LANSING, MI – God has brought Michigan African American Churches into a deeper partnership with each other through the Michigan African American Fellowship of Southern Baptists. Unfortunately, many of our urban areas are suffering due to what may appears to be overwhelming social issues. These issues include high unemployment, high dropout rates, useless killings, teenage pregnancy, and too many single mom households. Despite these challenges, Dr. Stan Parker, Pastor of Faith Fellowship Baptist Church and President of Michigan African American Fellowship, is still very optimistic for the future of African American families and churches.
Dr. Parker stated “God is still in charge, he is able to bring healing to the various homes where many of these social ills are occurring”. He believes our churches, especially African American Churches must be about the Lord’s business, which is soul winning. Dr. Parker stated the term “soul winning” still has meaning and value in the African American community, however, the issue at hand is our churches must make it relevant again. This is why our churches must continue to respond with love to those who are hurting and are vulnerable to being attacked by the evil one. We can take heart in knowing that throughout history our churches have served as the only institution which remains when times are difficult.
When asked if there is a solution, Dr. Parker responded by saying, “The answer is Jesus. We must not just talk about Jesus; we must live and serve as Jesus did.” Dr. Parker travels throughout the state encouraging pastors to continue to minister by including social ministries as part of the church's ministry. Many churches have responded positively to Dr. Parker’s challenge. Many African American Churches are providing social ministries such as food pantries, clothes closets, job seeking skills workshops, before-and-after school programs along with housing assistance programs. These types of social ministries in urban areas have opened the doors for sustainable relationships to be developed and relationships are where we touch the soul of an individual, then a family, and before you know it a community is transformed.
Social Service Ministries has a long standing history in the African American community and has served to open the eyes of the spiritually blind, and ushered many into the marvelous light and life of Jesus Christ. The Michigan African American Fellowship churches are continuing to work together to bring the message of hope and healing to the hurting. This includes providing the traditional ministries of Sunday school, Vacation Bible Schools, Backyard Bible clubs, and inspirational morning worship services. These ministries connected to the Social Service ministries speaks a language of love which meets many families and individual right where they are.
Dr. Parker is excited and believes God is going to move this year in ways which will bring results in very productive, life-changing growth in the African American Community. He believes Michigan churches will experience a record year in baptisms. As Henry Blackaby says, discover where God is working and join in. If you are interested in partnering with the Michigan African American Fellowship in serving urban areas within the state contact Dr. Stan Parker at 517-853-9897.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Houston is a Sophomore at Michigan State University, serving as a student missionary with Just For Christ, Campus Ministries.