The Black Church has traditionally been a loud voice for social change, though research conducted by LifeWay's Marketing Research and reported in the current issue of Reconsider, a publication for leaders in today's black churches, found that those churches have been curiously silent on the crisis of AIDS in the African-American community.
In sharing these findings, we at LifeWay admit that we don’t have all the answers, but we share in the churches’ burden to react to the realities we see and to consider and determine tangible ways to respond.
Nashville, Tenn. -- The Black Church has traditionally been a loud voice for social change, though research conducted by LifeWay's Marketing Research and reported in the current issue of Reconsider, a publication for leaders in today's black churches, found that those churches have been curiously silent on the crisis of AIDS in the African-American community. Black church members say they need their churches to help stem the growing tide of new HIV and AIDS cases within the black community.
In this recent study to understand the needs of the Black Church, LifeWay found that 92 percent of black church members surveyed said they wanted their church to provide support to people dealing with socially stigmatized issues (i.e. HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, etc.) with a maximum amount of services (e.g. counseling, clinics, classes, etc.).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the HIV/AIDS epidemic in African-American communities is a public health crisis in the United States. At the end of 2006, there were an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV, of which almost half (46%) were African-American.
And while blacks represent approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population, they continue to account for a higher proportion of cases at all stages of HIV/AIDS—from infection with HIV to death with AIDS—compared with members of other races and ethnicities.
"In sharing these findings, we at LifeWay admit that we don't have all the answers, but we share in the churches' burden to react to the realities we see and to consider and determine tangible ways to respond,” said Elgia Wells, who directs LifeWay's focus on the Black Church and serves as the pastor of a black church near Nashville, Tenn. "We hope these statistics cause pastors and leaders in black churches to work to determine specific ways to address these and other similar issues.”
LifeWay's findings about the issue of HIV/AIDS in the Black Church are part of a broader set of findings from a larger survey among black churches across the United States. Study findings are the result of more than 60 qualitative interviews with church leaders, church members and unaffiliated persons and a quantitative survey with responses from approximately 780 individuals (196 church leaders, 315 church members and 272 unaffiliated persons) from across the U.S.
"Our research findings, which we are releasing through our new publication, Reconsider, give us a tool and a challenge to help churches evaluate the way they minister to different people and different situations in our communities,” said Wells.
About LifeWay's Reconsider Campaign
Reconsider is a quarterly publication designed to help black churches evaluate the way they minister to different people and situations in today's communities. To find more information on LifeWay's Black Church research, or to learn about resources available to help churches address theses issues, visit www.lifeway.com/blackchurchlife.
About LifeWay Christian Resources
LifeWay Christian Resources, established in 1891 in Nashville, Tenn., is one of the world's largest providers of Christian products and services, including Bibles, church literature, books, music, audio and video recordings, church supplies, and Internet services through LifeWay.com. The company owns and operates 154 LifeWay Christian Stores across the nation, as well as two of the largest Christian conference centers in the country. The company is a nonprofit organization that reinvests income above operating expenses in mission work and other ministries around the world. For additional information, visit www.lifeway.com.
Amy Gray, APR
Gray Public Relations