When Church was Everything to Black People

Acts 8:27-28

There was a time, not so long ago, that everything important was introduced and came through the church.

Education for black people started in the church, the church was the schoolhouse, where we learned to read and write.

The church was the place for community meetings to address issues in the community.

The church was the place where civic issues and civil rights movement were started.

When Dr. Martin Luther King came to a city to help in the struggle, he found a church to meet in.

They did that because the church was everything to the community and the people of God.

Black people throughout our history experienced intimate fellowship with God in the church.

Black people expressed their commitment to God through church attendance.

The church was the one place where black people felt their true value and worth.

We were treated like second class citizen everywhere else, but we were first class Christians in the church.

Black people really believed by going to church God would meet them there, and doors would be open, that were closed in their face.

Church attendance was not an option, it was a must do.

Black people believed the Bible regarding church attendance, in Hebrew 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as a manner of some is; but exhorting one another and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

What happened to us, how did we get here, and how do we get back to being the people God called us to be?

  • How can we move from casual Christians to committed Christian.
  • How can we move God from the back of our bus to driving the bus of our life.

Black people have always been a spiritual people and that was because church was everything to us.

The mindset regarding when church was everything to black people is illustrated through the life of a black man from Ethiopia.

  1. This black man has an intense hunger for God.
  2. Worship is the top priority for this black man.
  3. The Bible is the book of choice for this black man.

There was a time not so long ago, that the apex of the week was to be started in worship on Sunday.

Sunday morning in church was the place to be!
  • If we had to catch a ride.
  • If we had to walk.
  • Even in the rain and storm we were going to church.

Black people would sing as the psalmist would say, I was glad when they said unto me let us go into the house of the Lord.

The 100th Psalm was our national anthem, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye land. Serve the LORD with gladness come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God it is he that has made us and not we ourselves, we are the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise be thankful unto him and bless his name. for the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting and his truth endureth to all generations."

  1. This black man has an intense hunger for God.
         “And he arose and went and behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasure and had come to Jerusalem to worship.”
  1. This black man has climbed the ladder of success.
  2. This black man is a high-ranking officer in the Queen’s cabinet.
  3. This black man has oversight of a lot of money.
  4. With all that success he is not satisfied with money, position, and power, he exhibits a hunger for God through his actions.
  • God is more important than anything else.

  1. Worship is the top priority for this black man.
         “He had come to Jerusalem to worship.”
  1. Worship is worth the cost to attend church.
  • His expenses were enormous, the cost of travel.
  • He spent his money to go and worship God.
  1. The distant was some 900 miles to Jerusalem to worship God.
  • The distance was not a problem, God is everything to this black man.
  1. Worship is this black man priority because of the time he took to travel from Africa to Jerusalem.

  1. The Bible is the book of choice for this black man.
         “Was returning and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.”
  1. What he is reading speaks to his priority.
  • Some people while traveling read love story,
  • Some read mysteries, thrillers, drama’s and etc,
  1. This black man chose to read the Bible.
  • He could have brought any book to read, but God was everything to him.
  1. Out of the 66 books in the Bible, He chose Isaiah 53:7-8.
         “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth.”

         Jesus is the light of his life, Jesus is his hero, he wanted to learn more about Jesus!

         It looks like discipleship was important to this black man.

He was proselyted into Judaism, but Abraham, Issac and Jacob were not enough, he needed Jesus in his life.

Black people always have believed that coming to church is where Jesus would meet them.

Black people always have showed their love to God through coming to church to praise and worship his holy name.

We may not have had any money, big houses and fine cars, but as long as we have Jesus everything is all right!

The songs were personal and intimate to black people.

The old negro spiritual were their testimonies!
  • A charge to keep I have!
  • What a friend we have in Jesus!
  • Walk with me Lord!