SBC21 National Director, Rev. Dr. Fred A. Allen, helped lead the Northern Illinois Conference training event to strengthen the Black Church at Maple Park UMC.)
Clergy, lay leaders, music directors and Sunday School teachers gathered for a training event hosted by Maple Park UMC in Chicago, April 12-13 to learn ways to strengthen the Black Churches in the Northern Illinois Conference. About 125 people participated in the event which was organized in partnership with the Conference, the local church and the National Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (SBC21) program.
The Worship, plenary and workshops focused around music, stewardship, spiritual development, and making disciples through small groups with guest speakers from around the country. Other workshop topics included: how to reach new generations, youth character building, economic development and 501c3 application information.
“We want to equip and help churches be very intentional about setting some specific goals in each of these areas,” said Rev. Dr. Fred Allen, SBC21 National Director. “We will assign a coach to each church which signs up to partner with SBC21 and we’ll keep track of their progress and growth pattern through monthly reports. Ultimately we want to see tangible ways which we can measure and hold each other accountable.”
The Northern Illinois Conference SBC21 committee released a comprehensive plan at the 2012 annual conference to develop strategies which will help strengthen and grow black churches for the purpose of developing disciples of Jesus Christ which results in changed lives and changed communities. This was the first learning event developed from the plan.
“Our Black Churches want to grow and engage,” said Chicago Southern District Superintendent and NIC SBC21 committee member. “This training provides formation and tools on how to develop meaningful worship, effective small groups and empower leaders to strengthen the Black Church. The hope is to develop vibrant and relevant ministries to transform the community and reach people for Jesus Christ.” For resources visit www.SBC21.org.