African American Missionary Fact Sheet

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  • 22 million African-Americans identify themselves as Christian.  Of that number, only 300 serve as cross-cultural missionaries—a number that is not even statistically significant.
  • African-American households earned $601 billion in 2001 and gave $9.2 billion, or 1.5% (down from 1.9% in 1998), while during the same period total household income rose $160 billion. For contrast, telephone services cost the Black community $12.3 billion in 2001.
  • Missionaries must pay to serve instead of being paid. Historically African-American missionaries have been seriously impaired by the lack, for whatever reasons, of consistent financial support from African-American churches.  Some have had to abandon their work entirely in the latter half of the nineteen century.
  • Mission to the World, the Presbyterian Church in America mission agency, recommends $200.00 per month as a minimum church commitment and no more than 50% of total support as the maximum for long-term missionaries.
  • African-American churches sometimes respond better to one-time crisis appeals than to consistent giving. Consistent support is needed month-by-month, since missionary families must eat and pay landlords month-by-month.
  • The African-American church is sorely needed on the world’s mission fields. Over a quarter of the earth’s population is still unevangelized (1,653,901,000 people). The number of long-term (over 4 years) missionaries from North America is slowly declining.  Jesus gave a mandate to venture beyond one’s own Jerusalem and Judea.
  • Since the latter 18th century, African Americans have displayed an interest in world evangelism. By the 1800s, all of the major Protestant denominations in the United States had stations in Africa and utilized the African American as the “missionary of choice.” By the mid 1930s, the African-American missionary was virtually absent from the field.
  • In order to be more prosperous as a people group and make an impact in the world, African Americans have to practice giving a tenth of their income as instructed in the Bible and give offerings to charitable causes.  Further, African-American churches must begin to give more priority and support to mission projects in order to fulfill the Great Commission.  Change begins with one person, and each individual has to make a commitment to give reasonably to the Lord and serve those less fortunate.