The other day, I found myself driving around Houston’s historic Third Ward. I took a moment to reflect on the neighborhood where I grew up, went to school and bought my first home.
As I observed the current condition of my beloved neighborhood, I began to weep as I looked at its dilapidated condition, while counting at least sixteen churches within the same general area that had been there for decades.
I began to weep even harder, having placed my forehead on the steering wheel, trying to cope with the fact that I had counted so many churches that were located so close to one another in the community, and there were more that I hadn’t counted when I stopped.
I had witnessed the neighborhood declining for some time, but for some reason this particular time things suddenly hit me harder. I began to ask myself how the Black community, with as many of us that go to traditional Black churches, have neighborhoods that look more like a war-torn country than a vibrant community.
How has the Black community continued to look the way it has, after Black people have faithfully given billions of dollars of tithes and offering money into the Black church for years?
Now I’m not grouping all Black churches together, but I wish somebody could tell me why the Black community looks the way it does, while the Black church remains the most attractive-looking feature in our communities.
It makes no sense to me, to see communities beat up and worn down, but have a large edifice right there in heart of the community that serves as nothing more than a recruiting center for more tithers, in most cases.
The Black dollar currently remains in the Black community less than 6 hours. Seeing that Black people give a lot of their money to the Black church, shouldn’t we ask whether Black church leaders are spending that tithe and offering money within the same community that supports it?
Look at what’s happening to the same Black community where many of these churches reside. Tell me why many of these Black churches have said or done nothing about the plight and despair that plagues these communities.
So many members of our Black church leadership have remained silent while the wealth gap between Black and White Americans has tripled and while our communities are ravished by school closings, racial discrimination, high unemployment, sexual assaults, eminent domain, increased taxes, youth murders, lack of quality mentorship, police brutality and much more; this happens right across the street or down the street from these beautiful places of worship.
It makes no sense to have a church on every corner and preach prosperity, yet sit back and observe the serious economic, social and spiritual decline in their respective communities. Where is God in that?
Look, I don’t have an issue, whatsoever, with the money a minister makes or the items they choose to purchase. That is a miniscule argument I choose to never get caught up in because nobody has the right to tell another person how much they’re worth or what they should earn.
I strongly believe, however, that the communities these churches are located in should reflect the type of growth and economic empowerment the leadership of those churches experience.
How can you be a minister of the gospel, who leads a respective flock and then completely ignore the voiceless or ‘the least of these’ amongst us?
The Black church must get re-engaged and focus on not only changing their members and visitors, but the collective community as a whole. It’s imperative!
Source: Forward Times
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at email@example.com.