Black, or African-American, Seventh -day Adventists constitute a true minority of a minority. They are members of a denomination that is itself a minority within the Christian community. And they are a cultural minority within their chosen spiritual household.
We often analyze the former relationship in our preaching and planning. But the dynamics of the latter status, while recognized in the existence of "regional" conferences and institutions, are largely taken for granted.
As this volume reminds us, the experiences of African-American Seventh-day Adventists are different from those of other American Seventh-day Adventists. They also differ from other African-American churchgoers who belong to the all-Black denominations that house more than 80 percent of African-American Christians.
Among racially mixed denominations, the United Methodists have the largest number of Black members, numbering approximately 400,000. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, with some 250,000 Black members, is not far behind. The American Baptist Church, the Protestant Episcopal Church, the United Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Presbyterian Church, U.S., are other denominations with significant Black constituencies.
The chapters that follow are, first, a testimony to the hardiness of the faith of those Black believers who are determined "that they without us should not be made perfect."
Second, they are an attempt to suggest a future agenda by review and analysis of past and present experiences.
Third, they are a witness to the goodness of God, whose promises to the obedient in such passages as Isaiah 58:13, 14 and Malachi 3:6-12 have been abundantly fulfilled.
The board of Operation ReachBack presents this study in the hope that it will nurture the faith and rekindle the fervor not only of Adventist Blacks, but of the entire body of Christ as we face the sober but exciting challenges of the twenty-first century.
The National Board of Directors Operation ReachBack, Inc.
Calvin B. Rock, Ph.D., Chair