by Megan K. Mertz
As the urban missionary pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Mo., Rev. C. Robert Malone Sr. gets people where they need to go. Although he does many things — like organizing events, distributing food, and making hospital and prison visits — his most important ministry is coordinating transportation so that people can come to church, Bible class or youth group.
“We don’t see many other Lutheran church vans driving around,” said Malone. “But by providing transportation, we can connect people with a parish ministry.”
“It’s a real ministry of presence,” he continued, speaking of his work with Kansas City’s urban minority populations. “I want people to realize that there is someone who cares about them with the love of Jesus.”
Sharing the Gospel through mercy care also is the work of LCMS Black Ministry. “Extending a helping hand to one’s neighbor has always been essential to the congregational life of a black parish,” said Rev. Quentin Poulson, director of LCMS Urban and Inner-City Mission.
Since 1877, LCMS Black Ministry has provided assistance and networking opportunities to LCMS districts, congregations and organizations seeking to reach out to predominantly black populations. Currently, Black Ministry collaborates with 259 congregations, schools and service agencies.
Black Ministry publishes the TimeLine newsletter and organizes the Black Ministry Family Convocation, which is held every two years. These gatherings have helped create a unified mission among black Lutherans.
But even with this rich history, Interim Director of Black Ministry Rev. Dr. Frazier Odom says the struggle continues. Ministry leaders need to reach out to youth, especially those in inner cities, to show them that God loves them and has a plan for them.
“There is an urgency to recruit the next generation of black church workers so that our ministry doesn’t fade away,” said Odom. “The Lord chooses people for His service; it doesn’t matter what color you are. But we all need to get behind this if it is to succeed.”
- To learn more, visit www.lcms.org/blackministry. Your gifts to the LCMS Global Mission Fund make this important work possible.
- LCMS Black Ministry history timeline.