The African American/Black Faith-Based Initiative Tool Kit is an online, self-service resource designed exclusively for clergy and leaders of faith-based organizations to help them effectively organize and sustain an effective and impactful ministry for African American/Black members, staff and volunteers, constituents and community residents who are 50 years of age and over.
Who Should Use This Tool Kit?
The tool kit is intended primarily for faith-based organizations that currently do not have comprehensive programs and activities in place for their African American/black members, staff and volunteers, constituents and community residents who are 50 and over, and who are committed to organizing and sustaining such a ministry.
That said, faith-based organizations that do already have comprehensive programs in place may find this tool kit helpful for enhancing their ministry.
Whether used by a church, mosque, temple, synagogue, monastery or otherwise, this may serve as a handbook to help ensure that the needs and interests of African Americans/Blacks age 50 and over in any house of worship are recognized and addressed, thus helping to maximize the well-being of the entire congregation.
Why Is Ministry to African Americans/Blacks 50+ Important?
More than any other ethnic group, African Americans/Blacks cite faith, God and spirituality as big priorities. And houses of worship are where a majority of African Americans/Blacks go to worship and to connect with their community.
This tool kit provides step-by-step guidance for clergy and ministry leaders in houses of worship on ways to harness the culture of faith that lives in the African American/Black community and channel it toward building, enhancing and sustaining a viable ministry for AA/B 50+ members. In addition, having such a ministry builds a foundation for future generations, such as millennials and Gen Xers, so that as they age they will not have to reinvent the wheel, just improve upon it.
The need for this tool kit is also bolstered by a recent AARP survey* in which clergy and ministry leaders overwhelmingly concluded that there are not enough resources provided for AA/B 50+ people in their congregations on issues that matter to them in the 21st century. These leaders also concluded that resources provided to faith-based organizations by AARP would be important to help AA/B 50+ people be regarded as “integral and inspirational assets to society.”
Some tend to think it’s too late to break poor habits or change decades of consequences that are the result of decades of neglect. There are those, too, who think that 50+ people are on the way out, and that we no longer need to invest in them, but should focus on younger generations.
We believe differently. As long as there is breath, all deserve to live their best life possible. We offer this tool kit as a resource to minister to AA/B 50+ community members. The greatest benefit of this ministry will be that the needs and contributions of every individual will be valued, helping to maximize the well-being of the entire congregation.
There are hundreds of possibilities for an exciting ministry for AA/B 50+ people. We share examples of ministry activities throughout the tool kit, all of which may be adjusted based on your congregation’s size.
Recommended Next Steps
- Distribute the tool kit to your leaders, coleaders and other stakeholders in your house of worship. Ask them for feedback, as well as suggestions and ideas on ways to get started, including when and how.
- As you read through the information contained in the tool kit, ask yourself how it might be applied to the needs and interests in your house of worship.
- Get started. Follow the step-by-step guide to building a ministry for AA/B 50+ people while adapting the measures to the policies, procedures and organizational structure of your faith-based organization
*Multicultural Leadership AA/B Faith-Based Initiative Toolkit Survey, October 2016