Rev., Preacher, Pastor, you can’t serve two masters (March 20)

LOUIS ‘HOP’ KENDRICK

A few weeks ago I was in attendance at the Lincoln Avenue Church of God. The meeting was convened to hopefully remind our spiritual leaders of their responsibilities, not only to their membership but also to non-members. I have been fortunate over the last 20-odd years that the New Pittsburgh Courier’s editor and publisher, Rod Doss, has afforded me the opportunity to express my opinions about any issue or person with no exception.
However, this week’s column is exceptionally close to my heart, because the Black church has been an integral part of my life since birth (1931, 87 years). Over 100 invitations were mailed to ministers across Allegheny County, and ONLY 10 were present. It was so disappointing to me personally, I could have titled this week’s column, “The Detriment of the Backsliding of the Black Church.”
It is necessary to remind us of the immense importance of the Black church. It existed before those civil rights leaders were born, in fact, the church gave birth to the entire movement. In Allegheny County, the Black church is overwhelmingly Baptist. However, denominations have never taken precedence over Christianity. Tragically, in my estimation, BACKSLIDING about major issues that threaten the well-being of our people has become a major factor in OUR CHURCHES. The fact that the ministers overwhelmingly failed to attend a meeting that was convened to remind all of us that the Black church is second only to the Black family and the communities are crying out for their help. There may be several reasons the ministers failed to respond: 1) they failed to receive the notice in time or did not receive it at all. 2) Had a prior commitment. 3) Did not identify with the conveners. 4) Too busy to get busy. 5) Have absolutely no interest. 6) They are currently active in the community. 7) Intend to attend the next meeting, etc.
Then there are those churches who identify themselves as big churches and refer to other churches as small churches. I often, when that conversation arises about size comes up, I simply ask, what book in the Bible can I find big churches and small churches mentioned?
There are those persons who contend that if the church is not fulfilling their obligations to the communities it is because of weakness or ineptness of the officers, and that too many of the weak officers worship the minister and not God. Often, the church is criticized by outsiders or non-members, but I CRITICIZED FROM WITHIN.
I attended a GOING HOME SERVICE this past Saturday and I sat and listened to the minister. I was reminded once again about the overwhelming importance of the Black church.
Church is there prior to birth, after birth, maturing to adulthood, college, raising and family, and singing “Take Me To The King,” and THANKFUL TO BE GOING HOME.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
 
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