What Prayer Can Do!
- In 1962 they prayed. They were praying in different locales across the nation. They prayed in California, Los Angeles and San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and other places. They prayed about themselves and how they could reach their Black communities with the Gospel of Christ. They prayed earnestly, and they prayed for their unity and cooperation in the ministry of Christ. Women prayed, men prayed, ministers prayed, lay-persons prayed, young prayed, old prayed.
- Not surprisingly, God answered their prayers in an exceptional way. He gave them an idea, and an organization through which they found Black Christian fellowship and empowerment to accomplish their goal—reaching the lost, making the wounded whole. So in 1963 (Los Angeles), the National Negro Evangelical Association was born, and began to serve its God-ordained mission.
- The co-founders of NNEA (which later became the NBEA) composed an impressive gathering of dedicated servants of Christ, who were committed to the Lord’s Church. The small but powerful group included the likes of Rev. Aaron M. Hamlin, Mother Dessie Webster, Rev. Marvin Prentis, Bishop Holman, Rev. Jeremiah Rowe (host pastor). Others joined this number at the inaugural convention: Rev. William H. Bentley, Missionary Ruth Lewis (Bentley), Rev. Tom Skinner, Rev. Howard Jones, Rev. Charles Williams, and others.
A Novel Organization
- The idea of a National Black Evangelical Association was a vision whose time had come. The gathering of Brothers and Sisters (which included some white believers) formed their new evangelical organization around three important values: fellowship, ministry, and networking resources. Their overriding passion was to win the lost, and they struggled best how to do this amidst the revolutionary times of the 1960’s. Theirs was no small task, but neither was their God lacking the necessary greatness and power for the challenge! So with faith in the Lord, enthusiasm, love for one another, unity, and not a small amount of intellectual competence they marched forward.
- NNEA/NBEA activities included…
- An annual Convention
- Local Chapters in various cities
- Commissions to address specific issues and needs
- Support for Christian ministries, national and local
- Engaging in direct ministries as the opportunity afforded
- Sharing resources with the body of Christ
- NNEA/NBEA has had a great impact on many Christian leaders and their organizations. Many notable Black evangelicals trace some of their roots to the meetings and ideas spawned at NBEA conventions and gatherings. The roll call would be impressive. Only God knows the full extent of how NBEA has been used by Him to shape Black Christian ministry.
Sustained 40+ Years for a 21st Century Generation
- The good Lord gave birth to NBEA, and He also has sustained its viable existence through the years. The association says with the Psalmist: “The Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” The length of the organization’s years (1963 to the present) may not mean much to some. But to those who have some sense of historical value, it means a lot. The continued existence of NBEA for well over four decades as a Black Christian association has made a great contribution to the development of the evangelical community in America, and is something to cherish.
- Becoming Revitalized is the course which NBEA is positioning itself in order to serve its purpose in the 21st Century.
- NBEA’s Revitalized Definition of Black Evangelical Identity
“Black evangelicals at the core of their collective are a group or gathering of impassioned African descended ‘Good News messenger’ of Jesus Christ, whose intentionally Biblical beliefs and culturally black way of life both center and share in His holistic redemptive cross-bearing experience and mission.” (1)
 Rev. Dr. Walter A. McCray, “Black Evangelical Identity,” (Black Light Fellowship, Chicago, 2006, 2012 ). Isaiah 11:10-12; Psalm 68:31; Zephaniah 3:10; Romans 9:1-3; 10:1ff.; Acts 16:31; 13:1-3; Ephesians 4:11; Luke 1:1ff; 3 John 3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Luke 24:25-26; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Colossians 1:24-25; Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5ff.; John 12:23-33; 1 Peter 1:18-21.
- National Gathering – Annual Fellowship Convention
- Regional Gatherings –
- Local Gatherings – Chapters;
- Periodic Summits/Forums – Commissions to Ready-Made Targeted Audiences; Churches; Educational Institutions; Christian Organizations;
- National Racial Righteousness Sunday – Holiday
- Web Presence – Promoting History & Beliefs, Connecting Persons and Ideas, Newsletter; Black Evangelical Expositions
- Journal of Black Evangelical Thought and Action
- Black Evangelical Voice – Rapid Response to Contemporary Issues Network
- Speakers Bureau – Promoting the Black Evangelical Core Beliefs and Witness
- ICCARE – International Christian Coalition for AIDS Reversal and Education (Mission to the Black Diaspora)
- NBCSC –National Black Christian Students Conference (Student Leadership Development)
- Black Evangelical Identity – Publication
- Prayer Groups & Gatherings – National and Local