Stories & Blog

Why the Church Celebrates Black History Month?

Michael Barnes | February 15, 2024

Black History Month is not just for black people. It's for all people.

As we (VCC) further our work towards the practical living out the pillar of Biblical Unity which is one of our core values, we have to remember the heart of gospel is for the world to be reconciled to God (John 3:16). The heart of the Great Commission is to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19). The heart of our eternal reality is people of every nation gathering in worship around the throne of God (Revelation 7: 9-10).

The Apostle Paul writes that God’s glory and beauty are displayed through a church that is ethnically and culturally diverse. Unity results from a holy resolve to embrace God by embracing and valuing people of every nation, tribe, and language.

These verses show us a beautiful example of a beloved community in action. The phrase "beloved community" was championed by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1956 whose vision was reconciliation and redemption. To quote Dr. King "Our goal is to create a beloved community," and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives"

The observance of this month matters, first, because of the doctrine of the Imago Dei (Image of God) — black as all lives were created in the image of God. Every highlighted gift, creativity, invention, and human story that we celebrate during Black History Month stems from the reality of our creation (Genesis 1:27).

As disciples of Jesus, if we believe the doctrine of the Imago Dei is a vital core doctrine, then we must celebrate and talk about Black History Month. For too long the world has told the narrative of black lives while the church has not acknowledged how much impact the early African faith leaders and believers had on the spread of the gospel and greatly influenced the foundation of faith in western Christianity.

 It is important to note the pains, setbacks, and especially the successes and victories of African Americans. Black History Month offers us an opportunity to recognize the impact that African Americans have had on our country and the world.

When we acknowledge the numerous contributions of Africans/black Americans to this country we as the Church also acknowledge the multifaceted power of God in the lives of His creation — ultimately He was the one who fashioned these gifted men and women in His image. These accomplishments should be celebrated and given proper credit—as should be the case for all people groups who have contributed to the building of this nation.

Throughout history, the black church has been oppressed in so many different ways yet persevered. But through that oppression, members of the black church have learned to cry out to the Lord, to testify to the Lord’s faithfulness, and express a joy that wasn’t dependent on earthly circumstances. Many of the songs of worship and thanksgiving sung today were birthed out of the black church.

We hope your curiosity is stirred to learn more and help contribute to building a beloved community!

Consider taking some time to ask yourself or have discussions with others:

  • What does Black History Month mean to you?
  • List some prominent black Christians in the history of Christianity, whether American, Canadian or from other parts of the world. What were their contributions?
  • Can you find connections between your ethnic or church history with the black church’s history?
  • What are some steps we can take to reduce racism and its effects among our church communities and/or neighborhoods?

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