Fifteen people gathered in Memphis, Tenn., in August for a two-day grassroots conversation about black ministry in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). A deliberate mix of lay, clergy, male, female, African-American, African immigrant and Caucasian individuals, the group — which calls itself the Black Ministry Think Tank — met to develop ideas and strategies for LCMS outreach to non-whites in the U.S.
The meeting was the product of a year of teleconferences that began shortly after the closing of Concordia College Alabama, Selma, Ala. Nikki Rochester, former chairperson of the LCMS Southeastern District’s Coalition of Lutherans in Black Ministry, initiated the conversations with a few other black ministry leaders. The phone conferences gradually expanded to 10 participants from all over the country. These participants became the planning team for the Think Tank.
Director of LCMS Black Ministry Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray Jr. gave an overview of the Synod’s work in black ministry. Think Tank participants then offered ideas for strengthening and expanding the scope of LCMS congregations in black ministry. Key emphases were attracting more people — especially potential pastors — into professional church work and strengthening the connection between African-American and African immigrant congregations at the local level.
Think Tank participants then established five work groups — Recruitment, Revitalization, Ownership, Communication and Ministry Focus — and committed to continue working together to implement strategies based on these five areas.
Posted Oct. 17, 2019