Developing resources to plant churches within the context of the African American community will be the National African American Fellowship’s main focus at its 2014 meeting in Baltimore, NAAF President A.B. Vines said.
The African American pastors will celebrate NAAF’s 20th anniversary June 7-9 at the Baltimore Convention Center, site of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 10-11.
The fellowship is working to establish a partnership with the North American Mission Board to plant churches utilizing guidelines that conform to the needs of the African American community and to raise money to fund church plants, Vines said.
“We want to be a conduit so that churches can work in concert to help plant churches,” he said. “We need to plant our churches within the context of the African American community.”
NAAF aims to partner with NAMB to plant churches using models that are culturally relevant, Vines said, noting that urban churches are not necessarily African American because of changing demographics.
“We’re still trying to work arrangements with NAMB to get more funding to help us with that,” Vines said. “There’s a lot of different ways to plant churches. We’re trying to find the best format that we can.
“Since NAMB has decreased tremendously its African American footprint in the convention, we need to work alongside them in planting African American churches,” Vines said, although the specific number of black church planters is not available.
“We can do it ourselves and partner with them from our context,” Vines said, “as opposed to us trying to partner with them in their context. Once we raise our funding stream, we’ll be able to raise money to do our own church planting.”
In other priorities, NAAF is making plans to award its first two NAAF scholarships, $5,000 awards to a male and a female high school graduate.
“We’re going through the applications now and the winner will be announced in June, at the convention probably,” Vines said. “We have the scholarship funds, but we’re going to offset the money, so we don’t wind up draining our account.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press – Diana Chandler