Black church and parachurch leaders are drawing together in a new coalition that augers well for black involvement in overseas missionary service and evangelism among blacks in the United States.
Contributing to this new unity are two conferences to be held in Atlanta. The meetings, known as Destiny ’87 and Atlanta ’88, are expected to attract as many as 1,500 black church leaders, influential laypeople, and students.
In the past, organizational and denominational differences and varied approaches to solving problems of racism caused efforts at church and parachurch cooperation to fall short of black leaders’ expectations. But it appears those differences have been laid aside for the sake of common action in evangelism and mission.
“We’re starting with a vision and a spirit to serve one another,” says Crawford Loritts, chairman of Destiny ’87, a summer conference designed to involve black Christians in missions. Loritts and Matt Parker, chairman of Atlanta ’88, an evangelism conference, say the new spirit among black leaders is a grassroots phenomenon.
Parker sowed the seeds in 1984 when he asked 60 black leaders to meet for a national summit on black church development. “We asked them simply to come and encourage one another and to share resources and skills,” says Parker, associate vice-president of William Tyndale College in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Two years later, another meeting brought 100 presidents, founders, and directors of Slack ministries together with black church and denominational leaders. Parker says ten white leaders were invited as observers “so they could see the depth of black leadership.”
At those two meetings, Loritts says, “the ...1
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