A black Baptist church in Baltimore, Maryland, has shifted its “Sunday” school to Saturday with startling results. Attendance has increased substantially, and, according to the pastor, more people have volunteered to teach. From the enthusiasm the Saturday school has created, the whole program has taken on new life.

This type of innovation is not necessarily widespread within the black church, but it seems to signify the existence of black churches that are willing to take a good look at their ministry and to pioneer new methods for reaching their communities with the Gospel. Perhaps more typical strengths of the black Sunday school are unity within the group, a bibliocentric approach to teaching, concern for reaching the total man, and eagerness to improve teaching methods.

Past Influences

The Ethiopian eunuch described in the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts may have been the first African to embrace Christianity. Several scholars think that this African’s witness accounts for the original establishment of Christianity in that continent. Acts 13:1 records that “among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch were Barnabas and Symeon (also called ‘the Black Man’) …” (Living Bible). That early church fathers in Africa contributed much to the formulation of doctrinal creeds during those crucial years is well known.

These early examples reveal black Christians of great stature and intelligence making significant contributions to the church. They contrast with what is known about Christianity among black slaves in America. The slave, his personhood and identity crushed, embraced Christianity as a way to endure oppression. During those years of slavery he was not allowed to study anything, including the Scriptures, for ...

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