”. There is a real need for better energy and attention for singles as many single people can provide resources and support for a church, let alone meeting one another and getting married. I know in my own experience, my church did not have a singles ministry and many of the people I grew up with left the church at 18 as they felt that they were being ignored. But being single certainly is not about just being single at 18, its being single at any age beyond eighteen and having the opportunity to have visibility and ministries that are directed to singles for support.

Of course, with so many online dating sites, there are Christian Singles dating sites which are quite popular and I am hearing stories about people meeting on Christian dating sites. It used to be that Christians met other Christians primarily through church services or family and friend introductions. They also met dating partners locally. They didn’t have the option to search the globe for their perfect match on dating sites! As with any online dating source, I always say do your homework and take your time getting to know someone…J

So, I would like to wrap up my three part series about Church and Black Love and leave everyone with these thoughts:

  1. The church setting has been and will more than likely continue to be a staple in the African American Community, we must always remember that while it’s a place to connect spiritually and perhaps seek healing, all members from the pastor to the newborn babies are humans that are not always perfect.
  2. It’s important to know what is important to you for the appropriate spiritual connection with someone you intend to marry as it plays a bigger role than most people think in your everyday life: from saying grace every day before each meal to whether you attend church in person each Sunday, to whether the children you have together attend a Cristian School or a secular school.
  3. The role of the church for African Americans going forward leaves many questions…but it’s up to our future generations of people to decide what that future looks like.

Wishing you all a peaceful, journey and may you connect with your intended life partner not only intellectually but spiritually as well!

Just Keeping it 100,

Stephanie

Picture Courtesy of @kimmi_kls

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