I recently sat down with one of our newest Gospel Today contributors, Bishop Kyle Searcy, and discussed this year’s African-American Round Table. I bet you, like me, didn’t even know there was one! It took place in February and here’s what Bishop Kyle had to say about it.
GT: Where did the concept for the Round Table come from?
KS: It came from some prophetic words, our prophetic insight, that certain–several prophets in the Body of Christ were given about things that God wanted to begin to do through the African-American community. And it was a number of, again, very mature prophets over an extended period of time who had different words and different insight from God that this was an hour that God was looking to that.
And just to speak to that for a minute, God does respect culture. And unity doesn’t necessitate the disregarding of culture. God is pro-culture. He chose a specific culture, a specific people, namely the Jewish people, to be His chosen people who would manifest the Scriptures of the Messiah. So God is not against that, He is for culture. And I believe that there is something in each culture that needs to be redeemed. There are certain things that seem to be gifts that various cultures have whether some cultures may be good in math or science and others may be good in just various things that you could see that other cultures are typically good at. I think Kenyans have been winning the marathons for I don’t know how many different years. So there’s obviously something in Kenya where folks can run. Anyway, the concept of God speaking to certain things within the culture or the DNA or the destiny of a certain group of people is not something that should cause offense or any kind of discomfort in the Body of Christ.
GT: Wonderful! I love it, I do! Now what is the purpose of this specific Round Table?
KS: To discuss. Just to hear ideas as to how we can be used by God or working with each other to hear what God’s saying, globally about the Body of Christ, but also in some ways specifically about the African Americans and the role of African-Americans in the Kingdom of God and society as a whole.
GT: Phenomenal. And when did this particular Round Table begin?
KS: It began sometime last year. There was a meeting–I was not a part of that–but I did attend this one. I can’t remember what month it was last year, but it did start last year.
GT: Okay, awesome. And are you allowed to tell me who’s involved?
KS: You know, I don’t know all the names…a number of different leaders. I know Bishop Harry Jackson’s a part of it, Reverend Sean Smith as you know, of course, Cindy Jacobs… There were a number of people that were there for the first time.
GT: Are you all familiar with any other Round Tables or similar councils which meet in the U.S. for similar purposes?
KS: I know that there are a number of different prophetic Round Tables. I know there are groups of people that meet considering Native American issues [led by people such as] Negiel Bigpond, which convene. That’s all I know about.
GT: Alright. Is there a particular way in which this particular Round Table is carried out?
KS: There is usually an introduction in the beginning so we can all get to know each other, and then maybe there will be a question thrown out and we just sort of discuss, try to hear from God, and let Him direct the sessions as to what He’s saying. We try to really tap into that prophetic stream and learn what’s on the Lord’s heart.
GT: What are some of the sessions that you guys focus on?
KS: It’s not organized where we have from 5 to 6, we’ll talk about this. From 7 to 8, we’ll discuss this. It’s a group of mature people, people who hear from God. So we’ll start out with getting to know each other and then we’ll start with prayer, and maybe a discussion will come up.
Let’s say we’ll talk about the Civil Rights Movement and where things are as a result of [it]. and what we feel like God might want to happen next, what’s a good next step. Those are the kind of questions we’ll throw out. And then we’ll just begin to dive into dialogue about things like that. What about the HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)? What’s God doing there? Are there any moves of God happening? What can we do to help foster a move of God in some of those places? What about the issue of fatherlessness? What can we do in the African-American community where 20 years, 30 years from now, fatherlessness won’t be such a big issue? Things of that nature.
GT: Wonderful. Now it’s funny because when I saw that you all were meeting, at the same time, Bishop Tudor Bismark in Africa was having his annual Council of African Apostles. You were literally meeting at the same time! So do you think that this is the direction that the Body of Christ is moving in in the future?
KS: I would hope so. Number one, the hour demands a synergistic approach to solving problems. There’s a reason why there are so many corporate mergers in corporate America, so many companies are coming together. The complexity of our times demands synergy. If we’re really going to begin to impact the Body of Christ like we need to, it’s going to take a synergistic effort. So I do hope that God’s beginning to speak to people with influence to continue to convene and call together those who could collectively get more done than any of us could do individually. So I see it happening more and more and I really do hope that that is the wave of the future.
