In my last letter I introduced six new initiatives that I believe can help us increase African American presence in the PCA. Over the next year I would like to reintroduce them and explain in more detail how each initiative can better equip the PCA to prepare for our increasingly diverse society.
The first initiative I would like to detail is the
African American Presbyterian Fellowship (AAPF) which will be introduced at a pre-General Assembly lunch in June.
The Vision of the AAPF is to represent the head, the heart, and the hands of the African American presence in the PCA. The mission is to work within the denomination to expand African Americans' presence, involvement and leadership.
Some key objectives of the AAPF are to:
1. Help the PCA better understand African American culture.
It is a tragedy that people tend to have few cross-cultural relationships and often attend separate ethnic churches. I believe the PCA would benefit greatly from a better understanding of other cultures. Therefore, the AAPF would like to be a resource to pastors and churches interested in developing cross-cultural relationship and greater cultural intelligence.
2. Encourage African American participation in the denomination.
The AAPF wants to see African Americans not only function as pastors, church planters, and leaders within their own churches but also be actively involved in denominational committees and agencies. We want to support our African American pastors and lay people in gaining a better understanding of the PCA, its history, and its desire to be more inclusive.
3. Advise agencies and committees, presbyteries, local churches and networks.
The AAPF would like for our PCA agencies and committees to have access to a fellowship of teaching elders to whom they can go for advice and wisdom on how to better minister in the African American community. The AAPF would like for the denominational agencies to begin to better reflect the diversity of the changing American culture. The AAPF will seek to assist our denominational agencies in hiring minorities.
4. Mentor and coach African American seminary students and lay leaders.
The AAPF will help African American seminary students with a desire to minister in the PCA be prepared for ministry in the denomination. It will seek to mentor new minority leaders who are adjusting to being in a predominately Anglo denomination.
5. Assess and train African Americans church planters.
Because of cultural differences the PCA has not always accurately assessed minority church planting candidates. Therefore, the AAPF will be available to aid MNA in assessing African American qualifications for church planting and help provide training for qualified candidates.
6. Provide support to African American teaching elders, ruling elders and their families.
Many African Americans first coming into the denomination often feel alone and alienated. The AAPF will provide pastoral assistance and shepherding to individuals and families as they seek to navigate their way around the PCA.
The AAPF will essentially be an extension of my role as the African American ministry coordinator, with a fellowship of 20 to 30 pastors spread all over the country. It will greatly increase my effectiveness as a denominational leader.
Please pray for us as we move forward with plans to organize the AAPF. Pray that others will participate and that it will be well received by the denomination.
We would love for you to seriously consider
partnering with us especially through prayer. We are also looking for new financial partners. Our financial goal is an additional $100,000 per year of ongoing income. We are trusting God to provide $25,000 of this new support during 2015, with the rest of the goal to be reached over the next four years. This will provide partial funding for the six new initiatives and additional staff which I spoke about in my March 2015 letter.
As always we are very grateful for those of you who are presently supporting us, but we welcome new partners. You may send your gifts to Mission to North America at P.O. Box 890233 Charlotte, NC 28289-0233 with the designation "African American Ministries." Further information about the ministry of MNA can be found here on our website, where you may also donate online.