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.