When Black People Visit White Churches…

Between Two Worlds has this summary of a blog post by Curtis Allen. Curtis Allen, a black man, offers some of his insights regarding black people visiting mostly white churches.

Of particular note are these four challenges to African Americans joining a predominately white congregation.

He closes by discussing some things that will be a struggle for most (though not all) black people:
1. Worship style will be a challenge.
2. The expectations of biblical manhood and womanhood.
3. Theological emphases.
4. Over-greeting.

From Between Two Worlds…

Here’s an outline of part 1:

  • Black people are not monolithic
  • Does your church have the heart that you have for blacks coming into your church?
  • Is your church in proximity to a black community?
  • What sacrifices are you willing to make?
  • So what are some of the sacrifices that may need to be made?
And of part 2:

  • Where possible, invite some black Christians to your church to evaluate your service.
  • Be Genuine. It’s okay to just “be white” around black people
  • Pray for direction
  • When possible use illustrations that can highlight the reality of and your disdain for racism
  • If there are already a few black people in your church they need to play a role here.

HT: Between Two Worlds

Update: Link fixed

3 replies
  1. Ryan says:

    In my opinion, one of the “easiest” things that a white church can do in order to not drive away African-Americans after the first few visits is to have music that is stylistically palatable. As far as I’m concerned, most white evangelical churches do a bad job at this and if they are not willing to compromise on it I don’t believe that they really want to attract African-Americans. The worship leader doesn’t have to try to be Kirk Franklin, but at least a few songs here and there that communicate “we see you out there and we want you to come back” are necessary. I think that Charismatic churches do a decent job at this.

    Reply
  2. Robert says:

    I honestly prefer the “African American style” of worship, and I am white. But it troubles my spirit that we still refer to ourselves as “white” and “black” churches. A church is a church regardless of style of music. Yes, there are two inherently different cultures among “black” and “white” people in America, but when it comes to church, the style of worship shouldn’t matter, but rather, the message, and the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ within the Church, for both sides of the “fence.” No doubt, worship music is important, but I would argue that anyone who turns away from a church because the music or worship isn’t appropriate to them is immature, whether it is an “African American” entering a “white” church, or a “white” person entering an “African American” church. This immaturity among Christians is the root cause of the whole problem. I can’t imagine Jesus, the Apostle Peter, or the Apostle Paul, or any apostles for that matter, EVER referring to a church as one color or another. I close with this quote from a very reliable source: Galatians 3:26-29 “26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    Reply
    • Michael Clary says:

      Hey Robert,

      Thanks for the comments. We have to be realistic about this. There are such things as white churches and black churches. You can’t be too idealistic about this, regardless of how much it troubles us. Its great hearing from you!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>