14) The BackPage: Where Do We Find African-American Missionaries? —

globe-flagsThis past week, a brother in Atlanta posed a difficult question to me: why is it that there are so few Christians of color active in Mission work? … and how will we motivate more to take part? This brother didn’t leave me without recourse to begin studying the problem. He suggested a name and, sure enough, it turned out that a gentleman named Jim Sutherland has researched the problem in-depth. For example, see his dissertation at…


In this study, African American mission executives helped to refine a survey that was sent to African American cross-cultural missionaries to determine reasons for the under representation of Blacks (African Americans) in intercultural missions. One hundred and two surveys were returned. SoA theory is proposed and supported from findings that the core worldview value of survival / security in current African American culture explains the under-representation. Implications for recruitment of African American missionaries are given for both Black and White mission recruiters as well as recommendations to the Church to remedy deeper issues of racism. Do you have input, counterpoint, or supporting opinions? If so, just click “comment” after the web version of this item. Thanks in advance for participating!

(Thanks, Pastors Bank and Sharon, for helping us)

2 Responses to 14) The BackPage: Where Do We Find African-American Missionaries? —
  1. Anonymous Reply

    There is definitely a combination of reasons why there are so few African American global missionaries. I’ve read some of Jim Sutherland’s dissertation and he is on target. I admire the work he does to encourage and challenge AFAMs in becoming more involved in global missions. Jim Sutherland did his survey with 103 AFAM missionaries. I am in the process of searching for more answers from a 1,000 plus AFAM Christians, pastors, missionaries, and missions leaders. Former SBC International Mission Board Missionary and African American Church Strategist, David Cornelius, put together a list of “Nine Factors That Cause Low Representation of AFAMs in Missions.” I have taken these nine factors, reworked one, and added four other possible factors that may contribute to less involvement of AFAMs in global missions. Presently, with only a few over 120 surveys taken in AFAM Southern Baptist Churches and National Baptist churches, there appear to be three factors getting the most votes and agreement. They are: a lack of EXPOSURE to churches and missionaries doing world missions, FEAR of the unknown and how living in a third world country could impact one’s life, and EDUCATION on why and how to do world missions. These are only a few of the barriers in which AFAM Churches of all denominations must give their attention.

  2. Keith Jefferson Reply

    The last comment on barriers that need to be addressed by all African American protestant churches was made by Keith Jefferson. (kjeffersonatimbdotorg)

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