The Lived Experience of African American Pastors: A Phenomenological Study
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SubjectAfrican American clergy
African American churches
Race relations--Religious aspects--Christianity
This study uniquely aims to ascertain how African American pastors, serving in predominately African American churches, perceive how the intersection of race and faith has impacted their lived experience. Furthermore, in the aftermath of prominent national cases where black people were killed in confrontations with police, this research highlights their personal and pastoral responses. Specifically related to Christian education, this study serves to inform issues associated with vocational preparation and racial reconciliation efforts among Christian schools and ministries. While African American Christians must wrestle with dueling identity consciousnesses of who they are as Christians considering cultural context, they must also reconcile whether their experiences have contributed to making them who they are and if those experiences have hindered or helped them in their pursuit of holiness. This struggle magnifies in the Black pastor, who is both African American and the undershepherd of God’s flock. Whereas the Black pastor, historically, serves in functions beyond the pulpit, the social justice lens surrounding today’s climate often results in the African American pastor at the forefront of race related conversations. The appreciation of the lived experience of Black pastors can ultimately aid in understanding the whole being, prompting further dialogue surrounding the gospel and social justice.