Blacks can only fully participate in Southern Baptist life by breaking old habits that have marginalized their contributions and value, A.B. Vines said Monday (June 9) in concluding his two years as president of the National African American Fellowship.
“We all have issues in our past; but guess what, African American Fellowship, we have to do better,” Vines said at the fellowship’s 20th anniversary banquet in advance of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Baltimore.
“We must become a force. If we don’t become a force, we will die. We have got to accept and admit … we have not done all we could, but we can do better,” Vines said. “So from now on instead of saying we used to not give to [the Cooperative Program], we’re gonna give to CP now. We used to [not] go on missions, we’re gonna go on missions now.”
African Americans have been a part of the SBC since its 1845 inception, he said, when black membership numbered 100,000 mostly slaves who attended the churches of slaveholders. Vines encouraged African American pastors to make the necessary financial sacrifices to increase CP giving and international missions participation.
“God has called us to a place to do more. We just can’t be the minstrels anymore. Not only can we sing, we can serve. Not only can we sing, we can lead,” said Vines, who pastors the multi-ethnic New Seasons Baptist Church in Spring Valley, Calif. “We’re not just minstrels, we’re servants of the Most High God. One thing we’re gonna do, live beyond the expectations of us … live what God has called us as a people to do.”
Through a new partnership with IMB, every future NAAF president will go on an annual international missions trip, said Vines, who went to India as NAAF president.
Vines preached from Philippians 3:12-14, encouraging NAAF to accept the past as only a page in its history and to turn the page to a new chapter.
“This one thing we shall do — we’re not celebrating our past happiness,” Vines said. “Look outside. People are dying right now in our cities, and they’re waiting for us … to go out into the cities. I don’t care if [you] redefine urban, urban still means the hood. And everybody can’t do hood.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press