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Faith Leaders News & Events Resources 3min read

African American Legends: Honoring Our History

Celebrating African American History

Want to celebrate heroes of the faith and African American culture? Here are a few ideas for how to inspire during Black History Month.

Want to celebrate and honor heroes of the faith, as well as African American culture? Here are a few ideas for how to inspire during Black History Month. As we enter this new year, we need to celebrate what God has done. And there is no better time to begin than Black History Month.

There are several ways to celebrate and honor our heroes of the faith and our culture. Here are a few ideas for ways to celebrate and inspire during this season.

Sermon series or small group discussion

What if you created a sermon series centered around African American heroes of culture or faith? As you highlight these legends, you can explore elements of their life with examples in the faith.

You can also seek out and create group discussions around their lives and principle points from the Biblical text. This will allow the adults and students to engage with scripture and the African American legend throughout the sermon series.

African American history play or theatre concept

What if you created an online or in-person (limited capacity) experience where you highlighted African American legends? What if you focused on people who have made a lasting impact on the Black Church? Examples are Richard Allen, William H. McAlpine, Charles Harrison Mason, and others who startedmany of the dominations we know and love.

Richard Allen was a former slave who started the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The AME Church  became the first national Black church denomination in the U.S. Bishop Charles Harrison Mason was the founder and first senior bishop of the Church of God in Christ. COGIC is now the largest African American Pentecostal church in the U.S.

It is also essential to teach and highlight legendary African Americans in business. Thomas Jennings, Madam C.J. Walker, Warren H. Wheeler, James Forten, and Clara Brown are great candidates. This play would highlight the lives of these legends. It would also  allow students to learn and play these famous African Americans.

Brief bio-sketch through video

What if you highlighted some of these African American legends and allowed the students of your church to teach about them during the worship experience through video? Our church did this, and we will continue to do this moving forward in worship. We allowed our students to teach on the lives of these legends through video in our Sunday morning worship experience. Here is a clip.

As you can see, we had them speak about the legends on the green screen and used them during our announcement section of the worship experience.  If you look at the entire YouTube playlist, we did several of these legend highlights and used students, young adults, and adults.  These scripts are easier to create than you think. But the key is to highlight lesser-known legends in the African American faith.

As you continue this month, I encourage you to think and pray about how you can incorporate the stories of African American legends into your worship experience. You could even allow these moments to live beyond February.

How are you celebrating and highlighting African American legends during Black History Month?

About the Author

Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Maryland, and the founder of After the Music Stops, a full-service youth ministry company as well as founder of Ministry Pivot, a company dedicated to assisting leaders and churches seize opportunities for growth.

Russell St. Bernard