This project has been centered on the Study of African American Leadership Challenges and Responsibilities in Ministering to an Ethnically Changing Urban Community with a focus on the question ‘Is there need for a paradigm shift in the style of leadership for the Black church in the twenty-first century?’ The hope is that the need for a paradigm shift in the style of leadership will help leaders to improve efforts in
meeting the ministry challenge of this new century.
The project provides leaders with a view of African American history of the Black church and its development in the shaping of Black leaders and a view of the issues they faced. The suggested paradigm shift in style of leadership embraces vision, service, and a team shared responsibility for ministry. The project provides for a reflection on and discussion of the style of leadership among pastors and ministry leaders in communities that are changing and churches that are going through leadership transition.
Antioch Baptist church served as my case study. I surveyed, interviewed, and observed the church over a period of three years. I interviewed a number of professional leaders and held a focus group with pastors to get their opinions and thoughts on Black leadership issues and challenges for our changing communities. There was a general consensus that there was a need for a new paradigm in leadership and realignment with biblical values and principles.
The knowledge and skill of Black leaders need to be advanced to understand and be more insightful to issues of parishioners and members of the community. The church should be missional in reaching out to the community in not only seeking to meet the spiritual needs but also the social needs. Collaboration among leaders is viewed as essential in collectively meeting the new critical issues of the time such HIV/AIDS.
The methods used to gather the data was able to obtain a broad and insightful look at a sampling of the congregation but were helpful in targeting the interest, commitment, and concerns of the people. The collaboration of data from interviews provided a mutual consensus that the demands on leadership are different and the responsibilities of leadership should be shared.