A growing number of black Christians believe it is their destiny to play a major role in world evangelization. And in Atlanta recently, 1,700 visionaries gathered for Destiny ’87, a conference that provided education and inspiration, as well as interaction, between mission-minded blacks and executives of predominantly white mission agencies.

On the opening night of the conference, Campus Crusade for Christ president Bill Bright told the audience, “You, who represent one of the most strategic segments of the world society, can do more than has ever been done in the history of the African race to help reach the entire world for Christ.”

Crawford Loritts, director of Campus Crusade’s Here’s Life, Black America ministry and coleader of Destiny ’87, also stressed the unique role of African-Americans in world missions. “Many white Americans are no longer welcome in certain areas [of the world],” he said. People in the Third World readily identify with black Americans, Loritts said, “because of our background of oppression.… Most of the world is not like white, middle-class America.”

Untold Story

Part of the purpose of Destiny ’87 was to introduce conferees to the little-known history of black missionary activity overseas. In the early days of the modern missionary movement, for example, some white mission societies sent black missionaries to Africa because whites were unable to adapt to tropical climates.

By and large, however, enthusiasm among blacks for world missions has been minimal. Among the reasons, Loritts says, is that the “parachurch [mission] agency is a culturally strange animal to black folks.” This makes it difficult for Christians working ...

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