Kingdom Men Movement
My calling to reach African American men crystallized during the height of the crack epidemic in the 80s and 90s after my two youngest brothers were killed. They died approximately six years apart. In fact, I had four brothers and all of them died or had been killed prematurely. Jesus had spared me from the curse that killed my brothers and many other black men. He spared me because I turned back to Christ in the nick of time.
I preached the funeral of my two youngest brothers. That was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Their deaths were devastating and convinced me that young African American men were facing an unprecedented curse and crisis that neither America nor I could continue to ignore. I committed my life to reaching African-American men at that moment.
During this period, my heart was heavily burdened by the poverty, joblessness, failing schools, mass incarceration and early death that were devouring an entire generation of young black men. And most African American churches seem oblivious or indifferent to their plight. I sought the Lord in my despair, and He gave me the answer for African American men. He spoke one day and said, “take them my Kingdom.” His powerful words became my divine mandate.
It took many years of prayer, research, and Bible study for the Lord to teach me that taking the Kingdom of God to black men practically could be accomplished by taking them Jesus, Jobs, and Justice.
Take Them Jesus
Taking the Kingdom of God to African American men begins with convincing them to enter a personal relationship with Jesus. This step is necessary so they can experience the new birth. Once they experience the new birth, they become Kingdom citizens, possessing all the benefits of full citizenship. Moreover, Jesus automatically and simultaneously revokes their allegiance to satan and citizenship in his kingdom, which is the cause of their oppression in the first place.
The new birth is the beginning step for black men. The next step is intensive discipleship; something our church calls Transformation 360. The primary focus of Transformation 360 is to help new Jesus followers commit to righteousness, holiness, godliness, and other Christian virtues that foster achievement. It involves teaching and training black men in the Kingdom principles that cause Kingdom living.
Take Them Jobs
The unemployment rate for African American men (10.4%) is 2.3 times higher than for white men (4.5%). In some cities, such as Chicago, the unemployment rate for young African American men is over 50%. This percentage is staggering, and it shows how deeply entrenched racism is in America. Unemployment is so dire for many African American men they have quit looking for work and vanished from unemployment records. This high level of unemployment and joblessness for African American contribute to the concentrated poverty and crime in many African American neighborhoods.
African American men desperately need jobs for other significant reasons. Like all men, African American men find their identity in their jobs. Jesus placed in the DNA of all men the desire to work and provide for their families. The self-worth of men, African American men included, primarily emanates from their ability to provide for their families. Without jobs, African American men cannot provide for their families and feel worthless and hopeless. This sense of worthless has caused many African American men to abandon their families and turn to crime, which further exacerbates their inability to find jobs because of the felony records that crime produces.
Jesus can solve unemployment and joblessness for Black men if they seek first His Kingdom and righteousness.
Take Them Justice
The Hebrew word for justice is mishpat. In his book, Generous Justice, Dr. Timothy Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York defines justice as protecting the rights of the vulnerable. Dr. Keller’s definition of justice demonstrates the importance of justice in a fallen world where the majority often oppresses the minorities. His definition reminds us that without justice, the rights of the vulnerable would be swept away by the powerful. He teaches us that justice demands that society enacts laws that prevent and punish unjust exploitation of the vulnerable and promote equitable opportunities for all.
The fight for justice never ends. Our criminal justice system unjustly imprisons many young nonviolent African-American men and leaves them disenfranchised and marginalized. Mass incarceration of black men is the stubborn proof of America’s continual racial injustice sin.
Further, our health care system unjustly denies many young vulnerable African American men equal health care, and our corporate system unjustly denies them equal job and career opportunities.
As committed Christians, we must preach, teach and demonstrate the love and Kingdom of God by demanding justice for these young vulnerable African American men. As Christ followers, we must not stand silent as injustice and inequality prevail.
Hopefully, you understand better our vision of taking the Kingdom of God to African American men thru Jesus, jobs, and justice. We’re unabashed in this assignment. We relish in it.