The Church of God Black Ministries focused on accomplishments of the department during a talk by Kenneth Hill, coordinator of Black Ministries for the United States and Canada, Friday.
“Black ministry department exists to empower and enhance our leaders and members with the ability to communicate the full Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people of African decent in the Spirit and power of Pentecost,” according to the department’s mission statement.
The department came together in 2010 to re-evaluate its goals and discuss the future.
“It was at a time that we might have lost this office, but thanks be to God, because we came together in February 2010, this ministry still exists,” Hill said.
Eliminating the position of coordinator was discussed, but in the end the position was retained.
“I get questions all the time, regarding black ministries … they ask, ‘Why do we have a department of black ministries?’ We’ve been told that we are segregating the church … We are not segregating the church. Church of God Black Ministries is one of the people groups within the church. We are providing a ministry to the African descent community,” Hill said.
Goals for the 2010 meeting had been set in 2008 and dealt with organizational structure, financial accountability, purpose and partnerships.
Today as coordinator, Hill works with the ministry board to raise funds.
“Since 2010, the national executive committee has retained a full-time position … for the office of black ministries,” Hill said.
Hill said the 2010 meeting was a time to “to formulate understanding and directions for this office.”
Out of this meeting came the F.A.C.T.S. approach and goals. The ministry determined to focus on mentoring and nurturing young people and those called into full-time ministry, advocacy and representation, connectivity to other COG ministries, training and strategic support.
The training portion of the ministries goals has been accomplished in part through work with the Pentecostal Theological Seminary.
“The seminary has allowed our board to be an advisory board to the seminary. We gave an eight- point resolution to the seminary that was accepted by the board and approved Wednesday. We dealt with two of those issues,” Hill said.
Scholarships for African-American seminary students are also provided through the Department of Black Ministries.
“We can have conversations, but we have to have action,” Hill said.
Hill said the board of the department continues to encourage strengthening the impact of the ministry.
Forums, such as the one held Friday, highlight to the COG as a whole the “importance of having a Black Ministries department.”
Hill said the international executive committee of the Church of God had been supportive to the department in increasing ways in recent years. One of the ways it has done this is by having a representative of the department on the international council.
“What a powerful statement that makes to our community — a person of color is on that board, as well as a Hispanic member,” Hill said.
In 2010, the black ministries developed a three-stage plan.
“The first year what we wanted to do was to connect. The second year was to create and the third year was to have continuity,” Hill said.
Hill said Black Ministries’ representatives went to several conferences and meetings being held at the state and regional levels in order to establish connections.
“I’ve told all state bishops. I’m not here to take over your state, I’m here to work with your program and support what you are doing,” Hill said.
Hill said this has been an asset to the department.
Moving forward, Hill said, Church of God Black Ministries needs to establish stronger partnerships with other departments in the U.S. missions department and the Church of God as a whole.
Hill said better communication between the state and national level of black ministries is also a goal on which work is being done.
The second Sunday in February has been designated by the church as Black History Awareness Sunday.
The denomination’s publication, the Evangel, has featured more articles about black ministries in recent years.
When it was formed Black Ministries, originally known as the Colored Ministry, “dealt in leadership even as state overseers,” Hill said.
Hill said the department began holding its own assemblies. He said it was exciting to watch the work of the department.
It also ran an orphanage and educational training center.