March 27, 2015
I recently had the privilege of spending the afternoon with the staff of Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church – a predominantly African American congregation that is located in an urban, lower income area in Austin. And by the way… this magnificent group of people is having an enormous impact in our hometown. Pastor Gaylon Clark is convinced that in order to solve the challenges facing the urban community they have to fix the family – and he’s made the bold choice to be proactive in that healing process. Pastor Clark and GMZ have made the decision to become the first African American congregation to fully embrace the Faith Breakthroughs process and implement these principles into the entire church culture!
While its not an easy thing to talk about, African American households must acknowledge and deal with the generational challenges passed down from history. For example, slave traders in the 18th and 19th century would often separate families – selling off the father while leaving the mother with the children. After the Emancipation Proclamation, it wasn’t as if these challenges were instantly repaired. Women had taken on the role of raising the children, and men often had multiple families in several locations. Of course, the poverty that came with the Jim Crow laws, lack of access to quality education, and segregation in general only exacerbated the challenges. (For more information on this history, see Trained in the Fear of God by Timothy Paul Jones and Randy Stinson).
Walls are unhealthy mindsets, and they originate in a misunderstanding of who God is. When we remember that the primary place we first comprehend the nature of God is from our homes – and especially from our fathers – it is no wonder that we’re now facing a family crisis of epidemic proportions in the African American community.
… But I have great news: God’s way still works – and every home from any background can overcome the spiritual walls they faith by standing on God’s promises. I’m convinced that Greater Mount Zion is going to be a shining beacon to others of how that healing can take place. And I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store!