GT: I love it, I love it! And I commented on one of Cindy Jacobs’ Facebook posts about the Round Table that I really did feel that this was the direction that the Body of Christ was moving in, for unity and and I think it coincides with the restoration of the apostolic government in the church if you will, really having all the leaders sitting down, discussing, and really dealing with the issues that we need to that haven’t been dealt with.
KS: Yeah. One caveat is strategy has to emerge from the issues that are apostolically driven. We’ve had a lot of gatherings over the years in the Body of Christ. We’re not short on coming together. But I think where–I don’t want to call it failure–but where not enough of a difference is made is when that much brass comes to the table, sometimes strategies are not as clear and specifics don’t emerge.
And I think one of the reasons why is because in a lot of those settings, there’s a real humility that’s brought to the table, where nobody really wants to come and say “Well, I’m the man” or “I have all the answers.” We all sort of lay down our swords and lay down our ranks. But at the end of the day, something really needs to be done. I think true leadership does need to emerge and strategies need to be implemented so that a difference can be made.
GT: Absolutely. And what do you think will happen to the overall Church–if only in America–when the African-American Church starts taking its place?
KS: Well, it’s not just the African-American Church that needs to take its place. And by the way, one of the strong points of what we discussed [at the Round Table] was that the heartbeat and mindset of any African-American or predominantly African-American person needs to be more like Joseph whose mantle so to speak was a coat of many colours.
So don’t misunderstand: we’re talking about things that need to be redeemed in the African-American community, but there was a strong sense that the African-American community has a call to the Body of Christ at large. So it’s not like we just want black folks getting better, we want African-Americans getting in their place so the entire earth can be blessed and impacted. And when one of the colours of the rainbow, or one of God’s unique cultural groups are not where they need to be and where they’re supposed to be, then it affects everyone. So everybody needs to be healthy. Sometimes there needs to be a little bit of a focus on one so we can all accomplish what needs to happen.
But to answer your question, we can’t just focus on African-American issues and expect to take the entire Body of Christ. But we can’t neglect them either. The Body of Christ at large needs to be considered, but definitely there’s room for cultural deliberation when there are issues affecting a particular part of the Body.
GT: Wonderful. Finally, what would you say was the predominate message(s) to the Black Church in 2014?
KS: I don’t know that I could answer that specifically for the African-American Church. I think that there are some things that God is saying to the African-American Church as an invitation into [the Church at large], but I don’t want to say that this is specifically for the African-American Church.
Any word that you receive from the Lord is going to be something that all cultures can pick up and run with. So I don’t really have a unique word for just the black Church. I feel like there might be some things emerge out of churches that are predominantly African-American. You read George Barner and Bishop Harry Jackson’s book on the state of Christianity and dealing with different Church movements and so forth, you’ll see that there has been a real preservation over the years of certain aspects of what God is doing in the African-American Church. So I think there are some things that God might want to bring out of the African-American Church, but again, I don’t have a unique word that is just for that culture that doesn’t span the other cultures as well.
I am convinced that we have got to see a new holiness movement. We talked about the fact that a lot of the Civil Rights Movement, in a lot of ways, was probably derailed because of character issues. That’s what we know right now. In the Body of Christ at large, there’s just a real need to begin to redeem the concept of the fear of God, the concept of holiness, the concept of purity. And it’s got to be a new holiness movement, And I see an emerging a non-judgmental, non-legalistic, grace-based, new holiness movement that’s coming with the fear of God. When the Spirit of Conviction is released again, it will bring the Body of Christ to a place where we can begin to see the redemptive authority of Jesus in a specific, greater way that can touch the nations of the earth. But I am convinced and am just personally and deeply concerned that without that, most of our victories will be short-lived.
GT: I absolutely agree.
To learn more about Bishop Kyle Searcy, please visit his website!