I have been a part of church for a long time . I have seen at least 3 major moves of church . I can remember when Carlton Pearson believed in Hell and when no one knew of TD Jakes. I grew up in a holiness, pentecostal, sanctified church. In that church I vaguely remember testimony services. I can almost remember devotional services. I do remember when they changed to over to Praise and Worship. I remember when praise dance began in churches. I remember mega conferences. And then I remember when the Pastors I grew up knowing became celebrities.
But with all the changes I would have never thought I would see so many who have fled the church . First I want to say that with the advancement of the internet and the way people have shared information and misinformation some of us have educated ourselves about things that aren’t based off any education just logical opinions. I am okay with people who have opinions . I am okay when people have ideas of how things should be and how things should go or how they think things shouldn’t go . But I do have a problem with people blaming people for your unique views.
Growing up black we don’t typically come from money . A large number of us come from lower middle class families and if you grew up like I did it was only about 7% of the US black population is experienced the upper middle class life. My grandfather was a sharecropper, his father was a sharecropper and his father was a slave. Black families all share a similar history . And if you have a different story from where your 3x grandfather came from …you are what we call fancy . Needless to say we don’t have a big history of money. And because of this our thoughts about money is a little different . When you don’t have money for generations and when someone finally gets some you tend to think a little differently about it .
Stay with me I promise I will take you on a journey.
For years the black race has lived in poverty . We were here in the beginning ( read the history of the Gullah) and soon others were brought over as slaves. We were brought over and made to create an entire society for others to benefit from. After President Lincoln was murdered there was no time to set in place what to do for with the large of number of slaves who were free. No one set aside any money for them to purchase land build homes . So the cycle repeated where former slaves remained workers on the land in which they were enslaved. And even if they were awarded with $5000.00 and 40 acres and a mule it still would not erase the years of poverty and we would still be behind our counterparts in the area of wealth. If money would solve the problem of poverty then there would probably never be a save the children commercial …that .25 a day would be the end of their hunger. So poverty continues for years. Even until now . And though we have faced major advances in education , technology we are still behind in the area of economics. And in many cases our minds are behind in the area of economics too.
The best part of life was that there were major advances in civil rights though very small and in most respects we have a ways to go . This allowed most of our parents (the baby boomers) the opportunity to attend college and most of them were able to secure good jobs . Pretty soon most of these families secured homes for their families. Most in their communities. It was a time where families actually had places that they called home . After a while black families began merging into other neighborhoods. But after a while the black American dream became less of building a community and investing into their community and more status oriented. Now our investments are on our feet, over our shoulders , and something that will depreciate over time …automobiles. For years we have neglected our own communities but we have blamed everyone else but ourselves. We have build cities, farmed land , help advance companies for others but our community is obsolete. We have taken out but we have not invested.
As a young child I can remember my mother owning her beauty salon and my dad being an assistant manager at a furniture factory they talked about multiple incomes in our home. At the dinner table they were strategic about what their next move was. For a while my dad had a short lived clothing store for men , my mom had two beauty salons, we had a daycare center, multiple properties and land . My parents talked about investments , we had opened conversations about checking accounts, savings accounts, we talked about stocks and bonds. So it was not anything abnormal when we created businesses for ourselves. Multiple streams of incomes wasn’t abnormal to us. But who can say that we have all experienced this type of talk in your house. We were taught to make an investment and leave an inheritance for years to come.
And then there is the black church which is a staple in our communities . Most black churches are built and developed in the black neighborhoods as a beacon of hope for the residents. The black church provides , a place of worship, a facility for civil rights, family reunions and family funerals. The Black church also is the place most families reach out to when they need food, money for rent, lights, if they are short on the funeral costs, daycare money . You name it the black church has been there to finance it . So I do not understand why people think the pastor is the sole beneficiary of all monies that enter and exit the facilities. We have become professional bankers and accountants for churches counting up what comes in and what should go out . But I have to ask the question …what have you contributed to the community?
The burden of ministry is heavy for most churches especially those that are small. Not only are they responsible for the monthly bills but we are now responsible for the community. Churches want to help . Churches want to reach out . It’s a part of the churches mission . But the flaw is that everyone doesn’t understand the economics of it all.
Let’s talk … In the 1990’s-2008 the church was moving . It was everything that people could hope for all that they could imagine . People came to church , people gave money to support the church . The church was able to hire a staff and payroll the staff including the pastor. All of the sudden the pastor writes a series of books, flies across the United States and preaches (with pay) and buys a Mercedes and people start to walk out of church .Pretty soon the church has to fire their staff and work on a volunteer basis. The pastor has to supplement his income . He has managed to maintain his car. The struggle becomes worse as the church struggles to continue to pour into the community. The volunteers are mad and tired because they are not only volunteering time they are volunteering money . Meanwhile, all we can see is what the pastor is driving , living and wearing.
ahhhhh…there is a part two