Friday, July 18, 2008
A Young Black Reformer
allow me to introduce to Benito Stallings to you. He's a good young brother seeking to bring reform the the black church. Like many brother Stallings is an example of what God is doing within His church to bring glory to Himself through Jesus Christ. His story is familiar to many of us. Benito is currently on staff with DiscipleMakers at the main campus of Penn State U. Please take the time to read his testimony and consider supporting his work of ministry.
Fellow Reformed Brothers & Sisters,
My name is Benito Stallings. I’m 21 years old, a recent Penn State grad, now on full-time staff with a college ministry called DiscipleMakers. I praise God for what He has done in my life. During my college years, God has helped me to know Him better by opening my eyes to the doctrines of grace and giving me a real heart to transform African-American culture. Today, I count myself as a fellow brother in the movement to bring Reformation to the predominantly African-American church. However, this wasn’t always the case…
I came from a culturally Christian family upbringing. I grew up in the black church, and like many in the black church today, found myself very frustrated and confused when it came to spiritual growth. I didn’t know what being a Christian really looked like. In high school, when I decided to accept Christ and live for Him, I desperately wanted instruction in the Word, so I began to seek out various television ministries. However, despite all of those things, I was still very unhappy. I did not feel fulfilled. I wanted a happy and prosperous life. After all isn’t that what true Christianity is all about—health, wealth, and making the rapture? That’s what all of the teachers that I listened to told me.
My life radically changed when I started college and got involved with the campus ministry, DiscipleMakers. In fact, my entire outlook on life changed. I learned what being a disciple of Christ truly meant. It meant seeking to become more like Christ in every area of my life. It meant being more pleased with my spiritual status of a co-heir with Christ, than my earthly status. Suddenly life became less about me and more about the Lord. I finally learned what was like to live the Christian life. I gained a real passion for evangelism and sought to counter the post-modern lies often engrained into students’ minds by professors.
During this time, I also learned another lesson. I realized that the predominantly black church never taught what I was learning in DiscipleMakers—discipleship and evangelism. I realized that Word of Faith theology, and liberation were major foci in the black church, and that the gospel and other historic doctrines of the faith were largely ignored.
In time God opened my eyes to the doctrines of grace and gave me a desire to share these biblical truths with others, especially those of my own culture. I realized that only the gospel will change black culture, and that we really need to shift the focus in black churches back towards the scriptures and the historic doctrines of the faith. Around the same time that I realized this, I met Pastor Lance Lewis of Christ Liberation Fellowship, and found out about the Council of Reforming Churches. I also began to read books like, On Being Black and Reformed by Anthony J. Carter and Reconciliation Blues by Edward Gilbreath. I developed a deeper passion of bringing Reformed doctrine to the black community and decided to give my life to advancing the Reformation of the Black Church. God has also given me a great passion for race relations, especially within the church. Another major vision of mine is to see black and white churches begin to work together and unify. My conviction is that without the help of white evangelicals, we will continue to see the perpetuation of racial division both in the church and in society.
I am excited about my ministry with DiscipleMakers because it will give me opportunities to reach people from all over the world, including African-Americans. On Penn State’s campus, there is a tightly knit African-American community and there are many opportunities to reach this segment of the campus population. I have the unique opportunity to invest in students like myself—ones that may be from the inner city but have “beat the odds” and are in college. If God touched even a few of these students to affect their families and neighborhoods with the Gospel, as He has touched me, there is no telling what could happen! There is no doubt that Reformation is happening, and I will work to advance it in my ministry with DiscipleMakers.
How you can partner with me
If you have heart for missions and for seeing the Gospel transform culture, I want to talk to you. God has provided a wonderful opportunity through DiscipleMakers to see the Gospel influence the influencers—college graduates. I would like to speak with you to further explain my role with DiscipleMakers and how you can help support the advancements of God’s kingdom through the college campus. I’m excited about the opportunity God has given me to impact our culture and the world for Christ and I hope that you are too!
If you wish to contact me, my information is:
For more information about DiscipleMakers, visit www.dm.org. For more information about me, visit http://www.dm.org/about-us/find-us/by_staff/stallingsb.