"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
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.