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Three of America’s oldest black church denominations recently announced details of their nationwide scheme to save black men, called Male Investment Plan (MIP). It aims to halt the flow of black men into prison and instead get them turned onto education and Christian spirituality.

Over 5,000 leaders and lay members from the African Methodist Episcopal church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal church – which have a combined membership of five million – gathered at the summit.

Church leaders pledged to raise $10 million to support the plan and will launch a pilot Saturday academy project in Washington DC which will provide training for young black males in study skills and job preparation, as well as teach them about health issues, anger management and the dangers of alcohol and drugs. The scheme will then be rolled out in churches across America, staffed by volunteers.

This is a truly groundbreaking initiative, because it recognises that young black males aged from 5-25 need help to overcome barriers to success – educational underachievement, criminality, drug use and abuse and anger.

One cannot help thinking that Britain’s black churches should take a leaf out of the book of their American counterparts and recognise that if they worked together to deal with some of our community’s most pressing issues, they would see the positive transformation in the lives of young men that people have been praying for.

Whilst a number of UK churches do great work with young men within their local communities, oftentimes they work alone. They could maximise their reach and effectiveness if they worked alongside other churches in delivering much needed community services like what occurs with Black Boys Can, which works through church to increase the educational achievement of black boys.

However, as well as tackling education, coordinated efforts need to be made to tackle the high rate of young men entering the criminal justice system and the issue of drugs, too many of our boys see drug dealing as a way to make money.

Everyone is agreed that we have a major problem with young black men, as too few of them achieve the educational success necessary to get them on the ladder of high paid jobs and professions.

The Male Investment Plan demonstrate churches can have a major role in alleviating some of the major problems our community faces where men are concerned, and tackling the issues that prevent black men from being the responsible men God has called them to be is a great start.

SOURCE: The Voice Online

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