1. More emphasis must be placed on soulwinning and outreach initiatives, evangelism has to be outside the 4 walls of the church, our understanding of an “evangelist” in many of our churches is someone that get the saints excited and raise a big offering for the church and himself. An Evangelist is a SOULWINNER plain and simple. The Pastor has to disciple the new converts after they are won to Jesus! The primary purpose of the Holy Ghost is to HELP us in ministry (Acts 1:8). Ministry isn’t just at a PULPIT! It is in hospitals, Prisons, Nursing homes, and the street. The problem is when you minister away from the pulpit no one can see you, too many “preachers” like the spotlight rather than being a light!
2. The Office of Deacon MUST be restored to it’s rightful place, we could take a lesson from the Baptist church on this issue. We would have more men and stronger men if they were groomed and trained to be DEACONS! Deacons are not just old men holding the collection plate! I was a Deacon at the age of 22, I tought Bible Study, Sunday School, and led the street witnessing team! I did more ministry as a Deacon than some Elders!
3. EDUCATION is NOT the enemy! We MUST make the requirements for ordination TOUGHER! We have far too many preachers that are not well versed in the scriptures, we know who sits on the general board, we know who the state mother is, and the Clark Sisters latest CD…but tell some of these ministers to stand toe to toe with a Jehovah’s Witness and defend The Bibles stance on the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ. Apologetically TOO MANY of our preachers are lacking! And don’t tell me “all I need is the anointing!” A sound Bible education ENHANCES the anointing, if you can’t read well, how can you understand the Word and preach to others? With all thy getting get an understanding…isn’t that what the BIBLE say’s?
4. Women need to be ordained with a stipulation, no woman can rise to the office of Bishop. Women CAN and are called to PREACH! Nuff said! Many of our COGIC churches were STARTED by women but woman are not GOOD enough to sit in OUR pulpits? God forbid!
5. Youth Ministries MUST expand and think outside the box, if we lose our youth the church will dry up and die! When I was 14 years old my Baptist church had a “Youth Deacon Board” (I was one), The Older Deacons mentored us, we delivered food to the sick and shut in, washed seniors cars and cut thier grass….we need to better train our boys to be men. True religion is to visit the widow AND the FATHERLESS!
6. Foriegn Missions has to be MORE of a priority in the COGIC and in Black churches in general, who better than black people to evangelize 3rd world countries? Our problem is we preach prosperity more than the Gospel, prosperity doesn’t work on the Mission Field. We MUST fulfill the Great Commission, it was a command NOT an option!
7. Feeding the hungry is also a part of outreach, remember when the Apostles apointed Deacons? The purpose was centered around feeding poor widows, as the feeding ministry flourished the numbers of the church GREW! Acts of kindness draw people to Jesus, because JESUS primary mission was to the POOR and REJECTED!
Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, Th.D.