Religion

Megachurches in the African-American Community

Where are some of African America’s megachurches and how do they operate?

During the last two decades of the twentieth century African-American ministers and congregations became a part of the megachurch phenomenon. Some belonged to the historically African-American denominations, yet others were developed independently. Their leaders were generally charismatic preachers and speakers, and included such popular people as T. D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, and Frederick K. C. Price. The televangelist, entrepreneur, and writer T.D. Jakes has been cited as perhaps “the best known of black megachurch ministers” and makes no apologies for his “prosperous lifestyle,” his “celebrity status,” or his “material success.” Some of the larger sanctuaries that provide seating to support growing memberships are: Faithful Central Bible Church, in Ingle-wood, California; the Faith Dome of the Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles; Jericho City of Praise Church in Landover, Michigan; The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia (pastor Eddie Long); The Potter’s House in Dallas (Bishop T.D. Jakes); and the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago. Some embraced newer approaches to worship that involved contemporary gospel music, dance, drama, and other art forms, along with preaching and teaching. In 1989 George A. Stallings, a former priest, left the Roman Catholic Church and formed the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation in Washington, D.C., as an African-centered alternative to existing Roman Catholicism. He was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, became an archbishop, and also established Imani Temple locations across the United States and Nigeria. Some megachuch leaders remained within established denominations. Examples are Floyd Flake of Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York; Kirbyjohn Caldwell of Windsor United Methodist Church in Houston; Charles Blake of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles; and Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.



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