The Quest for Transformative Pastoral Leadership in the Black Church

  • Jeffery L. TribbleSr.
Part of the Black Religion / Womanist Thought / Social Justice book series (BRWT)


On February 8, 2003, talk show host Tavis Smiley convened a conference that was called “The Black Church: Relevant, Repressive, or Reborn?”1 Some of the most trusted and best-known spiritual leaders of the black church2 serving in the church and academy were invited to participate.3 I learned about the conference via e-mail messages sent in advance to make sure that the word was spread about this important interpretive dialogue. Has the black church, “our refuge in times of trouble” abdicated its responsibility on the most critical issues of our time? Does the black church have any response to the issues of gang violence, HIV/AIDS, or U.S. policy toward Iraq? Many Americans tuned in to this critical discussion within the black community, which was aired on C-SPAN. Undoubtedly, this telecast provoked numerous conversations as blacks talked among themselves in black churches, around seminary lunch tables, in barbershops, and in beauty parlors across the country.


Black Woman Transformative Leadership Black Community Faith Community Black Church 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 5.
    Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, “If It Wasn’t for the Women…” Black Women’s Experience and Womanist Culture in Church and Community (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2001), 1–6.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    James MacGregor Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1978).Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Robert M. Franklin, Another Day’s Journey: Black Churches Confronting the American Crisis (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), 119–124.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, ed., The Negro Church (Atlanta: Atlanta University Press, 1903; reprint, New York: Octagon Books, Inc., 1968), 194.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    See especially sociological research of black church in the black community from the outset of the twentieth century to the present: W. E. B. Dubois, The Negro Church (1903);Google Scholar
  6. Benjamin Elijah Mays and Joseph William Nicholson, The Negro’s Church (New York: Negro Universities Press, 1933). Reprint, Greenwood, 1969);Google Scholar
  7. Aldon Morris, The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change (New York: The Free Press, A Division of Macmillan, Inc., 1984);Google Scholar
  8. Lincoln and Mamiya, The Black Church in the African American Experience (1990);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, “Plenty Good Room: Adaptation in a Changing Black Church,” The Annals of the American Academy, AAPSS, 558, July 1998;Google Scholar
  10. Mary Pattillo-McCoy, “Church Culture as a Strategy of Action in the Black Community,” American Sociological Review, vol. 63 (December 1998): 767–784;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Andrew Billingsley, Mighty Like a River: The Black Church and Social Reform (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, The Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America (Boston: The Stratford Co., 1924; reprint, New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1968), 272.Google Scholar
  13. 24.
    Lyle E. Schaller, Discontinuity and Hope: Radical Change and the Path to the Future (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999), 193–194.Google Scholar
  14. 25.
    Dale P. Andrews, Practical Theology for Black Churches: Bridging Black Theology and African American Folk Religion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 65.Google Scholar
  15. 26.
    James P. Martin, “Toward a Post-Critical Paradigm,” New Testament Studies, vol. 33 (1987): 378,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. David Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, American Society of Missiology Series, No. 16 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), 189.Google Scholar
  17. 28.
    Maria Harris, Fashion Me a People: Curriculum in the Church (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1989), 24.Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    Carlyle Fielding Stewart III, The Empowerment Church: Speaking a New Language for Church Growth (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001), 71–85.Google Scholar
  19. 32.
    Thomas Edward Frank, The Soul of the Congregation: An Invitation to Congregational Reflection (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000), 23.Google Scholar
  20. 34.
    Scott J. Jones, The Evangelistic Love of God and Neighbor: A Theology of Witness and Discipleship (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003), 114–118.Google Scholar
  21. 35.
    James C. Logan, “The Evangelical Imperative: A Wesleyan Perspective” in Theology and Evangelism in the Wesleyan Heritage (Nashville: Kingswood Books, 1993), 15–33. See also the critical retrieval of Wesleyan fundamental traits of evangelism and practical spirituality in the work of the black United Methodist pastor, Carlyle Fielding Stewart III (Stewart, Empowerment Church, 47–55). According to Stewart, these fundamental traits are Bible literacy, conversion experiences, evangelical outreach, cultural fluency, spiritual discipline, and prophetic consciousness (Stewart, Empowerment Church, 48).Google Scholar
  22. 38.
    William J. Walls, The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church: Reality of the Black Church (Charlotte, NC: A.M.E. Zion Publishing House, 1974), 111.Google Scholar
  23. 42.
    Vashti M. McKenzie, Not Without a Struggle: Leadership Development for African-American Women in Ministry (Cleveland, OH: United Church Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  24. 43.
    In qualitative research, personal and professional experiences can be sources for research questions as well as for cultivating theoretical sensitivity to a topic. Anselm Strauss and Juliet Corbin, Basics of Qualitative Research, Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques (Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1990), 33–43.Google Scholar
  25. 44.
    Don S. Browning, “Congregational Studies as Practical Theology” in American Congregations, Volume 2: New Perspectives in the Study of Congregations, ed., James Wind and James W. Lewis (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994), 192–221.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jeffery L. Tribble, Sr. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffery L. TribbleSr.

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations