In the face of changing demographics in America, many African Americans find themselves becoming a minority-minority, or shrinking minority. For instance, in the west where I live, Asian and Latino populations are increasing dramatically as a result of immigration and soaring birth rates. The U.S. black population has shrunk from about 17% to 12% as we enter the second decade of the third millennium. The white population has shrunk to 72% while the Latino/Hispanic population has risen to over 16%.
African American theology had its earliest roots in an experience of pain and suffering. Mourning freedom and agonizing over loss of identity and opportunity were a huge part of the Southern African American experience. But, with civil rights and a more socially engaged African American population in the North and the West, black theology has evolved into more of a need for empowerment and survival.
One African American Church planter in Atlanta has an interesting expansion strategy for church planting in African American communities. He envisions planting “bubble churches” in well educated and well resourced corners of the community and then hiving off need based churches that are highly subsidized by the parent church in order to create a sustainable church planting movement.
As of 2013, no one could simply say, “I am going to plant an African American church” with the implied presumption that one size fits all. The dream of freedom, employment, opportunities, education and mobility has created many strong sub cultures within the overall African American community.