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The Demand and the Supply of Increased Efficiency in the Negro Ministry The American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers No. 13   By:

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Occasional Papers, No. 13.



The Demand and the Supply of Increased Efficiency in the Negro Ministry.


Price 15 Cts.


Press of R. L. Pendleton 609 F St. N. W. Washington, D. C. 1909

The Demand and the Supply of Increased Efficiency in the Negro Ministry.


In the discussion of this subject I fully recognize the opportunity men have to serve God in any honorable vocation. The Christian lawyer or physician is called of God as truly as a minister. Such men are putting the emphasis on service and not on getting. The condition confronting us is alarming and this warrants the earnest plea in this paper for a greater number of efficient ministers.

This is probably the most important question confronting the colored people to day. After all, a race or a nation is measured by its religion, and the greatest fact about a people is its religion. The efficiency of a nation depends in a large degree upon the character of its religious principles. When the good Queen Victoria was asked what made her realm so great, it was expected that she might point to her well equipped navy or her efficient army, but she modestly held up a little book, called the Bible, and said: "By adhering to the principles contained in this Book, greatness has come to Great Britain." China is what she is to day because she adheres to certain principles taught by her religious teachers, and Africa is still in darkness because led by blind, superstitious, religious teachers.

In a larger sense than many people are willing to give credit the Negro minister has been responsible for the progress of our race and is also responsible for much that cannot be counted as progress, for no other single class of individuals has had, and still has, so large and far reaching an influence as our ministers. You have only to go to a community where there is a well trained, honorable, upright, and efficient minister to see the marked improvement among the people along every line. On the other hand, when you find a community where there is an immoral, ignorant minister, wielding a large influence, you will find a community that is full of despair.

It is pleasant to read the short story written by Paul Laurence Dunbar some years ago, entitled "The Ordeal at Mt. Hope." This story possibly gives one of the most vivid pictures of real, genuine service rendered by a man of splendid parts in a needy section of the South, bearing out the practical demonstration of the power the minister has over a community.

It is one thing to lay down principles; it is another thing to show that these principles are correct and true by the practical work which is based upon these principles. It is no hard thing to see how true it is that of all men throughout the history of the world, none have had greater influence than the religious teachers of a people, and it is just as true to day, and it is a waste of time to argue that a race or nation can be lifted any higher than the religious principles of that race or nation will allow it to go. History fails to record an instance of this sort, and it is very evident there never will be an instance of the kind. Man is bound by his religion. He may not profess it, but he has a belief; even though he may declare that he believes nothing, the very fact of his declaration proves him to have a dogma. You had as well expect to find lions without courage as to find men without some form of religious conviction. It is a something in man that has to be reckoned with, and where it is most wisely directed and cultivated, there we find the highest culture and development along every line. Hence the great importance to a new race like ours in America that the most careful attention be given to this very important phase of our development... Continue reading book >>

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