God wants to do a new thing in the African American Church.
Author, Douglas Powe suggests that the African American church, while once the bedrock of the community, is no longer on the radar for many. During the Civil Rights movement African American churches initiated and even shaped transformation for an entire country, well beyond their own walls. In this post-Civil Rights era the power of many African American churches remains mired in the assumptions and practices of the past, thereby making them invisible to their surrounding communities.
New Wine, New Wineskins helps African American congregations understand and benefit from the cultural shifts we are now experiencing. Many African American churches once thought they were immune to the cultural shock waves in our streets and neighborhoods. They simple argued that they have always been all about participation and being relational; yet like many churches, their numbers continue to decline. African American churches must find a way to reclaim their missional orientation, while at the same time remaining true to their historical identity and witness of speaking truth to power. The worthy goals of justice and bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ in this time, requires new practices and fresh ideas—new wine. The old framework just won’t work any more. We need new wine skins.
Dr. Douglas Powe has captured the challenge facing many African American congregations today—that of regaining the interest of an essentially absent generation. Pastors and lay members will benefit from reading this book. It will absolutely change the way they reach out to younger generations. Readers will be inspired by Dr. Powe’s prayerful insight that is sure to result in more objective analysis of ways to appeal to and fully engage the post-civil rights generation.
--James L. Davis Servant Bishop 9th Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Church
From the very first page to the last, Dr. Powe astutely diagnoses the malaise and painful intransigence of far too many African American Christian congregations. He then offers a hopeful, helpful remedial path. As I read I kept hearing in my head the lyrics of the 70’s hit: Wake Up Everybody.
--Gregory Vaughn Palmer Illinois Episcopal Area, The United Methodist Church Illinois Great Rivers Conference
In New Wine, New Wineskins, F. Douglas Powe has provided the Black Church – indeed the ecumenical church – with a marvelous resource for reaching the untaught, the unpersuaded, and the alienated from institutional religion. He identifies secular, cultural forces that contribute to the decline of the central place of the Church, critiques our methods, and offers an exciting new paradigm for missions and evangelism, which are at the very heart of Christianity. A must-read for pastors, ministers, missionaries, and lay people!
--Bishop Roy A. Holmes, Midwest Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
The African American Church has been a pillar, an icon of sorts, in African American life. Its stabilizing force through slavery, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights are undeniable. Douglas Powe’s book risks critiquing the African American Church as he offers perspectives into its current inability to meet the needs of shifting cultural realities. He is open in his assessment of the problems created by resisting change. He further offers practical insights in how the church can reclaim its heritage of being an agent of change without abandoning the message of the gospel, yet doing so with enthusiasm and relevance to the current and future generations!
--Bishop Teresa E. Snorton, Fifth Episcopal District, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church